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Mughal Love Paintings

Friday, April 30th, 2010 | Author:

Mughal paintings are greatly admired and praised for its richness, texture and innovativeness. They were in a different league. Mughal paintings were very stylish and unique. One of the important sub-genres of Mughal paintings was Mughal love paintings. These paintings are very fascinating and will capture your imagination like never before. They had splendid themes and unique styles. One striking aspect about Mughal love paintings is that, they don’t really conform to realism. Imagination and creativity played a much bigger role than realism. However, the themes of these paintings stayed true to periods they were made in.

Mughal love paintings are wonderful illustration of the Mughal era. They give us a glimpse of what that period was all about. The cultures, art, concept of love etc portrayed in these paintings are true specimen of that era. What makes Mughal love paintings even more striking is the unique blend of Indian and Persian style. Themes were provocative as well as informative. Some of the most common themes of love paintings were, love, lovers, courtly lovers in intimate positions, failed love and lovers in a state of despair. The paintings proved to be of immense help to the historians. The artworks are full of luxury, colorful themes, sensuality and physical beauty.

Mughal love paintings give us a glance into the love lives of the kings and queens. Mughal King Jahangir was instrumental in encouraging the love paintings. He had a keen artistic sense. ‘Jahangirnama’ had some of the most amazing paintings reflecting the wonderful art taste of the king. There were renowned Mughal painters who excelled in making love paintings. Govardhan was one of the most famous artists of that era. Similarly, Ustad Mansur created huge impact as a Mughal painter during the 17th Century. The popularity of Mughal love paintings is not just restricted to Indian boundaries. They are loved, appreciated and admired all over the world.

Acrylic Painting

Monday, March 29th, 2010 | Author:


panopticism-paintingIt was in 1950s that acrylics were first available. However that time they were mineral spirit-based paints. Later on, water-based acrylic paints were available in the market. These paints were used as house paints in Mexico. Later, artists started to use these mediums in art and painting. Today, acrylic painting has become an art genre in itself and more and more painters are experimenting with this versatile medium.

Acrylic painting is done with the help of acrylic paint tubes and though the painting can look similar to an oil painting or a water colour painting, they have their own unique look and feel that makes them distinctive!

Acrylic paints have the quality of being flexible and adaptable and can be used directly from the tubes or can also be mixed with water. Acrylic paints can be used on many types of surfaces. With this medium, you can use so many styles and brush strokes that you yourself will be amazed at the variety these paints will give you.

guran-gardens-two-acrylic-paintingThis is what you will broadly need to do an acrylic painting: A set of Acrylic Paint Tubes (easily available in the market), paint brushes of number 4 and 8 (flat) and 4 and 12 (round), Canvas board, cotton cloth and other essentials required for painting like pencils, eraser, brush holders, water holder, jars, palette etc. If you wish to make a beautiful colourful collage, try mixing acrylic paints with glue, the visual effect that it will give in a collage will be very appealing! A thick layer of acrylic paint will give a glossy finish to it while using a thin transparent layer will give a matte finish! What is most important while using acrylic paintings is that you should only squeeze that much colour out of the tube that is required. This is because acrylic colours dry very quickly. Blending colours in acrylic needs to be done fast because once applied these colors dry very quickly.

Acrylic and oil paintings look similar however there is a difference in the paint methodology. The main advantage that acrylics have is that they dry fast as compared to oil paints. Acrylic paints are also used a lot in mixed media than oil paints. You need to add turpentine to oil paints while acrylic paints can be directly used. However, the typical blend of colours that you get in oil painting is not achieved in acrylics.

Mural Paintings of Kerala

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 | Author:

kerala muralsKerala is also known as ‘Gods Own Country’ because of its charming beauty. One of the most popular tourist destinations in India, Kerala attracts huge numbers of travelers from all over the world. Famous for its land waters, spices, greenery and hospitality, Kerala has also contributed significantly to the world of Indian art. The traditional mural paintings of the state have always attracted art aficionados. These paintings are primarily frescos of the prehistoric era. The murals depict mythology characters and legends of Indian history. One can find many such frescos on the walls of the temples and churches in South India.


