Discovering Madhubani

I am Egle Singh from Lithuania. I came to live in India in 2009 with my Indian husband and our daughter. There were many things that were different and things that interested me. One of those things was Madhubani art. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it.  It was so colorful, so Indian, so simple and so perfect. It contained everything that a perfect artwork can contain: purity, warmth and nature. Madhubani painting has the same effect as a child's drawing has. It has the ability to interpret the world in the two dimensional plane, using bold colors, lines and loads of symbols.

Madhubani paintings on sail at the Delhi Hath
Learning About Madhubani

Looking at these paintings was not only a pleasure but a torture as well. I was unable to draw them myself. I didn't understand the stories in them, I didn't recognize their characters, I didn't know what medium they used, I didn't know Madhubani was a name of the village in Bihar, I didn't know how to put the lines and shapes together so that it could transform into something this brilliant. I do not know that now too. However I did the following in effort to learn more about it:

* Reading everything on Madhubani I could find;
* Keep coming to the neighbor's house to look at the Madhubani paintings;
* Collecting Madhubani images on my computer;
* Meeting with Madhubani villagers in Delhi and asking them about their village;
* Buying some paintings at the Delhi Hath and asking the artists everything I could about Madhubani;
* Copying the paintings I really liked in order to better understand the artist's perspective;
* Drawing my life in the Madhubani style;
* Buying and reading the Ramayana in order to better understand stories depicted in Madhubani art;
* Trying to illustrate stories in Madhubani style;
* Collecting Indian folk designs from fabric, sculpture and metallurgy.

Madhubani paintings for sale at the Delhi Hath
Madhubani Painting Journey - Early Experiments

My Madhubani painting journey has really been a crazy one. It all started with experiments that involved drawing paper, fell tips, permanent markers, poster colors, canvas and oil paint. Now I use the handmade paper and the acrylic paint. Just last week I moved on from using the permanent marker to drawing with the nib and a black ink. It more and more reminds me of the graphical art we studied at school that I used to love. I am more and more drawn to the black and white Madhubani paintings. I love this journey and I like seeing the way it unfolds.

Why I Created A Madhubani Blog?

I wouldn't have started painting Madhubani if I didn't need  illustrations for my YouTube channel and Hindi blog. The majority of the visual content that's available on the Internet is licensed and that was when I started painting Madhubani regularly. I would paint on long pieces of handmade paper, so they could easily fit in my scanner for the better image quality. This turned into a hobby. My Hindi language blog and a YouTube channel became quite overloaded with these illustrations that I decided that Madhubani art needed a separate blog - a place where I can express my passion and save my other blogs from looking like Madhubani blogs.

Red mouthed Madhubani artists at the Delhi Hath
Madhubani blog's Main Goal

My main goal on this blog is to share everything I know about Madhubani and encourage others to share everything they know about it too. I will be uploading my Madhubani paintings colored and uncolored and you can use those as your beginner's trace patterns, you can print, copy, share and distribute them as long as you don't make money from them (it depends, so contact me and let me know). 

Also, I'd like to encourage Madhubani fans and artists to connect with me and tell me more about Madhubani. May it be a little thing, may it be your knowledge of Madhubani symbols or maybe you've visited the Madhubani village and have some photos you could donate to  this blog, I would be soooo happy! Viva la Madhubani! 

*Let me be the beggar of knowledge, fearfully stretching my heart out at you!*



Ravinder Malwa said...

Really nice work. Keep it up. after reading your blog I am inspired and would be painting my madhubani. You have tried to give all the information. I am little confused as you have mentioned Acrylic paint and some where i have also read Camlin Photo Transparent color. So let me know which is better.. Thank you.

CrazyLassi said...

Dear Ravinder, thanks for your comment! I'll keep it up (I'm so busy):) Anyway, I think that each paint has its own purpose but it doesn't mean one cannot experiment.

For example "Camlin Photo Transparent Color" is highly transparent and meant for coloring black and white photos or painting on a slippery photo paper.

The acrylic fabric paint that I use is meant for painting on fabric. It is thick and it doesn't require any water. I usually choose acrylic paint because it's very close to "poster paint" but it has more shine and looks like better quality. Also I like its thick consistency because it helps the painting look neater.

So there is no better color - just your preference.

Aruna Harish said...

Lovely space. You have done so much of research and compiled so much information in one place. A total source of information and inspiration for beginners like me.

CrazyLassi said...

Thank you so much! To know that this is useful makes me REALLY happy :)

Natasha Kakkar said...

Loved reading your blog....m extremely interested in madhubani and want to do a lot in this space...would love to connect.

CrazyLassi said...

Thanks Natasha! Sorry for the late comment but please keep sharing and if you have your own Madhubani blog, please share its address :)

dokka srinivasu said...

It is really nice and glad to see and know that one foreigner settled in India and interested in Indian Heritage and Culture. Through this blog you are doing tremendous research and also sharing your valuable knowledge and work on Madhubani paintings which are useful to those who have interest in Madhubani paintings. I wish you to draw many more new Madhubani painting projects and i hope you are reaching more heights in your passion towards madhubani paintings.

Recently i am presented my Third Seminar on Indian Heritage and Culture to young children. In this seminar i am sharing my paintings and other collections relating to Indian Heritage and explaining children about various aspects of our Heritage and Culture through my collections. Children are eagerly participated in my seminar and they clarified their doubts about our glorious heritage.

In this seminar i am sharing original madhubani paintings which are in my collection alongwith other paintings.


Please look into my Third Seminar on Indian Heritage post and share your valuable and inspirational comment for the same.

This is my post on Madhubani paintings. In this post i am sharing madhubani paintings in my collection.


Please look into my blog and share your inspirational comments for both my Third Seminar and Madhubani messages.

Roopa devi said...

Hi.. Your blog is superb.. And the paintings are awesome .. I am inspired to do it. I live in USA.. You have any idea any online sites have these madhubani base designs.. India or USA anywhere is fine.. If you know pls share it to me.. It will be helpful to me ..

lavina agarwal said...

You have a lovely blog dear..great to know that you love indian art so much. I have been thinking of painting madhubani for a long time. I saw some of your you tube video. This blog is a treasure for beginners like me. Thank you so much for providing such details and sharing the technique. Though it looks simple but beginners get confused about small things. .You have addressed it beautiful. Working on a painting inspired by your work. Will definitely share once it is ready :)

Jeevana said...

im a beginner and went to my friends house and saw some madhubani paintings on terracotta and was totally inspired. I googled and found your blog and iam so happy. i have some questions/

1. i have a wooden box and i want to do the madubani art so can i use acrylic colour?
2. on a terracotta pot how do i start and what kind of colours i use?
3. it will be very useful if you show in youtube how to do madhubani in wooden box as well as ton erracotta pot?

Thanks a lot.
im truly inspired by your interest and you are awesome.

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