How to Make Madhubani Paintings: the Cultural Heritage of Mithila
Are you awe-struck by the colourful amalgamation of intricate detailing and cultural symbolism in Madhubani paintings? We are too! We want everyone to have the opportunity to experience this stunning art form without being constrained by their location, schedule, or language. If you’re someone who wants to learn how to make Madhubani paintings by staying true to traditional techniques, we have just the thing for you.
Rooftop’s Maestro Course is a completely online, self-paced course available in both Hindi and English. This 10-hour-long course has been divided into bite-sized modules and is designed for learners of all skill levels.
Certification, the Art Kit, and a Community of Like-Minded Art Lovers!
Learners who enrol in the Madhubani Maestro workshop get an Art Kit delivered to their doorstep. Can you guess what’s inside this bundle of fun? For starters, you’ll receive an art activity book with information about Madhubani themes and motifs. The book will also contain lesson plans, trivia, practise exercises, games, and so much more! It is the perfect companion to accompany you on your art-learning journey. It includes drawing exercises with motifs of flowers, birds, trees, animals, human characters, and many more, so you can reference them and create your own Madhubani art in diverse styles.
The kit also includes some artsy stickers and an oh-so-trendy tote bag that you can use to store your freebies. If you’re a fan of hands-on learning, you’re in luck! The kit also includes postcards and bookmarks with Madhubani patterns that you can colour in. Use them to practise Madhubani painting techniques and have a blast as you learn. Along with the Art Kit, you’ll also get a certificate upon course completion. The above example is just for show, but you can register and see your name on the real thing.
Meet The Maestro: Dulari Devi
Dulari Devi is an artist who learned Madhubani painting from the artist Mahasundari Devi. She started from humble beginnings as a domestic servant, and today, the Padma Shri artist is highly respected due to her immense contributions to the folk art form.
Her years of experience and her unparalleled skills in Madhubani painting make her a capable instructor. Her unique point of view will give you a priceless insight into the folk traditions of Madhubani painting.
Exploring The Artist’s Journey
The Madhubani course begins with the introduction of the artist, Dulari Devi. Dulari Ji talks about her artistic journey, the challenges she faced, and what kept her going. She also mentions that the ups and downs of her life make it difficult for her to believe the fame and recognition she is receiving today. She also speaks about her experience as a teacher.
Dulari Devi expresses her artistic inspirations and the themes that feature in her art. She then shares the folk history of Madhubani art and how it was traditionally practised by only women. She goes on to discuss how she derives inspiration from everyday situations and experiences. You’ll then get to hear some anecdotes from the Mithila community and how art, music, and festivities play an important role in the colourful tapestry of Mithila tradition.
An Outside Perspective into Mithila Culture
In the next module, our expert, Soma Gosh, a Librarian and Social Media Officer at the Salar Jung Museum, shares some information about the history, origins, evolution, and cultural significance of Madhubani paintings. She goes on to trace the evolution of Madhubani from humble floor painting to its transformation into a medium of artistic experimentation.
Soma Ji also talks about regional variations, themes, styles, and intricate techniques of the art form. She sheds light on the legends surrounding its nomenclature. She then talks about the influential artists that have helped elevate this folk art of Mithila to the national and international level.
How to Make Madhubani Paintings through the Basic Course
In the basic course, you’ll learn how to make Madhubani paintings on the theme of ‘Chhath Puja’. You’ll begin by creating a sketch in pencil and carefully depicting essential details and elements of the Madhubani style. Dulari Ji will also teach you about the floral designs, geometric patterns, and cultural symbols of Madhubani borders.
After creating the main sketch, you’ll outline it using black paint. This defines the shapes of the painting and gives it the distinct Madhubani style. While she works, Dulari Ji shares the significance of the Chhath festival. As you continue outlining, you’ll keep adding new elements, making the simple sketch from earlier look richer and more intricately detailed as you keep going. Next, you’ll learn a variety of designs that you can use to decorate the borders of Madhubani paintings.
As Dulari Ji adds the finishing touches, she carefully selects each element with a particular reason behind it. After this step, you’ll begin painting by colour blocking, i.e., adding solid blocks of colour to establish the colour palette of the painting. Then you’ll start painting the finer details and finishing touches.
How to Make Madhubani Paintings through the Intermediate Course
In the Intermediate course, you will create a Madhubani painting depicting a local deity and the folk traditions associated with its festive celebration. This will give you an insight into the culture and traditions of Mithila. You’ll begin by creating a sketch that captures the deity’s story, its essence, and its symbolism. Next, Dulari Ji will demonstrate how to outline the main image using a fine brush or pen. After you have outlined the entire artwork, including the finer details, you’ll move on to begin painting. As you add each colour, Dulari Ji will talk about its significance.
You’ll start painting with green, which stands for renewal and refreshment. Next, you’ll add the passionate red and the radiant orange. Finally, you’ll add yellow hues, and behold the multicoloured hues of Madhubani paintings! You’ll then paint smaller parts of the painting to enhance the overall composition. Some more detailing, outlining, and adding finishing touches, and you’ll be left with a finished masterpiece.
How to Make Madhubani Paintings through the Advance Course
In the Advance course, you’ll create a Madhubani painting portraying King Janak discovering Sita while he was ploughing a field. You’ll begin sketching the key elements and capturing the essence of the scene. You’ll then begin outlining the animals in the painting and meticulously bringing them to life. Next, you’ll outline the pot and Sita Ji. Outline Janak Ji, the villager, and add an intricate border.
These elements are an important part of the story the painting is trying to convey, so make sure that you clearly define each element. Remember to add finer details! After adding the final touches, you’ll follow Dulari Ji’s instructions and carefully select colours that align with the meaning of the story. You’ll layer colours and add fine details to make the final composition appear more nuanced.
Why Learn How to Make Madhubani Paintings on the Rooftop App?
The Rooftop App offers various courses on several traditional and tribal art forms. Here’s what some of our learners have to say:
You can now learn any traditional art form you want from leading master artists from the comfort of your home. Join our growing community of art learners and learn while interacting with like-minded people. Get personalised feedback from master artists and attend workshops to brush up on your skills. Feeling uninspired? Browse through the ‘Inspire Me’ section or test your knowledge through the daily quiz.
By Melissa D’Mello