A religious shrine or room is common in many Indian homes. We had a number of deities in our home shrine in Kolkata but ‘Gonesh thakur’ ( as Lord Ganesha is called in Bengal) surprisingly was not there. But a beautiful terracotta Ganesha and three smaller ones (also in terracotta) sat pretty in our living room as decor. As much as Lord Ganesha is worshiped with pomp and pleasure in some parts of India (as in the festival of ‘Ganesha Chaturthi’), the powerful and popular Lord of Success, with the body of a man and a head of an elephant, has received a great reputation as a piece of home decor and art as well, being created in different pieces of stone, marble, terracotta, clay and of course on walls as paintings.
As a little girl I remember going over to my school friend’s house for a play-date for the first time. In one part of the house was a massive glass-doored cabinet with lights, meant for curios for display. My friend’s grandmother had the largest collection of Lord Ganeshas in different colors, materials and sizes. Some standing, but most reclining or sitting. I was awestruck! This sight of beauty stayed with me and as I grew up I added some more little ‘Gonesh Thakurs’ in our home, inexpensive idols that I could easily persuade Ma to buy.
When I moved to California after getting married I knew I wanted one corner or table in my home with many small idols of Ganesha. I wanted a collection! But where would I find such a variety of beautiful and artistic idols here? In one of my first trips to Michaels there was this flash of an idea! (what stores like Michaels can do to you, right?) How about I paint different paintings of Ganeshas and make it a series?! Not a bad idea considering my walls were nice, white and inviting. Haha! So I started off making the first painting of my ‘Ganesha Series’.
This is the first one. All you need for it are four things: Canvas panels (I used 6×8), Acrylic paints, paintbrush (a flat one) and very little water. And a picture in your mind or in the internet, of course!
I found a simple black outline of Lord Ganesha while searching on Google and used my own choice of colors to make a textured colorful background. For the textures background all you need to do is take a your brush and color and keep dabbing the flat brush in a diagonal pattern (not horizontal nor vertical). To keep uniformity keep your brush tilted in that angle consistently until you complete the whole background.
Add a darker color (I used red) on the sides and then blend the orange and red, dabbing throughout. (Here, you may want to dip the brush in some water only if you feel you need to.) The outline is made with just black paint and brush (no water) using a free hand. No stencils used!
The textured blended background using the colors orange, red and yellow.
This is the second for my Ganesha Series. I wanted a painting with a very different depiction of Lord Ganesha. I have used the exact same things for this painting as well. See above. Brushes used for this would be the regular brushes, not flat.
Keeping a steady free hand, I outlined the figure with white paint so that the different colors pop. I especially painted the background white as I felt the canvas white background was not bright enough. For both of them I used simple black picture frames you can easily get from Michaels or a similar store. I chose to use 6×8 frames as I wanted them to perfectly frame the canvas.
There you go! My Ganesha Series is finally coming to life! Aah, the joy!