‘Rekhankit Maifilee’ And ‘Patchwork Paintings’ By Shripad Shankar Savale

 Music Concerts Captured in Lines- A case study of – Creative Artist and Process of ‘Positive Transference’.

Shripad Shankar Savale

‘Rekhanit Maifili’, literally it means “Live concerts of Artists captured in Sketches or in Lines”. The first sight of the Book made me curious since pages after pages of the Book; exhibited classical beauty and Modeling of Characters captured in sketches and more importantly the sketches were ‘Mutually Signed’ by the performing Artists and the Portrait Artist! . The sketches drawn in pencil or in pen exhibit engagement with the moving objects, characters and figures translated into static ‘waxed’ forms.  However they bore the qualities of being animated visuals marked with minutest details, movements and vocal expressions. Mr. Shripad Shankar Savale’s sketches are of very special quality, Sketches which encapsulate internationally renowned Hindustani classical Musical singers and instrumentalists, ‘Engaged in Live Musical Concerts’. The first glance of the sketches confirms his work is anchored into 14th to 16th century Renaissance tradition on Indian canvas. I was amazed to observe meticulous style in the portraits drawn and indomitable never ending resolve of this Portrait Artist to work towards “Recognition from the Performing Artist’ and for his fullest satisfaction.  What boosted my  curiosity was Portrait Artist’s Introduction to each signed Portrait. This provides us insights into how he enters into affectionate relationship and endorses deep regards for the Vocalists or Instrumentalist while ‘sketching’ the Artist during Live Concerts.Hence the Article is story of Mr.  Shripad Shankar Savale, with humble upbringing and life style, today at age- Eighty Four, (Born 31st October 1936 at Pandharpur, Maharashtra).

Painting as important form of Visual Art, brings from ‘within’ elements such as Gesture, Composition, narration, abstraction and most importantly the ‘inner psychical processes of the Artist’. Hence this article is not Book Review but attempt to interpret his Paintings, to gain insights into the psychical-mental processes involved in creations and enquire into making of this creative, dedicated, and in every sense unique artist. This nearly 250 paged Book consists of awesome Portraits of nearly 130 renowned Performing Artists all of which have been drawn during the live musical concerts, in the span of 15 to 30 minutes and Eighty Nine carry introductions by S.S. Savale to these concerts. Each of the moment of signing and appreciation by the Performing Artists have been the moments of recognition of his Art Work. This book published by Continental Publishing House (Dedicated to Music) and carries immeasurable value that this Creative Artist comes from a remote place- Pandharpur in Maharashtra. The collection covers and includes mutually signed sketches drawn from 1966 (First one Ustad Bismillah Khan) till 2012. It demonstrates his consistency, determination, pursuit, purpose or may be some ‘unconscious compulsions to repeat’ involved! Historically it holds high value when compassion, Religious and social tolerance, Harmony and creativity, in Art Works in Maharashtra are miserably waning.

The Book covers the Character portraits of Musical Maestros, like those of, Kumar Gandharva, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Ustad Bismmilah Khan, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Ustad Sujat khan, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, Kishori Amonkar, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Vishwa Mohan Bhat,  and number of renowned Artists, all of which were drawn during their Live Musical Concerts. They remind us of Great Artistic creations dating back to Renaissance period. ! Mr. S.S. Savale has drawn hundreds of murals and ‘still’ Portraits in Black & White throughout his ascendency as an Artist but my interest is solely confined to Portraits of Moving Objects and mutually signed .  The Book carries insightful Reviews by Mr. Vidyadhar Tathe and by renowned Singer Ms Arati Ankalikar.

Vidyadhar Tathe – Editor- Ekta (Unity) defines Mr. S.S. Savale’s contribution, “When symphony gets engraved in rock it reincarnates sculpture, on the other hand when sculpture is reborn in symphony, it is termed as musical concert and when color composition is articulated in symphony Artwork is born” meaning his work truly integrates symphony and sculpture!

Very significant comment comes from the renowned Singer, Arati Ankalikar, and “Everything Here (sketches), the objects are in moving transient sates Mr. Savale’s  achievement is to hold on to this moment and capture  its soulwhen the scenes are unfolding and captivate or freezethem as a still object or a painting” “. Mr. Savale has done this difficult job”! I have quoted her insightful comments elsewhere as well.  Our interest is to see how far these insights can lead us further’.

