Tag Archives: Colour

Ideart: Desert Dancers

Take one white shirt.
desert-dancers-2

Pick up a paint brush and the remains of earlier painting projects. Grab an old comic book of the Amar Chitra Katha persuasion. Copy a ubiquitous picture of a woman in the lehenga-choli-chunari garb. Colour brightly.

The man is a little trickier as this West-Indian costume isn’t easily visible in the aforementioned comics. But a search of ‘Dandiya dancers’ should throw up some references. Since the background was white, I didn’t bother colouring in his clothes at all. The kurta and pyjama are traditionally white. But I did add a splash of colour on his turban, the sash and ended with the mojri-style shoes. Hairfine strokes to denote creases in the cloth, were my finishing touch.

The woman in this picture brings in the colour while the man adds the motion. Together they present a picture of the vibrancy, the sheer energy of Dandiya.

Let’s have the actual design once more
desert-dancers

Garment: Fitted waist-length kurti with cap sleeves and side-slits

Material: Polycot with chequered texturing

Background colour: White

Paint colours used:

  • Fevicryl no.02 Black
  • Fevicryl no.301 Pearl White (for highlights on the lehenga)
  • Fevicyrl no.21 Sap Green
  • Fevicryl no.04 Crimson
  • Fevicryl no.11 Lemon Yellow
  • Fevicryl no.10 Indian Red

* Cross-posted to Divadom.

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If you liked this post, also see:

Other Indian designs at Kolam and Kathakali

Reverb 10.25: A Green Christmas

A photo Reverb10 post! It makes for a nice change. Also, it calls to the old challenge in me about trying to say something with a picture instead of words, of playing peek-a-boo with my readers by showing them something that is me and yet not instantly recognizable until it is explained.

December 25 – Photo – a present to yourself

Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.

(Author: Tracey Clark)


Say hello to my window garden. Does it seem odd to you that I would introduce my plants to you? Pet-owners do that all the time and if you ask me, animals are a darned bigger nuisance.

Late last year, the doctor down the road was having his clinic renovated. I’d drop in for papers and he’d chat. One time he pointed to a green plant close to his table and complained about a patient who had asked for it but never came by to pick it up. I must have looked interested, because, without asking me, he clipped off a branch and handed it to me, asking me to put it in a little water.

I took it home, cradling the thick, fleshy green stem with its stiff leaves, in my hands. And instead of a glass of water, I took an old clay pot I’d saved from somewhere and filled it with mud. Then I stuck the stem into it and gave it some water.

A couple of days later, the leaves were still green so I continued to water the plant. I was up most nights and on my breaks from reading or writing or when I was on the phone, I’d sit at my window, sometimes putting my feet out of the window and resting them on the airconditioner. I nearly knocked over the plant a couple of times. In time, I shifted to a window-chair and got into the habit of stroking the leaves. I always liked the spicy, snappy smell it left on my fingers.

A few weeks later, I thought my ajwain plant looked lonely so I brought in a few mustard and jeera seeds in another old pot to keep it company. The mustard shot out almost immediately, with daily watering. The jeera never took. Mustard I’m afraid lived a very brief but dramatic life. It would look droopy just like a bent old man, in the morning. After I watered it, a mere half hour later, it would up and about, gadding with the other plant and flirting with the sun. And by evening, it would change colour to a yellowish-green. It died out in a few months.

I experimented with cooking, with lessons I had learnt off the internet (which even brought me this writing commission). I fell in love with another plant called basil (a distant cousin of the more familiar tulsi). I couldn’t find the plant anywhere. Even the plant-sellers who wheeled their wares past my colony gate each week couldn’t help me. Somehow I didn’t care for the blooms and petals in their colourful stock. I wanted only green things, edible things, plants that could integrate with me someday, through fragrance and food.

