Dr. Sidhartha Pani, INDIA New England's "Doctor in the House" columnist, has dedicated his life to medicine and healing others, but he also has a passion for art and a recent resurgence in his work will be on display during Brookline Open Studios in May. The doctor/artist is also working with charity group to raise money for its cause through the sale of his paintings.
Pani is a physician trained in internal medicine and nephrology. He is associated with Emerson Hospital in Concord, Mass., and also has his own practice in Sudbury, Mass. But when he gets back to his Brookline home he turns away from the healing power of medicine toward the healing power of art.
A lifelong art enthusiast, Pani turned back to art in the last several years. He took a few painting classes and was hooked by the artistic pull. Though he has no formal art education, Pani's paintings look anything but those of a relative beginner.
Pani's painting is all oil paint on canvas at this point. He has done abstracts, still life and landscapes — and says most of his work is landscapes. "I like oil because, compared to water or acrylic, to me, the whole picture is richer with oil and more lasting with oil," he said.
He lists Van Gogh as a strong influence, particularly because of his use of color in his landscapes. "I basically like a lot of colors," Pani said.
Other well-known greats that he cites as influential to his vision include Monet and Matisse. "These are the artist I like. They were doing something similar," he said.
Pani professes a passion for checking out as much art as possible and says that since he never had a chance to study art in school, he takes advantage of modern technology to sample the palettes of a wide variety of artists. Whatever he sees that he likes can influence his work. Other artists that have stood out to him include David Hockney, Gustav Klimt and Andy Warhol.
"When you keep on doing it you finally focus down on a few artists you tend to like and you try to understand how they did it," he said.
Pani has created a Web site for his art and a few months back he started donating a percentage of anything he sells to Child Rights and You America Inc., a nonprofit organization that supports children living in villages and slums in India and the United States. CRY America has over 500 volunteers, 17,000 donors and has impacted the lives of over 400,000 children, according to the group. Pani has also donated art that will be auctioned off at the group's annual benefit dinner, which is scheduled for May 18 at The Pierre Hotel in New York.
For someone like Pani, who has a very successful career as a doctor, the fact that his art can help others, as well as satisfy his interest is a perfect scenario. "I do what I like, but at the same time I support a cause," he said. "And now that I have a purpose also, it puts a little more enthusiasm into the work."
As with any artist, he enjoys that others can see his work. "There is an audience for every art you do. There not all the same people, but there is an audience for everything you do," he said.
He is very much looking forward to his first big art showing during Brookline Open Studios on May 5 and May 6. Open Studios is an annual springtime event, held in locations all over Brookline, since 1986. Artists working in all media participate by opening their homes and studios to the public for one weekend. According to Brookline Artists, the organization that runs the event, it allows viewers to experience the dynamic impact of viewing original artworks within the artist's creative space.
Pani relishes feedback from more viewers of his art.
"This is my first one. For me it is more important how I am being perceived by the community -- will they appreciate it or not, will they criticize it -- if people like it, it keeps me going," he said. "For any performer I think the audience appreciation is the most important thing."