Failed Portrait and Moment of Inspiration

At the first stage of our exercise we have chosen five to six specimens, sketches of the classical Instrumentalists and vocalist. The Sketch-portraits of Ustad Bismillah Khan (Shehanai), Pandit Hariprasad Chourasia (Flute), Shahid Parvez Khan (Sitar), Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma(Santoor) , Ustad Zakir Hussain (Tabala) , Arati Ankalikar (Classical singer) and  Mohan  Bhat (Mohanveena).

Mr. Savale began with a disaster! His first attempt to portray Ustad Bismillah Khan, Shehanai Maestro on 31st May 1966 failed. His sketch invited stinging criticism from Maestro. He drew his sketch in 15 minutes and the maestro showed high level of displeasure when he glanced at the sketch. Mr. Savale realized that the portrait was from unsuitable distant location and resulted into loss of facial expression,disproportional ties and unclear body language.  Immediately after the Interval of the concert Mr. Savale worked out another sketch from location close to stage. It took Fifty minutes to draw fresh portrait with focus on facial expressions, Shahenai and five fingers with details.

bismilla khan

Now, he focused on the ‘auspicious’ flowing notes “MUSICAL NOTESs’, which glowed on Bismillah’s face and his fingers acted as agents of communication of SWARAS (Musical Notes) . Mr. Savale once again approached Bismillah Khan with the sketch. Bismillah Khan had a close look at it and was overjoyed at the sight of the sketch. He got down and hugged Mr. Savale and signed the sketch with great appreciation. Earlier one was lifelong lesson for Mr. Savale while for him, this was the moment great inspiration. Since then herealized, powers of Swaras- (MUSICAL NOTESs) as the driving force of his sketch work which converted Mr. Savale into a Unique Artist. Since then he never looked back again.

Compelling force from ‘Within’ -SWARAS and Phenomena of Transference.

Mr. S.S. Savale says that he is not Sangitabhidnya(proficient in music) but Swara-bhidnya(Proficient in Musical Notes) . Music and voice of the performing Artists- Instrumentalists and Vocalists reached him in the form of SWARAS (MUSICAL NOTES) ”.He was merely the agent of MUSICAL NOTES (Swaras) and  learnt the magic of riding on the Humming Sound of beetle, on crests and troughs. Swaras became soul of his Art. The great Instrumentalist and Vocalists created emotions, ‘words’, expressions, moods, and the Portrait Artist understood to convert them into language of Notes. The MUSICAL NOTES resonating in the Sanctum of his mind used to explode in multiple forms. He provided various forms of articulations to these phlegmatic, composed, serene, wails, lamentation, or moaning moods as he experienced through pencils and pens! They were the Instruments and voice of his  communication. He learnt to articulate the Images of the moving objects in their different permutations and combinations. Swaras- Musical Notes became the vehicle of transference, i.e. emotions, repressed, which were originally felt in childhood are transferred onto the Artist.  This seems to be resultant of  a process, namely ‘compulsion to repeat’

                                     parvez khan

Sitar is one such stringed instrument which creates and expresses emotions from its resonances of low soft pitch to very High Pitch. It is highly melodious. ‘SHAHID’, is known as improviser of Ragas. It was in 1989, the Portrait Artist had an occasion to depict this young Sitarist in the Musical Concert. Artist Savale says, “My sketching lines began to captivate the rhythmic notes and the notes began to transform themselves into dance and the Joyous expressions on Shahid’s face began spreading and overflowing over my Drawing Paper.  While drawing his Shape of his hair bound by beats and note, his pleasant smiling face, rhythmic movements of his arms and fingers gliding over the Sitar Strings, I was totally consternated and dismayed but pleased at the same time”!

