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Monthly Archives: May 2016

  • Different Styles of Paintings in India: A Rich Legacy

    India is a vast country with numerous cultures and traditions. Indian paintings depict the various cultures and traditions right from the early civilization till today. Although, with time, the different styles of painting have also undergone changes, becoming more or less a blend of different cultures.

    ‘Murals’ and ‘Miniatures’ are the two main classes into which Indian paintings can be categorized. ‘Mural’ is referred to the huge works of art done mainly on walls, which started in the ancient and early medieval times. These are those done in the Ajanta Caves, Ravan Chhaya rock Shelter, Armamalai Cave in Tamil Nadu and Kailashnath Temple in Ellora Temple. These paintings are mainly based on religious themes of the Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religions. ‘Miniature’ paintings are small sized paintings, done for books and albums etc. The first miniature painting was perhaps done on palm-leaf. The early paintings were the miniatures of the murals and also had a religious theme.

    Gradually, many types of paintings evolved. These include Eastern, Western, Mughal, Malwa, Deccan and Jaunpur, Mysore, Tanjore, Rajput, Kangra, Madhubani, Pattachitra, Bengal, Contextual, Vernacular and Modern paintings. There are marked differences in the style of each type of paintings. Let us have a look at some of the major types of paintings, the special techniques involved in executing them and also how they are different from each other:

    The Mysore painting is a South Indian classical form of painting which emerged in the city of Mysore in Karnataka. It comprises mostly of the paintings of Hindu Gods and Goddesses and vistas of the Hindu legends. These paintings are outcome of various stages; firstly, the sketch is drawn on a paper pasted on a wooden base. Then, ‘gesso paste’, which is a mixture of zinc oxide and Arabic gum, is taken on a thin brush and applied on the parts of the painting which need to be given a raised effect of carving to highlight details. After it dries up, thin gold foil is pasted over it and rubbed with a smooth stone so as to enhance the richness in the relief work. The rest of the sketch is painted with soft colors. Initially, the colors used came from leaves, flowers and minerals. But nowadays, poster colors and water colors are used for the purpose.

    Mysore_painting

    Tanjore Painting is yet another South Indian style of painting, which originated in Tanjore, in Tamil Nadu in the 9th century. The main theme of these paintings is God and Goddesses and Hindu mythological scenes. The sketch is drawn on a cloth pasted over a wooden base. This base is then made smoother by applying a mixture of zinc oxide and adhesive on it. To give the image a beautiful and attractive look, semi- precious stones, pearls, glass pieces, laces and threads are used to embellishthe jewelry and the apparels. Then, gold foils are pasted over it and bright colored dyes are used for coloring the figures.

    Thanjavur-Painting-KrishnanMadhubani Painting originated in the Mithila region of Bihar. The themes of the paintings include vistas of the royal court, occasions such as weddings, Hindu Gods and traditions etc. In this unique style of painting, colors are obtained naturally from leaves, herbs and flowers. Other techniques were also adopted to obtain different colors from natural products, for example black color was createdby adding soot to cow dung, yellow color was obtained by mixing turmeric with milk of banyan tree, and so on. A distinguishing feature of theMadhubani paintings is that no space is left empty; rather, it is filled with paintings of flowers, birds, animals or even geometric designs. The brush used for these paintings were made by wrapping cotton cloth around a bamboo stick. Double lines are drawn for outlines and the gaps are filled by cross or smallstraight lines.

    Madhubani_Painting_'Krishna_and_Radha'The Mughal Paintings emerged in the Mughal period i.e. the 16th to 19th century and were done in miniatures. Mughal paintings were the outcome of the combination of Persian, Islamic and the Indian styles. These paintings were mostly depiction of scenes of battles, hunting and court. Legendary stories andwildlifealso form some of the popular themes.

    Mughal PaintingsThe famous Mughal paintings include series of Hamzanama, which were painted on cloth in Persian Safavi style. The artists used golden color abundantly as a symbol of prosperity. Bright colors such as red, blue, and green were used, evocative of Persia as they were done mainly by the Persian artists. Later, Indian artists were employed and so Indian tones can be seen in the later works.

