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Saturday, 28 April 2012

Warli Painting

The first time I saw a Warli painting it was on the walls of conference room at National College, I was fascinated, it told a remarkable story with just line, circles and triangles. I was attending a Vedanta lecture of Jaya Row but my mind kept drifting back to those lines and curves and my vision traced the movements transporting me to another world. I wanted to try that painting on my own, and did few on photo-shop but painting is altogether a different experience.

The pared down pictorial language is matched by a rudimentary techniques. The ritual Warli painting are usually done inside the huts by tribal women, especially during festivals. The walls are made of a mixture of branches, earth and cow dung, making red ochre background for the wall painting. The Warli use only white color for their painting. Their white pigment is the mixture of rice paste and water with gum as binding. They use bamboo stick chewed at the end to make it supple as a paintbrush.  The central ritual in these painting is what they see in their surroundings portraying hunting, fishing and farming, festivals and dances.

So, this Saturday, I decided to attend a workshop to learn the proper technique,

I was expecting just 2-3 people, but was surprised to see more than 20 people. After the initial introduction the workshop began.

We were given the kit that contained white and brown acrylic paints; few paint brushes, one small piece of cloth for painting,

We made few sketches using simple strokes of lines, circles, triangles and squares. Warli painting are mainly monosyllabic. The circle and the triangle come from their observation of nature: the circle representing the sun, and the moon, while the triangle derived from mountains and pointed trees. Only square seems to obey different logic and seems to be human invention, indicating the secret enclosure or piece of land.

After the basic stroke, I decided on wedding procession and sketched a scene.

Next was to give a wash of brown color on the cloth to give a background and trace my sketch on it.

It was interesting to see everybody with their own imagination, drawing human, animals and plants and different designs.

I completed half the painting in the class.

And the rest of the painting, I completed at home

Warli painting is an important part of the Warli tribe people’s culture.  The warlis carry on this tradition stretching back to 2500BC. Their mural painting are similar to those done between 500 and 10,000BCE in the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, in Madhya Pradesh. It is become so popular that it has now been appreciated all over the world, and the one that kept me busy today, will find a place on the wall of my house for sure……

I truly enjoyed doing this one…….such satisfaction of having created something, so beautiful….

then, printing them on a post card and sending it off to my friends........

There is a beautiful site on more Warli designs, and am fascinated by the various mediums where this art could be used.


  1. Hello, I want to learn Warli painting.But dont know how to draw basic sketches. Can you help me?

  2. Sure would love to help, but how ...Mr/Ms Anon?

  3. Madam

    Very interesting information on Warli paintings.

    Madam i want those warli postcards. Madam did you have some copies of those warli post cards with you.

    Madam please look into my Warli Paintings greetings cards which i shared in my Heritage of India blog.

    Also please look into my below message and share your valuable comments.


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