Lady Playing with a Ball

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Item Code: OS73
Oil Painting on Canvas
Dimensions 36.0 inches X 48.0 inches
Free delivery
Free delivery
Fully insured
Fully insured
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
Fair trade
Fair trade
The painting represents an elegantly costumed young lady possessed of great beauty : round face, broad forehead with a subdued miniaturized ‘bindi’ in the centre of her elegantly trimmed eye-brows, large deep arched eyes, sharp nose with a slightly arched middle, beautifully conceived lips with a patch of shade under them, rounded chin perfectly aligning with a shaded neck, fascinatingly modelled cheeks, gold-like glistening palms, thick dark long hair, lustrous body complexion and a tall slender figure. Appropriate to the medieval society’s upper strata to which the young lady seems to have belonged, she is wearing a silk sari, plain but embellished with heavy gold border and pallu – end part, and as correspondingly expensive silk blouse covering gracefully her entire figure. The jewellery she is putting around her neck, her ear-ornaments, nose-ring, bangles, all made of gold and precious stones, reveals tradition and ethnicity. She has been portrayed as seated on a simple carpet with her legs turned backward, one stretching at fuller length. Though not her face, her figure reveals great ease and composure.

Apparently she seems to be sporting with balls, tossing them into air with her right hand and then catching each, one by one, into her left hand but the expression of her face and the gesture of her eyes fixed into void away from everything reveals that she has on her mind some pressure, a tension or merely loneliness, or she is passing through moments of acute pain of separation, and in the flow of balls : in their rise and fall, she is trying to dilute this tension. However, as has been wondrously arrested in the strokes of the artist’s brush, her mind refuses to distract, perhaps because it finds that the pain of separation with which it always realises the presence of the loved one is sweeter than the relief of forgetting him. Two balls float into the air, and the third, she is ready to toss, but despite that she has her hand extended to catch them her eyes are led away from them and from everything, by something in mind, some sweet memories of past, upheavals of present or fears of future. Though a portrait, the artist has attempted to arrest the lady in his lines and colours in a definite state of mind and thus he has painted not only her exterior but also inside-out, her total being.

The painting has been rendered using the late nineteenth century idiom of art, a form that evolved on Indian soil by sharing the then rulers’ art models as developed in the nineteenth century Europe. Portrait painting was its thrust; however, unlike the portraits in the miniature format of the medieval period, particularly those rendered in the Mughal art style, striving to reproduce with minute details courtly splendour with the same thrust as the portrayed figure, these painters of the late nineteenth century strove to reproduce his figure, a king or a common man, inside-out revealing his essential personality : his intrinsic being and sometimes his class. They hardly ever focused on the painted figure’s surroundings except an aspect of it having some reflection on his total being. They usually drew their figures against a monochromic background or a background composed of diffused forms not distracting the viewer’s eye from the main figure. In this portrait too the figure of the young lady has been drawn against a monochromic background with a form or so suggestive of interior wood-panelling in a different colour.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.

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Oil painting technique – India centric

Oil painting is the most interesting technique in art. Unlike other paintings or art forms, oil painting is a process in which colored pigments are painted on the canvas with a drying oil medium as a binder. This medium helps colors blend beautifully to create layers and also makes them appear rich and dense. Several varieties of oil are used in this painting such as sunflower oil, linseed oil, etc., and depending on the quality of the oil, a particular consistency of the paint is developed. With the use of an oil medium, the painting gets a natural sheen on the surface which appears extremely attractive. India is famous for its old tradition of making oil paintings. This art form was brought by Europeans in the 18th century and is now practiced by almost all well-known artists. Nirmal, a small tribal town in the state of Telangana is the center of traditional oil paintings in India where the local people practice it with dedication. Most Indian artists still use the traditional technique of oil painting.

Canvas of the required size is prepared

The artists use either a wood panel or canvas made from linen or cotton. Sometimes the canvas is stretched onto the wooden frame to form a solid base, or cardboard may be used. The canvas is coated with a layer of white paint or chalk mixed with animal glue. This mixture is then smoothed and dried to form a uniform, textured surface. The wooden panel is more expensive and heavier but its solidity is an advantage in making detailed paintings with ease.

Sketch is drawn on the canvas

Now the artist starts to draw the subject of the painting on the canvas using the actual charcoal or a charcoal pencil. Sometimes, he may sketch with thinned paint as well.

Oil paint is applied using paint brushes or palette knives

Now that the rough sketch is prepared, the artist is now ready to paint. Oil paint, a special paint that contains particles of pigments suspended in a drying oil (usually linseed oil), is again mixed with oil to make it thinner for applying it on the canvas. Proper consistency of the paint is maintained to avoid its breakage. The most important rule for the application of oil paint is “Fat over lean” in which the first layer of paint is thin and later, thicker layers are applied. This means that each additional layer of paint contains more oil. This results in getting a stable paint film. Traditionally, paint was applied using paint brushes but now the artists also use palette knives to create crisp strokes. To paint using this technique, the edge of the palette knife is used to create textured strokes that appear different from that of a paintbrush. Sometimes, oil paints are blended simply using fingers for getting the desired gradation.
Smaller oil paintings, with very fine detail, are relatively easier to paint than larger ones. The most attractive feature of these paintings is the natural shiny appearance that is obtained on the surface because of the use of oil paint. The blending of colors looks extremely realistic and this is the reason why oil paintings are loved by everyone throughout the world.
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