natural pigments on panel, 16″ x 36″
Kerala mural tradition of fresco secco
Ushas, or Dawn, shoots sunbeams from her lotus bow. She rides in a chariot with the sun and a herald (blowing on a conch shell). I chose to show them all high up in the sky above the clouds, and included a little scene of the sleeping world below, still in the dark.
For several years I practiced the traditional techniques of mural painting on dry plaster in Kerala, India. Using ochre, red, indigo, and black, anonymous artists of ancient India painted stories in glowing colors of earth, indigo and soot. They used fine brushes they made themselves to apply the colors they collected, meditatively applying themselves to their work. The oldest known murals are found in cave sanctuaries, temples and palaces.
Below: “Shiva” in the Himalayas, with crescent moon and the Ganges tied in his hair. He holds a deer and a drum, symbols of the wandering mind and desire. Shiva’s pose is inspired by a very old and time-worn painting in Kerala, India.