Similarly with Pandit  Shiv Kumar Sharma the Santoor Maestro. Santooris a trapezoid-shaped string musical Instrument played with wooden lightweight hammers. ‘Walnut Santoor’ with seventy-two strings, national Instrument of IRAN and is also extremely popular- in Jammu- and Kashmir. As the concert began, Mr. Savale states, “Musical notes of the string Instrument began spraying over my consciousness, began hypnotizingmy lines and sketch work. His personable and cheerful face began shaping up through my running pencil work, soon my pencil work began to acquire circular motion on his hair. I had nearly completed his sketch work and while portraying his facial expressions bearing highly polite expressions I became highly emotional.

shiv kumar sharma

Since I thought I have succeeded in capturing what I intended! I was first time drawing his Kashmiri string Instrument Santoor; I was extremely satisfied by his ‘Musical Trance’. “His face was glowing in profound meditation. I was overjoyed while drawing distinctive beauty of his suspended rocking hair. While receiving his signature on his portrait, the delight and joy experienced by both of us elevated us into World of Art”.

zakir hussain

Zakir Husain’s PORTRAIT was drawn during his solo performance on Tabala. While observing this solo performance Mr. S.S. Savale was absorbed in observing Zakir’s thousands of dancing fingers and Hair Ringlets. Zakir’s face was very frequently getting covered with euphonious dance of hair ringlets and face was un-willing to display itself! His hair ringlets and dancing fingers of both of his hands were engaged in frantic dancing duel in his own solo performance. Mr. Savale writes, “Throughout the concert it was a very difficult task to spot and capture his face and facial expressions since it was often frequently getting hidden under his hair ringlets. But I decided to accept the challenge. To capture fingers of his hands, it was tense situation and I got myself unconsciously engaged into intense and long drawn out prayer”. His portrait displays ZAKIR engrossed in making rhythmic, mental communicative efforts. ZAKIR’s flowing thoughts becoming Vocal through Trital beats and which made the audience spellbound, enthralled and riveted.

zakir sign

vishwa moihan bhat

I have extensively quoted Mr. Savale in order to gain insights into his mental processes which we call, “mental phenomena called Mental or Psychical Transference!  I have explored the underlying relationship Portrait Artist enter into with the ‘Performing Artist”. What is displayed in each case is positive (affectionate) attitude towards Performing Artist  and the Mental Process it involves. In Psychoanalytic Terms we can identify this as positive Mental or ‘Psychical Transference”.

Also, the above reproduced sketches -portraits have vindicated the evaluation by critiques, that not only his portrait cum sketches in essence are SCULPTURES but Portrait Artist has demonstrated that he has mastered the Art of animation.

Arati Ankalikar’s insights into dialectics of Recognition!

arati ankalikar

Arati Ankalikar’s Concert- Her right arm enveloping the Tanpura  and playing on the strings. The supporting palm enables the delivery of Symphony. Her fingers are delightfully provoking the cords to speak out in the complimentary voice. Singer seems to be engrossed in conversation with ‘Musical Notes’ and Chords. This sketch (Aarati Ankalikar (112-13) – dates back to October 2003, when the concert was performed at Chincwad (Near Pune) in Pre Dawn hours of Diwali Festival.

Mr. S.S. Savale  says, “I had lost myself while picking up nuances of her facial expressions when she had fully offered herself and her ‘being’ to the song and the Raga. I also had lost myself completely”.  He continues,  “Arati literally, verbatim, means prayer of distressed, agonized, and afflicted. The concert provided proof of it.” The sketch is summery of surging of emotions and voice of deeply distressed woman longing for union with god”.   When during Intervals Mr. Savale offered the sketch for her signature Arati Ankalikar was over powered by emotions of joy and took the Portrait inside the ‘SWARAMUNCH’ (Stage) for showing it to connoisseurs and exclaimed, “See Alchemy  this is the appreciation of an Artist by another Artist’ and she signed it.

Arati Ankalikar provides us other side of this Image- process as takes place in the minds of the Performing Artist has profound comments to offer further~!“It is this alchemy which Mr. Savle has successfully achieved. It is absolutely different from taking a photograph. This is since Mr. Savale has succeeded in articulating and expressing how singer and audience enter into collective ‘state of trance’, I exclaimed- What an achievement!”  What is she concluding is the ability of the Portrait Artist to have understood ‘law of condensation’ or superimpose various transient images into a single Image with slight recourse to ‘distortion’, another Artistic element?