    The Bengal style of art emerged in the British period in the 20th century. It was the outcome of nationalist movement against the academic art styles. The Bengal art was influenced by the Mughal art and exhibited the discrete religious qualities of India and symbols of national aspiration. They drew inspiration from non western art tradition and tried to capture the religiousspirit of the East. Later on,that is, post-Independence, the Bengal style of art became modern.

    Paintings are a wonderful medium of expression of ideas, feelings, cultures and traditions. The beauty and uniqueness ofIndian Paintings lies in its diversity, as each style of painting is a reflection of the legends, mythologies, cultures, tradition and history of the place(s) it originated from. A comparative observation of these styles can be a great source of knowledge of history!

  • DIY CRAFT IDEAS FOR SUMMERS

    With summer holidays already here, it is very important to plan the vacations wisely so that the long hot days become exciting and are utilized constructively.

    Here are some fascinating do-it-yourself ideas for crafts that will turn your house into a creative paradise!

    Making best-out-of-waste stuff is an interesting task, which may not be very expensive, yet it may be attractive and impressive.

    Egg shells which may seem to be completely useless are great for making lovely decorative items. For this, the egg shells should be washed properly, preferably by soaking in very hot water to get rid of the smell, and then they are allowed to dry. They are then colored using permanent dyes or acrylic paint into vibrant colors.Beautifully colored egg shells can then be stuck on various items using adhesives. Old plastic or tin cans can be covered with a colored glazed paper on the outer side. Then, stick a white paper on the inner side. On the outer side, the egg shells can be arranged into beautiful flowers or any other design or can simply be stuck as multicolored egg shell mosaic. Now, this artistic can may be used as a pen/pencil holder or a vase. The egg shell mosaics can also be used on a cardboard which has been cut into a frame shape. There are many more ideas which can be used to make egg shell mosaic projects.

    egg shell mosaics DIY project

    Another wonderful idea of using the waste is to use the coconut shells to make amazing crafts. Dry fruit holders can be made by breaking the coconut shells into two halves and then the outer side can be colored beautifully. These can also be used as diyas or candles by putting ghee into the coconut half. Then a piece of thread or rolled out piece of cotton is put into it such that one end is dipped into the ghee and the other end pops out for the diya to be lit.

    coconut shells diyas-lamps

    Some fascinating ideas for craft can be out of Jute. Pen stands or dustbins or artificial flower vases can be made by taking a can, bottle or box of the desired size and shape. For this, white, black or brown colored paper can be stuck on the inner side of the can. Glue should be generously applied on the outer side of the can and then the piece of jute which has already been cut according to the size of the can, is carefully pastedon it. It is then allowed to dry. After it has dried up, the outer surface is decorated beautifully using colorful laces, mirrors etc. Jute painting can also be done on it making some nice design on the jute surface and then painting it colorfully. Other than this, jute painting can be done to make wall hangings, key stands, photo frames using jute as the base. Jute is available in numerous colors and so, amazing crafts can be made by using interesting color combinations.

    Jute pen stands-holders

    Glass painting is also a wonderful pastime for long summer days. For glass painting, a piece of transparent glass, glass liners, paints, brushes, nail polish remover and a piece of clean cloth are required. First of all a piece of glass is taken. A paper of the size of the glass piece is taken and the selected pattern is drawn over this blank paper. Clean the glass piece thoroughly and fix the paper on one side of the glass. Take the glass paint of the desired color, preferably black, and attach the nozzle with narrow opening onto its mouth. Press the tube gently and make the outlines of the pattern. Allow it to dry for 2-3 hours. After the outline of the pattern has dried up, color the inside of the pattern using water based colors. Leave it to dry for 24 hours and the glass painting is ready!!

