For ages, India has been as regarded as the land of rich culture and traditions. There is no denial to the fact that traditional paintings of a place manifest the richness of its native culture. One such form of Indianart that mirrors the opulence of culture and tradition is Mysore Painting.
As the name suggests, Mysore Paintings are indigenous to the Mysore city of Karnataka.
Originally, Mysore Paintings were created on ivory sheets. Artists use a masterpiece as a template to create a new painting. The special features of these traditional paintings include embossedwork, gold foil, unique color combination and facial expression. The process of creating a Mysore painting includes outlining the main sketch using a pencil. Artists use special line drawing pen to draw fine details like flower and leaves. Before applying gesso on the ornaments and gold in the painting, Arabic gum is used as an adhesive and applied on the areas which require embossing. The adhesive act as a binder and supports the gesso work. Gesso paste is a mixture of chalk powder and white lead powder. The powders are blended together with the adhesive to obtain a thick paste, which is applied on the painting using a fine brush.
Traditionally, artists made paint brushes using tree twigs and hair obtained from squirrel, goat or camel’s tail. However, nowadays, they use ready-made brushes to paint these traditional paintings. The consistent thickness of gesso is maintained throughout the painting for proper weight distribution. Once gesso work is done and dried, varnish is applied on dried gesso work. The varnish provides a base for gold foil. Extreme care is taken while applying gold foil. Gold foil is a bit costly, but it is easily available in local market. Nowadays, artists use golden sheets instead of golden foil. Limited numbers of colors are used to obtain a well-balanced painting. Traditionally, those who practiced this form offamousIndianartusednatural colors which were obtained from plants, flowers, mineral salts, and charcoal; however, these natural colors have been replaced by readymade powder colors. While coloring body parts of human and deities, skin color are applied first. The White base color is filled in the remaining portions of the painting. Vibrant colors are used on the white base to make the painting aesthetically appealing. Once the coloring is done, black gel pen is used to highlight the parts of gold foil. The contrasting combination of black and gold creates a striking effect and adds more depth to the painting.
Mysore paintings are well-known in Southern India. They are the bridge between the classical and popular segments of traditional IndianArt. These paintings are rich and mainly associated with revered figures painted for worship and devotional purposes. Although these paintings are rich in aesthetic appeal, yet they are not mere decorative artifacts. These paintings aim at invoking a feeling of modesty and devotion in the heart of spectators.