When Arati Ankalikar says, ”It is different from a photograph’, it virtually means that Mr. Savale encapsulates in a single Image, the complete narrative of Vocal and visual Concert by fusing, several moments preceding it and projecting continuity, the completed fusion or Montage! Mr. Savale explains the technique of fusion in these words,”I have all along observed that the musicians come back or return to certain or same positions- recurrently, returns to same positions and postures, again and again. My mental image of this position or Frame forms the cast of the sketch work. After building the frame- Image at the initial stage, I begin drawing the succeeding moments, movements and stages in accordance with the rhythm of the performing Artists. While inscribing and instilling his expressions, movements, modulation I succeed in animating the character and injecting ‘Life’ into it”. What he spells out is his technique of animating a character. It is ‘SWARAS’, “MUSICAL NOTESS’, forms the ‘Life substance’ of animation!

Case of Animation- Portrait of Pandit Hariprasd Chaurasia

It is one of the most magnificent Images which Mr. Savale has created by compounding, we may say, visuals at different moments during Musical Concert. It’s a sketch which provides glimpses into different physical and mental acts and states while Pandit  Hariprasad Chaurasia was performing on his long, specially made, Flute! Creation of Animation, illusion of Movement is a technique and It is now our endeavor to understand how he creates ‘Illusion of Movement’. My answer is to use psychoanalytic technique of analysis through Synthesis. By  recapitulating inversely, may be by decomposing or rather splitting the Image-sketch into different sections, segments or Frames of  the Portrait of Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, for the purpose of analysis.



His eyes are closed, state of trance, but focused on inner voice and facial expressions making way for flushing out springs of the rhythmic music from heart with mental force. The facial expressions, with stretched eyebrows, inclined head and face with shoulders positioned to hold the long flute, exercising repressive force for blowing the air through Flute hole, ten fingers in the act of flexible positioning, craftsmanship of the left hand cup engaged in modulating the SWARAS and transforming into fluent, pleasing delivery of music and evoking the emotions of the audience. We will see how these actions are coordinated and the sketch being the resultant. This work of coordination or synthesis is achieved through our analysis.

In short while from now, we will explain the need and purpose of doing this segmentation as part of Sketch Drawing Technique Artist Savale used! This exercise of segmentation is not real but an analytical exercise.  Here it will be interesting to see the series of moments (Close ups) and the sequence captured into a single Image- Frame by Artistic pencil work of Mr. Shripad Savale.

Through this Sculpture like sketch work Artist Mr. Savale makes visible at least two different emotional Strata, Repression and Control! First, the facial expressions exhibit repression, to generate inexhaustible force and particularly exercised through lower leap resting on the Flute Hole, Second, on the other hand, through the movement of his palms and fingers on the wind pipe he articulates actions in controlling the musical resonance and relaxation of it by emitting harmonic and rhythmic notes.  Artist has succeeded in delivering an Animated Image of  Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia’s by fusing number of Facial, Bodily, Mental and psychical Frames  in his creating the Portrait cum sculpture. (190-91).  Probably he owes his skills in animation to Leonardo Da-Vinci and renaissance heritage

Making of an Artist, his Heritage, inspirations &Riddles of his Creativity

Mr. S. S. Savale shares with us his life inspirations. It all began when Mr. Savale picked up courage to draw sketch of his Algebra Teacher Mr. Dange during his ongoing lecture- class. By end of the period his teacher looked at the sketch and was overjoyed and showered praise on him. It was the first sketch of a moving figure. However It was his mother who’s Art of drawing beautiful Rangoli  (ALPANA) Paintings created on floors and walls, which inspired the child Shripad, glued his sight to Rangoli-sketches in childhood at age less than Five. He used to observe the dusty ‘sketch work’ drawn by his mother for hours, day after day. Here he walked on mother’s footsteps –sketch work! As I have stated earlier his father played female roles in musical dramas during the days of Balandharva and acted as female singer. His Hindustani classical and Devotional songs fascinated him. The singing and the Swaras, (MUSICAL NOTES) got injected into the ‘Sketch imagery’ frame and provided the second dynamic, moving musical dimension to cast his sketch work. Thus integrated framework of his sketches was molded in his earliest childhood and the imprints were engraved as the bottom most layers of his psyche and memory. This delightful Art work resembling sculpture has its origins in his childhood inheritance from his mother.

