The Medium and Style of Phad Paintings
A traditional Phad as stated above, runs the length of thirty feet and is five feet wide. Khadi, or hand woven local material is used as the canvas. Traditionally only vegetable colors were supposed to be used, as these colors remained fast and fresh for a long duration. However the scarcity of these colors was seen as an overwhelming threat to this art form, so the artists were compelled to make innovations. Innovation evolved in the form of waterproof earthen colors. The pounding the natural earthen colors with gum, water and indigo produce the desired colors.
The Rituals involved in Phad Paintings
The commencement of these paintings is an occasion of great celebration for the painter community. Offerings are made to Saraswati (Goddess of Art and Knowledge). A rough draft of the sketch is then made on the khadi cloth and the figures are perfected. A distinct narrative is devised and empty spaces are covered with flora and fauna. All figures are colored yellow initially and this base is called kachcha. Then the youngest virgin girl of the artistís family or a family of a higher caste is called upon to make the first stroke. This ritual is followed by celebrations and distribution of sweets. The specificity in the use of colors in Phad Paintings is remarkable. Only one color can be used at a time and specific colors are used for different things- orange for limbs and torso, yellow for ornaments, clothing and designs, gray for structure, blue for water and curtains, green for trees and vegetation and red, prominently for dress. All these are outlined with bold black strokes, which give definition to these forms.
Phad Paintings in the Modern World
The unique beauty and chronicling character of Phad Paintings has fascinated
Art connoisseurs around the world. In the stories chronicled, one samples the folklore of Rajasthan and therefore they serve a dual purpose. The fact that they are a part of a full-fledged song and dance performances add to their unique charm. No wonder that today Phad Painting has come to be regarded as one of the most sought after folk paintings in the world of art and culture.
Ethnic Paintings offers comprehensive information on Phad Paintings, and folk paintings of India.