Playing with paint and painting the Gods – Lou Sumray

I played with different materials to “describe “ the Gods through mark making and

paints. It was playing + therefore definitely not set in my mind. The element that

came up was “time”- that to paint the Gods quickly needed practice as I found

sometimes I wanted to work further on the pictures as there were lots I was

dissatisfied with but realised that I need to let go of this for this specific “show”-

others did give satisfaction in their spontaneity. Shiva was the hardest, because

somehow he felt the most complicated to me.

I read somewhere that the eyes are painted last in Indian art (covers a lot of art!!!!)

because they are what bring the Gods to life (Lots of different cultural references

here-eyes are souls onto the world, the only “alive” part of our bodies exposed to

the world as every other part of our body is covered in a layer of dead skin etc)

I grabbed some quotes from a book I have called “The Hindu vision” – not sure how

reliable they are but may be of some use.

South Indian Artists song

All of me is on fire,

My voice, my body, my hands!

I tremble with the need to express.

Out of the earth I celebrate,

Out of the skies comes my answer.

Out of the earth I create his body,

Out of space his abode.

This bounty and his beauty is my source;

My body is the instrument of my expressions.

South Indian saying

The sculptor becomes the sculpture

Materials + colours

Ganesh- Red,(Muladhara Root Chakra) Indian Red,+ little amount of yellow

(Indian yellow), Blue background.

Playful, cheeky, perseverance, creates + resolves obstacles

broken tusk





Podgey tummy


Rides a Rat

Materials – Blue card, paint with a sponge + brush- quick, playful + gestural

Shiva- starting with blue (Ultramarine coming from Afghanistan like lapis lazuli)

then changing with white (ash). – Except his neck which stays dark blue + Indigo

3rd eye. (Lot of history concerning the Indigo plantations in India- “Indikos”= greek

word for India)

Fertility, destroyer, regeneration, shedding of habits, Lord of Dance

White and Fire colours



Flow of water/Ganges


Serpents (Ate the snake poison?)



White Bull- Nandi

2 sided Drum/ hourglass

Tiger Skin


Materials – Glass/perspex (dont know why – just tried it- something about seeing

through to reveal??) . Acrylic paint + brush. I did consider inks as they are more


Shiva took a lot of playing around with!!

Krishna – Black indian ink , coloured in with dark tones (as Krishna is often seen

as dark) Lightness of brush marks on a coloured background. Peacock colours. +

Yellow/golden robes.

Upright, plays flute, divine herdsman, destroys pain, lover, humourous



Peacock feathers,

Dark skin,

Golden Dhoti,

The number 8

Jambu fruit


Materials -I tried a few options here

Canvas covered in textured green (like the lush meadows) brush strokes kept light

and simple

Inks on paper

Raw linen canvas (unprimed/touched)

Colours + Pigments + materials

Carmine + cochineal – Bugs blood

Cinnebar (red) – mercury + sulphur (From a chemists accident)

Lapis lazuli (from Afghanistan) + Ultramarine + Prussian Blue- Rock/gems

Indigo- a shrub (grown in India)

Indian Yellow- cows wee

Indian Brown

Indian Red

Yellow Ochre- mud

Indian ink- originally from China

Rabbit skin glue- used (still by my brother) to seal /prime canvases