The imagery and his childhood and memory traces of these images act as impetus during musical concerts and act as a force of self-exploration and analysis.

At latter stage during his engagement with Art College he developed the acute unbridled hunger for watching and observing Michelangelo’s sculptures and Leonardo Da-Vinci’s sculptured paintings and sketch works. This had a long lasting impact in his molding to provide renaissance sculptural forms to his sketches!

amrita sher gil

Mr. Savale, in his younger days was possessed by Amrita painting styles, her pursuits, and her hurry in accomplishment of her life mission. During conversation, Mr. Savale said, at each concert Amrita Sher Gil and her Fresco paintings, “I felt, the images run into my face to inspire me”! Mr. Savale’s opinion, she was unique Indian to complete and create such massive work of highest quality in such a short span of life (She died at the age of 28 years).  Amrita unfolded concerns for ‘life’, of ordinary woman and common man. Her portraits of women from poorest households, tribal women were pursuit for ‘life’ and its expressions in all Portraits and paintings.‘Life’ Portrait by Amrita Sher Gil

grind stone

Art Work as Process of Transference, ‘Self Exploration’ and Recognition”.

‘The journey ‘Sketch Capsulation of Musical Concert’, the Unique endeavor of Mr. Savale began in 1966. He chiefly covered Pandharpur, Pune District and adjacent Taluk  places and Sholapur which are not distant from each other and have well developed traditions for devotional songs. Each and Every concert had a very satisfying End, mouthful appreciation and Signature confirming recognition from the Performing Artist! For him every Concert had an anxious beginning and involved moments of anguish and process of working through the inner resistances, fears and doubts and finally the conscious realization for both- Performing Artist & Artist Mr. Savale.

We have revisited Five to Six sketches of Instrumentalists and Vocalists drawn by this Artist not only to demonstrate his contributions and Unique achievement but also to get deeper insights into mental-emotional processes, namely, ‘phenomena of transference’, of his ‘self’ on to the performing Artist while drawing his sketch!. In doing so he has gained remarkable success in articulating and expressing Emotional and intellectual ‘life’ of performing Artist, capturing his or her attitudes, focus, mood styles and modes of expressions, when Artist is engaged in the Musical Concerts. I tend to conclude that ‘transference’ serves as basic vehicle for injecting ‘life’ into ‘sketch’.

Most importantly Mr. Savale appears to be under the spell of hypnotization by the Performing Artists during this ‘Portraying Session’. In this process ‘SWARAS’ or ‘MUSICAL NOTESS” seems to be the medium through which he ‘Transfers’ his emotions on to the Artist and on to the Sketch. But the real impetus comes from bottom of his memories, from his childhood desires and experiences.  The entire process represents ‘Liberation’. It can be likened to Psychoanalytic Process of ‘TRANSFERENCE” in which unconscious powerful intention or motive to win Recognition from performing Artists plays its role. It is comparable to what the little child’ wishes to please his Father or Mother, to get recognition and love in turn ir it may be striving for liberation from ‘unknown guilt ’towards his parents.  I am tempted to identify this as ‘analytical situation’ for Mr.  Savale. This phenomenon of transference decides the dynamics of his sketch work and paves the way for his creative achievements!  We can see two fold advantages brought in by TRANSFERENCE for the Portrait Artist. One, he puts Performing Artist in place of his Parents- Mother or Father and second- he shares or re-experiences emotional relations which have Origins in his earliest object-attachments to his Parents.

The process can be outlined as ‘compulsion to repeat’ transformed into pursuit of the Artist for self expression, Self-realization, transference and finally urge for Recognition!. It is commendable, long drawn out struggle of Sisyphus for last Fifty years, ridden with massive difficulties and nearly insurmountable efforts, on part of Artist S.S. Savale in which Maestro Vocalist  or Instrumentalist  recognizes the creative work of the subject “See alchemy  this is the appreciation of an Artist by another Artist’ . These words of Arati Ankalikar are prophetic since they grasp the essence of the process. It’s a mutual recognition. To get recognition from such 130 World renowned Artists is formidable and awesome task. Uniqueness of Mr. Savale’s creativity lies here.

