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
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
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. +
Upright, plays flute, divine herdsman, destroys pain, lover, humourous
The number 8
Materials -I tried a few options here
Canvas covered in textured green (like the lush meadows) brush strokes kept light
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
Yellow Ochre- mud
Indian ink- originally from China
Rabbit skin glue- used (still by my brother) to seal /prime canvases