Watercolour Mountain Trees Landscape Painting by Atique Ahmed

GUEST ARTIST: “Pursuing My Passion” by Atique Ahmed

Hi, I’m Atique Ahmed. I’m from Lahore, just a short drive from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. This secret was revealed to me when I was in kindergarten when one of my teachers asked me to perform a national anthem in the morning assembly along with a National Flag. At this young age, I made a drawing of my country’s National Flag with green crayon on a piece of paper and stuck it to a bamboo stick.

Architecture Watercolor Painting

This was my first attempt at drawing. From this occasion, I became fond of drawing. I still remember that I used to paint the Illustrations on my colour pencil box as reference. In my childhood, I was impressed by the blue sky, the colours and variation of the clouds, which were sometimes inclined to yellow, sometimes shiny orange at the time of sunset, and such beautiful grey tones in the rainy season.

Watercolour Landscape Painting by Atique Ahmed

I used to draw these scenes in watercolour. The different moods of the weather changed my mood as well, and I was encouraged to paint. The vibrant colors of the flowers impressed me a lot. The aroma of these flowers still intrigues me. As a shy boy, I could not participate in many painting competitions. Even in our school system, no special education was given regarding drawing. In spite of this, I always got good grades in drawing which was taught as a normal subject. I think I did the most drawing in the 9th and 10th, when I had to do most of my friends’ science practical notebooks.

My father was a clerk in a government department, and living was difficult. My younger sister was also studying. This all made matters worse for me and then came the time when I had to choose my career to support my family’s financial needs. Arts seemed a difficult option. When the time came that I needed to get admission in National College of Arts Lahore, one of my father’s friends advised him that it would not be too difficult for him to let me study in this College.

The very next day my father told me that I can’t afford the cost of your next education. If you want to study then study at your own expense. This day was a life’s decision for me. I didn’t understand what to do. I wanted to do something, but I was helpless.

Man Street Portrait watercolour painting

The next day, I took my bicycle and went out to look for a job. Other than drawing, I couldn’t think of anything that could be my source of  income. There was some sign board painter shops and I asked a few of them for a job. Most of them refused, except one. I started to go to a painter’s shop for some work. The shopkeeper gave me a task to paint a picture, and when I did he realised my potential.

Meanwhile, I submitted an admission form for a BA. I wanted to paint pictures, but he made me write registration plates of cars and motorcycles. I used to write dozens of them daily. There were also Urdu boards written and I used to write them. That is how I became proficient at using a special brush (used to write boards). I was doing it, but I was never happy with it. I never wanted to be a painter like that.

Now I was enrolled in college for my BA. I used to go for work straight after college. This didn’t give me enough money even though I was still doing it. After working there for almost two months, I realised that the money that I am earning could not cover my educational expenses. I couldn’t even focus on my studies, so I stopped going to the painter’s shop. After a few days, I started my freelance work. A few days later, I started doing sign boards while at home and this earned me a reasonable amount, and enough to cover my expenses.

Happy Family In Water Watercolor by Atique Ahmed

In the next two months, it all became easier for me. Now I could even paint pictures on signboards. My work started to be praised. When I got promoted from 3rd year, I went to enroll myself in the National College of Arts Lahore with some paintings that I made on canvas. Art college faculty appreciated my ability, but refused to admit me and said that you are too late and we prefer the fresh students. So I fell into a deep pit of disappointment. Then my heart began to be overwhelmed by the education.

At this time, my best friend advised me and referred me as a learning designer in an advertising agency. It was in the early 90s, and I made my place there within a year. This was the perfect opportunity for me to use my creativity. I learned mechanical design as well as air brushwork and calligraphy. About five years later, I came out of this organisation to become a full-fledged commercial designer and ready to set up my own studio (Artland Communications) in Lahore’s printing market and did a lot of good work.

I did not have time to paint for my personal satisfaction. I used Pelikan colours along with a variety of  poster colours. I also had to use watercolour occasionally, and now I have to use a computer as well. I also knew how to use computer programs and made the best use of them, but I still liked drawing by hand. A few years ago, my heart wished that I could do watercolour for myself.

Although I have worked in many different mediums, watercolour always inspires me. Photography has always been my passion. I like to click my shot and then work on it in watercolour. I used Faber-Castell watercolours. After that, I switched to Winsor & Newton, which are expensive but very good to use. I use a scholar’s sheet for watercolour painting.

Watercolour Painting by Atique Ahmed

Now I mostly make drawings and paintings by photographing my subject. I also use an Episcope and a Pantograph for drawing and enlarging as I use these tools in my professional field. If I get the chance, I would like to paint my culture around me. I want to portray poverty.

May Allah be my supporter. Best regards,

Atique Ahmed

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33 thoughts on “GUEST ARTIST: “Pursuing My Passion” by Atique Ahmed

  1. There is a saying ‘Learning from the school of hard knocks’, meaning learning while doing what needs to be done instead of through schooling. Your work is wonderful! Thank you for sharing your artistic journey with us, Atique!

  2. Inspiring story yeah I am still in th phase of working hard believing in my dreams and not giving up. Honestly I’d rather die know I kept trying then to let go. I do need to make changes though.

    1. Thank you sumayya for such a wonderful comment! thanks for the compliment!…………I’m not an architect, I’m a commercial graphic designer. if I’m talented?……its because we belongs to AMROHA. I am proud that our forefathers were from AMROHA.

  3. What a wonderful art journey, Atique! Your God-gifted talent inspires me a lot. I went to school in Islamabad and had Ms Hajra Mansoor as our art teacher. The basics I learned from her back in 1987 has stayed with me. Wish you the very best on continuing your art journey. Your work is superb!

  4. Just went through your artistic story, life has given you big upheavals but by the grace of God it has sharpened your brush, i remember one of your initials painting, i am happy overwhelmed and wish you all success.

    1. Thank you my dear brother Faisal!.. and thanks for your moral support as usual.. if I have a talent, this is only because we are AMROHVIS ! And I feel proud that my forefathers belongs to AMROHA.

  5. You were born to paint and I’m moved that you want to use the beauty of watercolor to give voice to the poverty of your people. It will be amazing!

  6. Thank you Diane! for such a wonderful comment! Yes painting is my passion and I’m born to do so…and you got it what exactly I wanted to paint. yes of course I want to portray the poverty and I’m working on it! you will see many more on it! Thanks a Lot dear!

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