Finally, I picked up a packet of pesto leaves in the supermarket, ostensibly for yet another pesto-treat. But I picked out the freshest looking sprig and planted it. It actually took! Within a week, it was glowing a greener green than I’d seen in the supermarket. In a fortnight, it had shot out flowers. In over a month, the stalk had visibly grown. More basil plants followed with future pesto-menus. One restaurant gave me a packet of seeds as a special giveaway with the bill. And they turned out to be the elusive basil seeds. Not all of them took but I nurtured the ones that did, with pride.

At its prime, my garden had ajwain, mustard and basil all in flower and which could give at least 3 leaves each to flavour my fingers and my food. I rarely cooked with my plants. They never seemed big enough to cut. And in time the leaves would wither away and I’d clean them off, promising to cut the next batch that came up. Eventually my basil plants withered away took, leaving only tall brown stalks. I still water them, hoping that a magical little green leaf with show up suddenly.

I’ve discovered something magical with this garden. There is nothing quite like watching life grow, right under your care, in front of your very eyes. I’m not an animal person so pets are out of the question. People come with their own set of issues and norms and barriers. But plants, plants never let you down. They ask for so little – some water, some air, some sunshine and if you have it (I really do believe this), a little love.

I’m not one of those crazy women who ‘talks’ to her plants. But I do spend time with my garden, as tiny as it is, every single day. It’s the first thing I look at, when I get out of bed in the morning and the last thing that I see before I turn in for the night. When I’m back from a short trip or even a daytime visit, it’s the first thing that I go and check on. Even when I take a break, I like going out to look at my plants. Occasionally I touch them, stroke a shoot, pick out a yellowing leaf from the mud, angle the pot a little better towards the sunlight or just sigh in smiling satisfaction.

I really love my garden. It’s shown me a different side to myself. A side that can care and nurture without feeling the effort. A side that takes take great pride in something that means so little to anyone else in the world. I feel like the garden represents a new aspect of me that I had never known existed, before. A city girl who always lived in concrete and metal structures….and I’m a green-thumbed gardener! Who’d have thought?

Someday I would like to have a living space big enough to accomodate a garden I can walk around in. I’ll want to grow basil (of course), tulsi, jasmine, rose, tomatoes, lemons and the plant that started it all for me – ajwain (in the picture, it’s the plant on the extreme left).

I Style!: Rock Chic

It’s been awhile since an I Style! post came up. Have Mumbaikers stopped being adventurous in their apparel? I think it’s got more to do with the fact that I am not on the road every single day, struggling through a workaholic life and thus extra sensitive to a splash of colour or ingenuity.

I’ve been meeting a number of interesting people. One of those wonderfully serendipitous (don’t you love that word, I do!) occasions was when I found myself sitting in *surprise surprise* the quirky Sapna Bhavnani’s house. I used to follow Sapna’s weekly column a few years back. Then I spotted her at a play and blogged about it, saying I wished I’d spoken to her. To my great surprise, she posted a comment saying she wished I had too. Anyway, in a nutshell, Sapna turns out to be warm and no-airs-about-her real, in person. That hasn’t stopped me from oohing and aahing over her quirky, colourful persona, though.

So here she is, featured not as a celebrity but as a regular person (because she is)…Sapna bringing back the I Style!

This picture was taken at the NH7 festival held in Pune in the first week of December 2010. Sapna was strolling around, shooting pictures of the venue and watching Airport set up. Even in that arty, colourful melee, she stood out. I’ve seen those those boots at an earlier gig and loved them but the place was too dark to shoot. This was a perfect occasion and I thought her dressing really spiced it up too!

Red hair, tattoos, black-and-white poncho, black tunic, orange leggings and THOSE boots! Take a closer look. In my mind, Sapna’s the original Indian rock chick.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

* Cross-posted to Divadom.

Ideart: Native American in India

This piece began at the height of my ambition as a fabric-painter. It was one of the few ones where I actively went looking for the garment and bought it only because I had a painting project idea in mind.

It was a creamy-white cotton vest from FabIndia with flat straps and a fringe of hanging plastic beads at the bottom. They had it in a number of other colours but which artist can resist the lure of a plain white?

