Intimately connected with this concreteness
is that other characteristic of his artistic personality which ensured
that his creative impulses be only in alliance with the, so to speak,
secular or quotidian emotions he had experienced.His emotions do not seem
to be like those of some others: incessantly at work in the combination
and recombination of images which could be accepted for their own sake,
apart from the warrant of preliminary confrontation with fact. Instead,
he demanded the confrontation, and seemed to move only on the secure base
of terrestrial reality. Of course this, what may be called love of truth'
or of empirical conscientiousness, is a gift of the modern west: that
Indian artists had to make it their own to the temporary eclipse of their
native ways of looking at life was inevitable.
Shukla had to bear the brunt of it, in his own work, as in his obligations
as a teacher. He seems to have found it hard to overcome this acquired
habit of looking at things no other than this one way, and which way,
however precious, is but a limited approach to creation. It is good to
see only men and women and no demi-gods and angels.It is also right that
his portraitures carry no superimposed morals-his styles in drawings and
paintings, as the very many media he employed being subject to the same
law. This is vivid picture making but which scarcely has any images or
imagery; there are no metaphors and comparisons, no layers under the one
layer of physicality. There is no luxuriance in the genre nor movement-reality
being too patly captured. The artist has it all under control-he, not
aiming at exciting you, but rather wanting to make your mind work, coolly,
calmly. He has use for colour but it is subordinated to structure.
By contrast the art of Rajasthani miniature (and which expressed well
the earlier Indian psyche), bubbles up in colours of a perpetual spring,
always prone to the rhythms of dance and song. But Shukla's mind, or as
it became, is not lured away in this fashion. He has desired only to master
his instincts, to rein his creative steed. He does not dally, bent as
he is on reaching the goal-a full description of observed reality.