    Glass Painting

    Embroidery is another very creative and beautiful craft. There are many types of embroidery patterns. Embroidery can be done on suits, kurtis and kurtas, cusion covers, bed sheets, wall hangings etc. There are many embroidery stitches and each stitch has its own elegance and technique. In the summer holidays, children have ample of time to learn and practicethis art. A simple plain cloth can be transformed into an amazingly beautiful piece by just a few stitches done in matching or contrasting colors.

    Embroidery DIY ProjectSummer holidays are much awaited both by the children and the parents and if these days are utilized by making fascinating items of crafts, these days not only become interestingly fun-filled but also useful.

  • 5 plants that grow well in the summer

    Who does not love greenery all around, so calming and cooling to the eye? All the greenery has been disappearing due the concrete jungles that come up in its place. Clean, fresh air seems to be a luxury that only few are able to enjoy. In the fast paced and cramped life of today, gardening seems to have become a forgotten hobby. Either people do not have time to spend on it or there is no space in the modern living environment of cities for people to even think about gardening. Despite that, it is interesting to note that gardening is picking up as a hobby and activity by many urban homes.

    One of the main reasons for people indulging in gardening is to ensure a regular supply of healthy and organic home grown food. Pesticide filled fruits and vegetables are wreaking havoc with health of the people today. The wide range of fatal illnesses and diseases are the result of pesticide rich vegetables and fruits available in the market. The fresh flowering plants also help to clear the polluted air that we breathe in. This has encouraged many families to get their hands dirty in rich fertile mud.

    Gardening is a wonderful hobby that relieves one of all kinds of stress, which they face in daily life. It requires a lot of patience to take care of the plants. Terrace gardens and balcony gardens are gaining popularity now. More and more individuals are planting flowers, fruits, and vegetables in pots in their gardens, terraces and balconies.

    Decorative and flowering plants enhance the look of a place and garden, however if you want to grow organic vegetables and fruits, these too can be grown in pots. The advantage of potted plants is that you need not water them every day. The moisture in the potted plants is retained for a couple of days keeping the plant safe from drying.

    Some of the plants that you can grow in pots

    Marigold

    Marigold is a perfect plant to add colour to your garden. From light yellow to bright orange, this flower is used for various purposes like religious and medicinal. The plant also keeps pests away. Growing them in beautiful brass pots from Poompuhar will add elegance to your garden and home.

    Marigold to grow in pots

    Hibiscus

    Hibiscus is a perennial plant that blooms all around the year. They bloom into lush full-bodied flowers when they receive direct sunlight. It can grow quite big so will need room to grow.

    Hibiscus to grow in pots

    Crotons

    There are various kinds of crotons that you can grow in pots. These are decorative plants that help to make the garden look beautiful and green in the scorching sun.

    Crotons to grow in pots

    Tomatoes

    Tomatoes grow well in pots. You need to provide some support for the plant to grow. You can grow cherry tomatoes or countryside tomatoes and enjoy a regular supply of fresh, luscious tomatoes.

    Tomatoes to grow in pots

    Plectranthus ciliatus

    This plant has dark green leaves and purple stems. It is a glamorous, exotic looking and easy to grow plant in pots.

    Plectranthus ciliatus to grow in pots

    Coriander

    This is a wonderful herb to grow in pots. It is a very useful herb used in everyday cooking and fortunately requires very little effort and maintenance to grow. What it needs is good sunlight which we Indians are amply bestowed with.

    Coriander to grow in pots

    Poompuhar offers a wide range of pots to grow various kinds of plants including clay pots, cemented pots, brass planters for decorative use, and many more. They come in all shapes and sizes. It is easy to make a beautiful garden with these various kinds of pots. Plants like crotons and Thorny cactus can be easily grown in shade because they need sunshine less frequently. Get gardening and add that natural zing to your décor. For online shopping visit http://tnpoompuhar.org

  • Why is Peacock our National Bird?

    “Wow!” exclaimed five-year old Rajat, “Look at the peacock, Amma, it’s dancing!” The kid grabbed his camera to shoot a video of the swaying feathered bird. He and his parents were driving down a suburb road in Kerala on a rainy day, when the peacock had suddenly emerged from a thicket. “Rajat, do you know that peacock is the National Bird of India?” asked his father. “No, Appa, why is it so”?