I saw it and knew it was perfect for a painting. I had initially imagined an Indian motif or scenery, in accordance with my craze at that time. But the garment design was more Western and I’d been doing so many village belles, traditional motifs and dancers that I was looking for a different challenge. The beads at the bottom made me think of Native Americans.

Their images are also colourful, not in same vibrant hues of India but in more muted earthy tones. The fact that the vest was cream and not pure-white made it even better since it would offset the rust and brown tones that I envisioned, perfectly.

The tricky bit was finding the right image to paint. My actual paint area was quite small since the vest is very close-fitting, almost like a tank top. I had to stay within the limits of my (considerably narrow and small) front torso view. You should always see the garment on its wearer before planning a design. It gives you a sense of your boundaries (you can’t exactly print all the way to the side-seams since the areas under the arms will almost never be visible.)

I decided to elaborate my experimentation and do a portrait. I’m more of a big picture person, I like fitting in plenty of details, little sub-plots into the story of a painting and I find portraits generally too boring and one-focussed. So this portrait would have to be a big enough story in its right to hold interest.

I picked a man (once again, rather ambitiously, since I don’t think my sketches of men turn out as well as the ones of women) for my subject so I’d be able to bring in the gorgeous head-gear that the braves wear. I decided he’d be on the older side so the interest value in his face would come from the weathered lines of age (symbolising wisdom and experience) rather than aesthetics. Also, he would have to be older to don an elaborately plumed head-dress (each feather has to be earned by an act of bravery).

I didn’t do any sketches or outlines but started right away with the forehead, worked down to the face and then started on the headdress. The shading on the face turned out much better than I had hoped. It was just a matter of dabbing on varying hues of skin tone before they dried completely, which gave them a chance to mingle and look more realistic. The right corner of the face was touched up with the yellowish hue and I deliberately let the line show since light falling on that side would end in a sharp line.

I didn’t spend too much time on the rest of his body and garments, which is why the neck looks a little off and the collar is of scant interest.

The headdress was the part that I was really waiting for. I stroked out hairfine lines emanating out in all directions from the headdress border. Each line served as the spine of a feather. Using a fine-tipped brush to give the feathery touch, I painted using Fevicryl no.

Quite to my surprise, the most interesting part of this painting turned out to be, not the brave’s headdress but his face itself. I didn’t plan it that way and I certainly didn’t think it would turn out that well (though I’m really thrilled it did)! Art is so much fun when it surprises you this way. I still look at this piece and think,

I did that?! Wow, someone else must have possessed my body at that time and guided my hand.

Garment: Short fitted singlet with plastic bead fringe at hem

Material: Thin cotton

Background colour: Cream-white

Paint colours used:

  • Fevicryl no.02 Black
  • Fevicryl no.301 Pearl White
  • Fevicryl no.39 Carmine
  • Fevicryl no.352 Pearl Metallic Gold
  • Rust
  • Mustard
  • Yellow

* Cross-posted to Divadom.

Twory: The Gun Is Mightier Than The Pen

A Twory and a smile for Adi.

~O~O~O~O~O~

“I’m reading match updates on effing Twitter, man. It’s mortifying!”

“Use your press card, idiot!”

“That’ll work here?”

His slowness was grating but I had to act fast. We had half an hour.

“The pen is mightier and all that. Nothing will keep us out.”

I hung up and pulled on my favorite team’s tee-shirt. But just as I turned to the mirror, a splash of water cascaded over me.

“Sorry daddy…I bumped into the wall.”

My darling terror was looking up at me, woebegone. Holi was a discarded calendar page in most homes but mine. Sheena had not gotten over the delights of the pichkari as yet.

I looked down at my clothes. A bright orange blob was soaking through my blue tee-shirt and sticking to my chest.

A matching drop dripped off the plastic gun in her hands.