Mr.. Savale has dedicated this Book to “all these Vocalists, Singers and Instrumentalists who fully contended and satisfied his ears and psychic thirst. I am immeasurably indebted and grateful to all of them whose Portrait making enabled me to articulate and project their (Artists) imaginative stance and interiors of emotional world in these very portraits. Encouragement from hundreds and thousands of Connoisseurs and arbiters of taste who participated in the concerts enabled me to preserve this precious asset”!

This Book is portrait of characters which Mr. Savale has finally articulated his own experiences and developed a narrative intended to resurrect Cultural Renaissance and influence this world  through  message of love, affection, social- religious harmony and dedication.


It is remarkable that the Artist, Shripad Savale, is actively engaged in Portrait Painting of Musical Maestros, Singers and Musicians even at Age of Eighty Four. Since he is constrained by Age and inability to move and run around he has devised innovative substitute technique to ‘Live Concerts’, strategy of drawing Water colored & Oil Portrait paintings.  From the Number of Images of Musician he creates in his own mind composite Image of the Singing Maestro in the fashion of a dreamer. He plays the ragas in the background which enable him to recreate the  images of the Artist when the Painter (himself) and the Singing Maestro, both are in the state of  Reciprocal Trance!


As illustration, I have posted three of his recently drawn paintings of Kumar Gandharav, Pandit Jasraj and Fr. Prabha Atre.   Out of the three , Kumar Gandharv’s painting is in water Colors while other two are Oil paintings.  In his own imagination, he says, he experiences live concerts and lives each and every moment of the Raga sung by the Singer for hours together. The above paintings, particularly those of PANDIT JASARASJ (Drawn few years ago) and Prabha Atre (Which he completed today) have been drawn over multitude of sittings. These are drawn in the ‘imagined state of mutual and direct interactive relations

He gets engrossed in the ragas even when he takes morning walks. For illustration in case of Pandit Jasraj, one can see the minute detailing of facial expressions, on gestured Arm and hair.  He terms these paintings as ‘patchwork’ paintings. Patchwork painting is an Art of integration of experiences, imagery and ideas which brings it close to  Sculpture.

He says, “Patchwork of colors, explores the modes of articulations of emotions of the singers in patches. In case of Pandit Jasaraj,  I have recreated his psychical state of trance. Dimples, shades, mounds on face and hands, the upward movement of the right arm are a single composite posture and the single image to recreate the inner emotional life of the Singer as expressed through Ragas and songs. Swaras (Notes) of the Ragas, flowing through his throat, Arm and facial postures provide the outer expression to his inner self which reaches out to me. The composite Image which gets created through the integration of Patch works reawakens my inner emotional life! Through the fingers of his unfolding right hand the Swaras take hold of my ‘inner self’ and provide ‘Sculptural’ form to my painting!” The fragmentation of Postures by supplementing them with shades, bulges and spaces, crisscrossing of lines provides the Portrait, three dimensional appearances.


Portrait of Ambroise Vollard by Pablo Picasso- 1910.

The ‘Patch Work’ in ‘Oil painting’ is also termed as ‘Collage painting’ and method was devised by Modern Artists, Pablo Picasso’, the Spanish Painter and the founder of Cubist movement.   in specific, first in 1912.

Shri Shripad Savale says that during the state of trance, “the Portrait I create is virtually ‘automatic’ and even do not realize what I am doing.  In fact after completion of painting I realized that Pandit  Jasaraj’s fingers of the right hand also articulate the imprints of the Swaras!”

Shripad Savale’s journey continues on the newly discovered path which he realized as the path on which he can carry forward with his pursuit Portrait paintings of Musical Maestros.

Anil Pundlik Gokhale is an Engineer by profession. As a non regular writer on political literature I have always been attempting to integrate Psychology and Marxism. I have recently published books ‘Condensation And Condescension In Dreams And History: Essay – From Sigmund Freud To E P Thompson’ by Author House London. Psychoanalysis & A- Historical Story of GENGHIS KHAN, Author House- London.




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