Mural paintings of Kerala have contributed greatly to the cultural heritage of the state. No wonder, these paintings have acquired a legendary reputation. The mural paintings took their inspiration from Dravidian art of Kalamezhuthu. As far as origin is concerned, these artworks began their journey during 8th century AD. Not many people know but Kerala is second only to northern state of Rajasthan when it comes to rich collection of archaeologically important mural sites in India. These mural paintings can be categorized into wall paintings. The oldest relics of Kerala’s own style of murals are found in Tirunandikkara cave temple. These murals depict themes of Hindu mythology. Buddhist influence can also be seen on the murals.


Perumkadavil in Thiruvananthapuram, Anjanad Valley of Idukki and Edakkal in Wayanad are shining examples of prehistoric cave paintings. If you are curious about some of the most famous mural paintings of the state then, take a note of these names; Vadakkumnatha Kshetram, Ramayana mural of Mattanchery Place, Gajendra Moksham painting in Krishnapuram palace and Shiva temple in Ettumanoor. Renowned ancient sites having these unique mural paintings in Kerala are, Thruprayar, Padmanabha Swami temple, Ettumanoor,  Kottakkal, Panayannarkavu, Pundareekapuram and Thotteekkalam Lokanarkavu.

Thota Vaikuntam

Sunday, March 21st, 2010 | Author:


3iThota Vaikuntam is a popular Indian contemporary artist who finds his inspiration from the raw and the rural parts of India. His work reflects the cultures and traditions prevalent in the southern part of India. The artist himself hails from Andhra Pradesh and portrays village men and women especially Telangana women in his art. As a child, Vaikuntam drew his inspiration from village male artists who would often sketch sensuous female characters.

pictureaspxVaikuntam’s artwork is simple but this simplicity is striking. He uses primary colors which give a sense of reality to his paintings. He often uses charcoal to sketch and his lines are nothing but fine strokes, well-controlled and strong. Colors like red, orange and yellow are artist’s favorite colors and he feels that these colors help his paintings to retain the Indian-ness in them. artwork_images_425787472_435525_thota-vaikuntam

In one of his interviews, Vaikuntam suggested “I don’t like using colours that are mix of two, because they are not natural, they don’t exist in surroundings around us, in our everyday life”.

Vaikuntam was born in Boorugupali, Andhra Pradesh in 1942 and since childhood, he was always interested in paintings. In 1970, he completed his Diploma in Painting at the College of Fine Arts and Architecture in Hyderabad. He also completed his diploma in Painting and Printmaking from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Maharaja Sayajirao University in Baroda in 1972.

solo-exhibition-by-thota-vaikuntam-482x298Vaikuntam has received the Biennale Award from Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal in 1988 and a National Award for Painting in 1993. He has also held numerous solo and group exhibitions in India and in various other countries as well.

Importance of Indian Women in Artworks

Friday, March 19th, 2010 | Author:

village-women-going-to-workJust the idea of watching a painting with women as its subject can be so very fascinating. There is a certain charm and mystery associated with image of a woman. How can we ever forget the eternal beauty of women depicted in the form of ‘Monalisa’? This painting, even after few centuries continues to enchant us the same way as it used to mesmerize people hundred years ago. Perhaps, one of the greatest artworks of all time, Monalisa will always be etched into the annals of world art.


Talking about women, Indian women symbolize respect, care, attractive looks and sober nature. Just looking at an Indian woman wearing a sari and red dot on the forehead can be an unforgettable experience. Almost every famous artist from India and other countries has desired to capture the perfect image of an Indian woman in his canvas. Indian females have always stayed on the list of preferences of the painters and artists. They definitely make for interesting subjects.


Most often than not, Indian women have been portrayed with sari and red dot on the forehead. These two features have made Indian women distinctly unique and fascinatingly beautiful. If we go back to the history pages, one of the earliest depictions of the Indian women can be seen in the Ajanta mural. One can witness graceful and striking depictions of Indian women in various poses in the caves of Ajanta. Women are considered as the best creations of almighty and murals of Ajanta appropriately depict that belief.


Even during medieval times, the trend of depicting women in painting continued. For example, you can check Rajasthani miniature and Radha Krishna paintings. Portraits of Meera Bai are perhaps the most popular depictions. From artists’ point of view, eminent painter Raja Ravi Verma revolutionized the traditional Indian way of perceiving women. His artworks are equally popular in western art circles because of similarity of his method with western realistic schools of art. Many Indian painters and artists from modern generation have also depicted the beauty of Indian lady in their paintings.