Ideart: Retro Shirt & Kolam

I was grumbling the other day to Samir (who must think I’m an awful crank since I’m always subjecting him to my grumpiness). The issue was that I couldn’t bring myself to write. Not that I didn’t have things to write about, but that I was all out of words so to speak. He scratched his chin (or so I imagine since this was on chat) and said,

It’s natural to feel that way. Creativity must find an alternate expression at times.

Yes, the boy is wise, isn’t he? 🙂

After reviving my karmic enthusiasm for colour and fabric, I realized that my materials, the paints were woefully past retirement age. So today, I restocked with a new set of paints and five new brushes. A new paintbrush is like a new laptop in a lot of ways. You need to find your way around it and it feels stiff and strange, initially. But it also feels brand new and anything new gets the creative instinct flowing in my veins with the blood.

I pondered on what to start with, for awhile. When you’ve been away from the palatte for awhile, that tends to happen, the brain-freeze, the finger-paralysis. From experience I know I just need to get started and then even if I discard the initial efforts, I’ll be off to a good start.

I set aside the blank tees bought especially to paint on, the kurta that’s been waiting for years now for colour and the much-loved FabIndia cropped tops. Flipping through FeviArt (Fevicryl’s magazine) for inspiration, I found a photo-feature of a fashion show where NIFD had tied up with Fevicryl Hobby Ideas. The models were wearing dresses, tunics and jackets on some sort of shiny material, all splashed with crazy, wild sheeny colours. My eyes have always paused at this page, each time I’ve flipped through the magazine and I knew today was the day my fingers got to follow suit.

I dug out an old Van Heusen shirt I had bought on sale and regretted ever since. The shirt is a creamy silk and crumples with each breath. It’s also large-sized and doesn’t flow the way I had envisioned. Instead, because of the fabric, it clings to the skin and because of its size, looks too large rather than drapy on me. In addition, it’s too short to be tucked in at the waist, thus losing its potential for a Mexican shirt-in-tight-jeans look. But the shiny and clingy fabric was just what was needed for what I had in mind, after seeing the magazine photos.

I didn’t plan anything in particular. The colours I picked out this morning are all from the Fevicryl Pearl range and are from two broad colour groups. Yellow-Green-Turquoise and Blue-Lavender-Pink . I started with the back and just let the brushes play along running the colours into each other. The brushes I used were all flat, square tips and made for some interesting brushstroke textures.

In addition because the fabric was crumpled and stiff at those wrinkles, the colour caught and skipped in places. I decided not to worry about a pattern too much and just play with textures and shades. The front has more of the same though in a different brand of abstract.

Now, the front looks like a paisley print to me while the back has a retro vibe. So I guess, the artwork is consistent in terms of period and styling. I’ll probably wear this with dark fitted jeans. The dried paint should make the fabric a little more stiff. The back has more connected colour strokes so this should make the picture ‘stand’ while the front has seperate patches and due to the contours of the body will probably flow in a wave-like fashion.

Garment:Full sleeved formal shirt

Material:Silk (the shiny kind that crumples easily)

Background Colour: Cream

Paint colours used:

  • Fevicryl Pearl Lemon Yellow No.302
  • Fevicryl Pearl Green No.304
  • Fevicryl Pearl Turquoise No.320
  • Fevicryl Pearl Blue No.305
  • Fevicryl Pearl Ice Blue No.321
  • Fevicryl Pearl Sky Blue No.319
  • Fevicryl Pearl Garnet No.318
  • Fevicryl Pearl Pink No.303
  • Fevicryl Grey No.07

And here is something I painted the same day as Good Karma, Bad Medicine. Unfortunately the top has gone missing after that day and I don’t feel inclined to writing about it. 😦 In any case, the design is a traditional kolam design that I got off the Internet and I only used basic white. The back reads ‘Kolam: The Art of Welcome’ since that’s what the south-Indian rangoli is supposed to be.


I think I’ll do another Kolam sketch and write about it in my next Ideart post.

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*Cross-posted to Divadom.