    “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”

    -John Keats, English poet

    ‘Pavocristatus’ meaning ‘crested peafowl’ is the biological name of the exotic peacock, which is common in India. Its velvety blue slender neck ends in a brightly coloured thick, long tail which has bright and shiny blue, green and bronze coloured feathers. A small silvery beak and a matching eye patch, topped with a majestic blue-green crownmakes peacock an epitome of nature in its royalty. The bird has thin long legs and flies into tall trees to roost. Green peacock, which is the male and can reach up to 10feet in length, looks even more mesmerizing in the rainy season when it spreads out its feathers and dances to woo female counterparts.

    Why is Peacock our National Bird?Peacock feathers are used for decorative purposes and are also used in many rituals. Peacock motifs are used in the architecture of Indian temples, designs on fabrics, old coinage and also in the modern day items of utility. The flesh of the bird was considered as cure for snake venom and it was observed that the presence of peacocks kept snakes at bay.Its beautiful feathers were initially used in the royal palaces to write important letters. It was considered as royal bird in the Gupta period. But how and why did peacock become a national bird of India? Especially when there were other birds for the status – such as the Sarus crane, Brahminy kite, the Swan or the Bustard?

    For a bird to be declared as ‘National’, certain criteria were kept in mind, the first being its national presence: it should be well distributed in the country and must be recognizable by common man. Secondly, it should have abstract representation in government publications. Thirdly, it should not be confused with the National bird of any other country. Peacock was a bird which easily satisfied all these, and more – its beauty and grace is a sight for sore eyes.

    Peacock has numerous references in the Indian culture and is also represented in the ancient art and monuments. Indian traditions have many legendary and religious beliefs associated with peacocks. There are also references of peacock in the Hindu mythology and in the Bible.In southern India, peacock is the bird that Lord Muruga rides on.They are found in all parts of our country, and are protected under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Not only is this bird favourite with poets for their description of grace, love and beauty; but also farmers are fond of it as it feeds upon insects, frogs, snakes and other small which are enemies of their harvest.

    It is because of all these reasons and its abundant depiction in Indian legends and religious illustrations, that peacock was selected as the National Bird of India in a meeting held at Ootacamund in 1961, by the Indian Board for Wildlife. Sadly, the bird population is dwindling to the extent of extinction. The demand for its feathers for decorative, religious and many other purposes has endangered our national bird. It is time we spread awareness and oppose the killing of our magnificent peacock.

  • JUTE HANDICRAFTS

    Jute is an evergreen product that never loses its good old rustic charm. Jute bags, baskets, vases, decorative and utility products are trending in urban homes which prefer to have a classic twist to contemporary décor. What makes them even more popular is their affordable prices and durability.

    At Poompuhar, we have a variety of handicraft items which redefine creativity using jute as the basic material.One of our bestselling products - our jute paintings are created by Indian artisans in different designs, keeping in mind a variety of tastes. Some of the jute painted wall hangings available at Poompuhar are:-

    A stylishly sketched peacock painted beautifully with vivid colors.

    Jute Painting Pen Stand PeacockA wall hanging with a traditionally painted elephant.

    Yet another magnificent work of artis an oval jute painting in which the design is sketched on an oval piece of jute fabric. The ingenious sketch of a man, woman and a dog painted in black colour gives a shadowed effect. A pattern of yellow and purple coloursenhances the beauty of the creative work.

    For those who love Bohemian and tribal sketches, a jute wall hanging with Tribal Art sketch is just the thing.The creativity of the artist is worth appreciation, as the painting, though done on jute, gives the impression as if it were done on a palm tree. All these wall hangings are available at attractive prices, all under Rs 300!

    Jute paintings have their own appeal and aura and inspite of it being a low priced craft item, they very well adorn the walls. Hang them on an empty wall or in a pair beside a wooden panel, and enjoy compliments about your good aesthetic taste!

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