Silk Paintings

Friday, March 19th, 2010 | Author:

Silk paintings have been a part of the rich tradition belonging from dynasties and kingly rules. Painting on silk is an exercise and an artist’s gets full fulfillment once the painting is completed.  The feel of silk and the texture makes the painting more interesting and the play of colors in vibrant moods set the painting aside as a premium collection. The traditional ideas for silk paintings are usually concepts of lone woman standing or other motifs showing a dance recital.


The craft is mostly a part or wealth of Rajashtan and interior parts of Punjab. The paintings also come as a part of wall decoration or for a classy experience one can frame the same in an ornate wooden case. A silk painting of Krishna has an alluring image where the colors of the peacock feather radiate grace. The origin of silk paintings definitely came from the patronage of rulers.


It is believed that the silk paintings as a Indian concept was years ago in AD and then moved to other parts of the world including Europe. The silk paintings flourished along with Batik prints in India and wax resistance was the main technique used in the silk paintings. The mughals were lovers of art and painting and during their era the silk paintings were very famous. The depictions of raas lila or palanquin images did have the Mughal touch.


Using the ethnic priming method, the gutta is a medium that holds the color to the fabric. The silk is washed well, dried and then one a stretcher the fabric is placed. The tension is adjusted and the removable gutta allows the color to stay on. Later the gutta is removed and the painting is ready. The painting brush has to be perfect and the freestyle painting is certainly the work of an expert and experienced artist.


Certain artists prefer to work directly and here the color often gives away. Starch and dye color methods are the common prints in abstract mostly used for dresses and attire and has a good demand all over India. The richness of the painting is felt as the cloth absorbs the color well and hence the resister has to be of perfect quality. Storing the silk paintings is another art. Ideally it has to be stored in parchment paper or brown treated paper that will not allow the fibers to go disarray. Encasing them is also the job of an expert.

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Indian Face Painting

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010 | Author:

Face painting boasts of a proud culture and heritage. Popular across different countries, face painting is basically a living tradition. Considered as a social art, its scope goes much beyond merely a beautifying practice. Particularly popular among the native Indians, face painting has acquired a cult status in art fraternity. It is a distinctive art that can only be mastered through rigorous practice and utmost dedication.


Practiced by several tribes all over the world, face painting was primarily used during social occasions or functions. It was used to enhance one’s power and appearance. Face painting does not follow a single pattern. It is used in different and unique ways by different tribes. You must have seen different types of face painting. At some places, the entire face is covered with colors whereas some other places; you will find tribes preferring to use just the lightest streak of color on the face.


Many movies based on tribe cultures and stories show different forms of face painting. You would have seen tribesmen covering their face and then completely plastering it down with mud. Just two holes for the eyes and mouth are left on the face. It was a common practice for the ancient warriors to paint their faces with colored clay. Different tribes had different designs and color preferences. Warriors used to come back to their homes after the hunt and have big feast. Along with song and dance routines, they used to celebrate with face painting. To make the paint, they would use roots, berries and tree barks. Using index and middle finger, paint was applied on the face. Gradually, entire face was covered with colors. Every color had different relevance. For example, red signified the color of war whereas black was the color of living. Similarly, yellow was color of death and white was the color of peace.

Glass painting

Monday, March 15th, 2010 | Author:

Glass painting is a school of art in itself. There are various tolls and techniques that are used in glass painting. Traditional stained glass painting can be done on a surface of a sheet of glass where details with traditional lead lines are added later. This style of painting was also so that light could be avoided.

Glass paints are usually browns and gray-blacks and are water or gum-arabic based. They are applied through brushes just like watercolors are. In some cases, paints are fired onto the glass using a kiln to bond with the glass.

There are other types of traditional stained glass paints as well such as vinegar paint, silver stain and oil based paints. Vinegar trace glass paint is usually used to completely block out the light passing through it.

It is most often used for designs and the paints that are used for the same are mixed with water, vinegar and gum. Due to the gum, the paint becomes fairly thick. This thick paint then easily sticks to the glass. Gum Arabic is available in powder form and is later mixed with water. While using this technique one needs to wet the glass as well as paint the surface with a wet brush.