Ideart: Good Karma, Bad Medicine

A few days earlier I had a thought. The words

Good karma, bad medicine

just formed themselves in my head. I can’t quite explain the thought. It was one of those ideas that just showed itself and vanished before I fully explore it further. It still sounded interesting. I put it up as my Twitter/ Facebook status to see if I could glean anything from it from seeing it in print. Still no luck. It was one of those things that you can just about see from the corner of your eye but never quite catch it straight-on. That’s when it occurred to me that the best way to communicate this thought may be visual and not verbal. And I realized that it had been awhile since I wielded a paintbrush.

The minute I had that thought, the image I needed flashed before my eyes.That was just it. The idea was a picture, not a sentence or story. After that it was just a matter of executing it. Luckily I had a plain black singlet handy and kept waiting for just such a time. A budding artist learns to store away material that could come in useful.

This is a tank top, that I picked up the first time I saw it because it is the thin, stretchy tee-shirt cotton material. There are no big logos or pictures on it and the cut is basic but curved along the sides rather than the straight up-and-down of unisex tees. I hate those since they hang and tug alternately.

The first thing I had to do was figure out a way to get rid of that little logo in the corner (little as it was, it was still in a white rubberprint and stood out) since that would certainly not do with the idea I had in mind. I was out of black paint so I tried dark blue and dark green but the rubber print of the logo showed right through both of these. Finally I coated it with Fevicryl Pearl Black no. 306.

I wanted the picture to be exactly in the middle of the visible area of the tee-shirt. If you are painting a tee-shirt for the first time, I recommend putting it on and marking off the area while still wearing it. Otherwise, one is used to the stark, solid borders of paper and too often the artwork goes over the visible area or looks too small or big. Clothes fall on each person’s body differently and ideally you should always see the garment on the wearer before painting on it. This area usually comes to about 8in x 8in or 20cm x 20cm on my clothes (and I rather smugly report that it turned out a perfect square without using a ruler or even pencil sketching!)

I started with a swirly line using a thin brush and Fevicryl Pearl Spring Green no.311 and then Fevicryl Cerulean Blue no.32. But I realized that a psychedelic design with multiple colours would need to have broad strokes for each colour to be visible and not get lost in too-intricate strokes so I switched brushes. After that it was a random selection of colours applied in strokes, splashes, squiggles and splotches. I painted over in a number of places and in other places I also used the same brush in multiple colours without cleaning the brush. This last gives the effect that you can see to the right of the second dot on the right. The yellow and pink run parallel for a bit before the yellow strikes out on its own. The colours must not be too liquidey if you want this effect since otherwise they’ll merge into each other.

This is one design where red (my favorite colour) was not the most striking note. On the contrary, the red quite got lost in the gloss of the other pearly tints so I used it as background in a number of places. When I had covered the entire square, I dabbed on circles with the Fevicryl Pearl Spring Green no.311 and you can see the colours beneath through the thin veneer of the green, in places.

I originally intended to paint the words over this design in black or white. But I realized the paint area was too small to fit in words and besides, it was too striking to waste as background. Besides, there was enough room above and below for lettering.

I tried for a digital-looking font and a religious-looking orange (Fevicryl Metallic Red no. 356) for the words ‘Good Karma’. In contrast the words ‘Bad Medicine’ at the bottom are in a more graffiti-like font in a Fevicryl Pearl Lemon Yellow no. 302.

Finally I noticed that the painted-over patch over the logo in the bottom right corner had dried and was standing out against the black. So I painted on a stretch in the same colour across the tee-shirt, a sort of rough underline the way one would highlight a graffittied sentence.

