I had the pleasure of attending a five-day workshop on Indian Miniature Painting by Artist Mr Sohan Singh Billawria at Srinagar. Being a student, follower and Teacher of Art: different styles, their nuances, variation in execution and materials from different areas is a matter of curiosity. To watch the execution of the different stages of a painting before the final emerges is a learning experience. The artist used stone colours against the commercial colours used by most miniature artists. The preparation of these colours is tedious and a long drawn-out process. The final colours, when used, have a brilliance incomparable with commercial watercolours. The composition is drawn on Vasli a special paper prepared by sticking various layers together. The entire painting is executed using very watery coats and shading is done using a fine brush. The pictures below are of different stages as it is painted to completion at the workshop.
The traditional stone colours used in their raw form
The stone colours crushed to a fine powder
The colours refined and ready to use.
The hand made brushes used for painting.
The composition is drawn on Vasli paper and covered with white colour in two thin coats. A faint impression of the drawing shows through.
The painting being burnished from the reverse side.
The entire composition is now drawn with a fine outline brush using a very diluted mixture of lamp black and red.
The flat colours are filled in using very diluted two to three washes of the required colours.
All the colours have been laid and the outline of the composition continues to show through. the shading is achieved using the fine brush and fine parallel lines.
The yellow background is covered with fine horizontal light green lines.
Tree trunks are shaded and the tree leaves outlined and shaded.
Rest of the details added and a little bit of pure liquid gold is applied
The painting is complete.