Care needs to be taken while using this technique as you can’t apply more paint to a particular place once it is dried. If you do, the paint can flake when fired in the kiln.

The key to learn this technique right is to learn how to apply the right amount of paint. If you apply too much then the painting will have blots and if it is too little then it will dry before you even complete the stroke. Once this is done, the paint is fired to around 1100 degrees F. after which it becomes shiny.

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Oil painting

Thursday, February 25th, 2010 | Author:

Oil painting exists since the 13th century. Today, this medium is become so popular that a student must learn and appreciate this wonderful technique of art. Oil paints do not dry easily as water paints do with the help of evaporation. They dry with the help of a process called oxidative reaction. The blend of colors and the natural sheen that oil painting gives makes this medium a beautiful way to express yourself! 


Oil Painting is yet another fascinating journey in visual art medium. Oil paints are oil based and are usually prepared by blending colored pigments into linseed oil, poppy seed oil or walnut oil.  Oil paints are yellowish and take a considerable time to dry. To paint with oil paints is indeed a thrill and a joy especially for people who are amateurs. The effect that oil painting gives you is something that entices all art lovers!  To do an oil painting the following are the tools that are required: 


Depending on your subject of drawing you can buy the number of different colored oil paint tubes that you want. Usually these tubes are available in 20ml, 30 ml and 60 ml tubes. 50 ml bottle of Linseed oil, poppy seed oil or walnut oil is also required. However, the most commonly used oil is the linseed oil. A 250 or 500 ml. bottle of Turpentine which is used to mixed along with the paint to thin it. Paint brushes of various numbers (which includes thick and thin brushes). A palette and a dipper holder, canvas board and other materials will include pencil, eraser, cotton cloth, brush holders, jars and tracing paper.


There are no set categories and types of oil painting but it is said that oil paintings that are used to portray scenery are very appealing. You can explore the media just as you like. You can even paint surreal and imaginary paintings with this medium. Whether to use a thin based oil painting or a dense oil painting will depend on the picture you paint and the paint style you use.


Oil paints dry very slowly. Hence once your painting is done; make sure you keep it at a safe place where they can be kept for drying. Also, if you want to clean a layer of your oil paint, you can use alcohol. This will clean your layer of paint because alcohol is a powerful solvent! 


India Coastal Handicrafts

Thursday, February 18th, 2010 | Author:

handicraftsIndia has a rich and vast culture of handicrafts. The handicraft work in India has remained in existence since ancient times. One of the most appreciated handicraft types is of Coastal handicrafts. Thanks to India’s enormous coastal line, huge variety of handicrafts has flourished all along these coastal plains. The thing to be noted here is that, culture of coastal handicrafts is a not a new phenomenon. There is a rich tradition of coastal handicrafts that has been passed on from generation to generation. Coastal handicrafts are made using raw materials available at the shores and seas. Elements of modern aesthetics and sensibility have further helped in enhancing the beauty of coastal handicrafts.


The main hubs of Indian coastal handicrafts are Orissa and West Bengal. Orissa is known for its beautiful beaches, historical temples, famous sculptures and colorful appliqué works. The art works of Orissa like Patachitra, Pipili and Saura tribal paintings have always exuded class and elegance. The state is also known for vibrant fabrics. Puri is one place in Orissa that every religious person likes to visit at least once in his lifetime. Puri houses mesmerizing brass statues that have amazing finery. Other famous specialties of the state are carved sculptures, stoneware, detachable wooden toys and wooden masks.


Those looking for coastal art and craft works, better have a look at assortment of appliquéd wall hangings, garments, handbags, decorative hangings, papier-mache masks and linen.


Talking about coastal handicrafts of Bengal, conch shell art occupies the place of the pride. Created by artists known as ‘Shankharis’, this is a centuries old tradition. One can also find shell jewelry like pendants, bangles, bracelets that are made after slicing conch shells with hand tolls. You can also find other shell articles and beautiful objects made form pearls. The place is full of mesmerizing costal handicraft works. One has to visit coastal plains of Orissa and Bengal to truly experience this beautiful art form.