I’m not sure whether the finer points like font and colour would be noticed but I’m guessing they would register at a sublimnal level. The message just is one of those things. I wore this with worn-out blue jeans, a silver chain double-looped around my neck with a New Age faerie pendant. It got some appreciation. 🙂

Good Karma, Bad Medicine

Garment: Sleeveless ladies tee-shirt

Material: Hosiery cotton

Background colour: Solid Black

Paint colours used:

  • Fevicryl Pearl Black no. 306
  • Fevicryl Cerulean Blue no. 32
  • Fevicryl Crimson no. 04
  • Fevicryl Pearl Spring Green no. 311
  • Fevicryl Pearl Pink no. 303
  • Fevicryl Pearl Lemon Yellow no. 302
  • Fevicryl Pearl Metallic red no. 356

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* Cross-posted to Divadom.

Ideart: Rose Garden

This is part of my series on fabric painting (after Peacock and Kathakali). But this was actually painted much earlier than those two.

I had this terrycot shirt checked orange and white. The overall effect was a sort of mustard. It’s not a colour I’ve ever been fond of or one that flatters me. Painting it was a rather delayed decision since it doesn’t occur to one intuitively to paint over something that already has a pattern on it. But I realized that the pattern was neither overwhelming nor highly visible. And it would serve perfectly well as a background.

I used several pictures of roses to figure out the basic geometric shapes and swirl-patterns that I’d need to use. It turned out to be surprisingly easy. I started with a round wavy shape (like little kids drawings of flowers) using black paint (Fevicryl no.02 Black). Then I added more waves and curlicues inside it. After that it’s just a matter of colouring and adding leaves.

The painting was actually loads of fun, the messy, splashy way. I made blobs of the basic red paint (Fevicryl no.39 Carmine) on the fabric. Then before it was dry, I daubed on the shimmery pink (Fevicryl no.303 Pearl Pin). The pink was probably an older bottle so it had gone a little creamier while the red, newer was liquidey. The net effect was that the pink stood on its own but blurred into the red at the edges to give a lovely shaded effect. I waited for these to dry before outlining and highlighting in black again.

The leaves were done using a similar principle – outlined in black, filled in with basic green (Fevicryl no.06 Dark Green) and daubed with the shimmery green (Fevicryl no.357 Pearl Metallic Green). And finally redefined with black once that was dry.

The details came in later. I added hairfine strokes of black to show the stems. Tiny buds with triangle-shaped leaves in blue (Fevicryl no.32 Cerulean Blue); these were done with  a thin brush dipped in colour and then pressed flat down on the cloth. These were given yellow (Fevicryl no.302 Pearl Lemon Yellow) centers. The leaf veins were lined with bronze (Fevicryl no.355 Pearl Metallic Bronze).

I started intending to only paint the back since it had an unbroken visage (the front has buttons all the way down so it’s difficult to do one contiuous painting). Then it looked so good that I added some detail in the front to match the theme.

rose-garden-3

The front detailing is not uniform copy of the back. While the back is just one pattern of roses scattered all over, the front shows a rose-trellis creeping up on one side and small bouquet-like collection of flowers on the other side that look like they’ve been plucked off the plant and dropped on the ground.

rose-garden-2

On the same side, I added a tiny rosebud and leaf detail on the collar.

rose-garden-1

Garment: Waist-length shirt with short sleeves and collar

Material: Terrycot with tartan texture

Background colour: Orange-brown with white threads running through

Paint colours used:

  • Fevicryl no.02 Black
  • Fevicryl no.39 Carmine
  • Fevicryl no.303 Pearl Pink
  • Fevicryl no.06 Dark Green
  • Fevicryl no.357 Pearl Metallic Green
  • Fevicryl no.355 Pearl Metallic Bronze
  • Fevicryl no.32 Cerulean Blue
  • Fevicryl no.302 Pearl Lemon Yellow

* Cross-posted to Divadom.

Ideart: Kathakali

I’m fascinated by Indian designs, motifs and art forms. Such vibrant colour! Such dazzling variety! I did a set of pieces called ‘Tandav’ using motifs and images from Indian dance forms. Sadly enough I didn’t think to take pictures back then and most of those garments have been worn out and discarded.

Kathakali (for the uninitiated) is a classical dance form from Kerala. The movements are small and detailed, all in the eyes and fingers. The costumes, especially for the men are the most delightful part of the dance. The make-up and costume apparantly take upto 6 hours to don. I was fascinated by the phlethora of colours on the Kathakali costume. This is my tribute to this grand art.

I used a plain black terrycot vest. It was a few years old and unused because it was too broad for me and the fabric wasn’t the soft, clingy variety that would look good, loose. It turned out to be perfect for holding an elaborate, heavy paint picture and the black background was just what I needed to offset all the colours. Black is the one colour that you won’t find in a traditional Hindu costume so it brought out the other colours really well.

I looked up a number of photographs of  Kathakali costumes before settling on this design. Instead of a complete costume as I had originally planned, I decided to concentrate on only the face since I felt the detailing of jewellery and make-up was a masterpiece in itself. My painting is a close-up of just the face of a Kathakali dance hero. The final result was a mixture of several different costumes that I saw.

The painting looks very elaborate but was actually very simple to execute. The lines were clean, I didn’t need to use any shading and the drama in the piece comes from the vibrant colours.

I outlined the face with a sliver of soap. The outline took several tries before I could get it to be perfectly symmetrical and even then I did make one side slightly larger. The thing about fabric paints is that you never erase, you  just paint over or improvise, which is what I did here. The curve on the right of the face was actually smoothened out by painting over with Fevicryl no.02 Black. Okay, I cheated. 🙂

The bottom piece is Fevicryl no.27 White. I refrained from using silver (even though it would catch the light well) because I wanted to retain the authenticity of the image. The jewellery was  Fevicryl no.352 Pearl Metallic Gold and for the sapphires, I used  Fevicryl no.32 Cerulean Blue. I had actually used plain red for the jewels but it didn’t look as impressive, especially since the swirls on the headpiece were the same colour, so I painted over with the metallic range.

Initially I had thought I’d leave the eyebrows and kohl edging unpainted since the background was black. However after finishing the rest of the piece, those areas looked dull (on account of the shiny dry paint) so I finished them up with  Fevicryl no.02 Black. I also outlined every border between two colours in the same black. This makes the colours stand out better and should be used only when shading is not used.

Incidentally I painted this piece when I was nearing the end of my colour stock so I also used the opportunity to clear out the little remaining paint that I had in most of my bottles. Hence there are some uneven splashes of colour here and there that are not duplicated elsewhere (because I ran out of that shade!). I think it adds to the vibrancy of the piece without any one colour making a statement in itself. I wanted the facial green and white edging to be the central focus.

The one tricky bit was the face itself. Having finished the big areas of colour, I was left with a bright piece which did not quite look human. Adding lines on a sketch of a face is always risky since it can make your subject look old. I used a hairfine brush to add a few strokes for nose. The laughlines were an afterthought and I actually drew them too long which made the face look pulled down. So I corrected by painting over with the facial green. A couple of spots on the right corner of the face and little dash under the lower lip made it seem more human.

Since the vest was still too big for me, with gaping, wide armholes, I teamed this up with a bright green FabIndia shirt. The shirt itself was an impulse buy and I didn’t quite know what to wear it with since the cut was too severe for casualwear and the colour too bright for office. Since only the sleeves are visible, it matched the green face paint of the dancer well. I’ve always worn this with classic blue straight-fit jeans but I daresay straight black pants could add a slightly more evening-formal look. If I was feeling upto going all gypsy, I’d wear this over a flowing skirt.

kathakali1

(If you like this piece, watch for Desert Dancers, another other Tandav piece that I’ll write about, shortly)

SeriesTandav

Garment: Sleeveless waist-length vest

Material: Terrycot

Background colour: Black

Paint colours used:

  • Fevicryl no.27 White
  • Fevicryl no.o2 Black
  • Fevicryl no.32 Cerulean Blue
  • Fevicryl no.352 Pearl Metallic Gold
  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Green

* Cross-posted to Divadom.

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If you liked this post, also see:

Other Indian designs at Kolam and Desert Dancers.

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