The gold-powder thus prepared should be placed in a bronze vessel and melted over again. Thereafter water should be poured into it and then be stirred up time and again. Now water of the vessel should be so carefully shifted that the stone-dusts remain for their solidarity. In this manner, pure golden pigments, showing the hue of the luster of a newly risen sun, would be prepared. Thereafter, this gold-pulp should be mixed with a small quantity of vajralepa, should be placed at the tip of the brush and all ornaments, imagined as of gold, should be gilded therewith. When the gold applied in painting becomes dry, it should be slowly rubbed with a boar-tusk as long as necessary to attain a brightness of lightning.”
“A painting should be then very beautiful , when a learned artist paints it with golden colors , with articulate and yet very soft lines , with distinct and well arranged garments ; and blessed with beauty of proportions and rhythm.”
17.1. Methods of producing effects of light and shade were considered very important for projecting three dimensional presentation of the image.* Weakness or thickness of delineation, want of articulation, improper juxtaposition of colors are said to be defects of painting.”
One of the endearing features of Ajanta art is shading the different parts of the body to produce three dimensional effects in the images. The other was use of proper colors at times contrasting and at times matching to create magical effects. These were precisely the principles that Chitrasutra emphasized.
17.2. The text mentions three methods in this regard: by crossing lines (patraja); by stumping (airika); and, by dots (vinduja). The first method of shading) is called (patraja) on account of lines being in the shape of leaves. The airikd method is said to be very fine. The vinduja method is restrained (i.e., not flowing) handling of the brush while planting dots patiently.
!7.3 While stressing the importance of proper shading of an image the text mentions that a painting in which an object is devoid of shading (varttana) is of average class (madhyama). Apicture which in some parts is shaded and the rest is unshaded is below average or is bad (adhama). And, a picture shaded skillfully all over is best (uttama).
" A painting in which everything is drawn in an acceptable form in its proper position , in its proper time and age becomes exellent, while in the opposite case it becomes quite different."
" A painting drawn with care , pleasing to the eye, thought out with supreme intelligence and remarkable by its execution, beauty ,charm, taste and such other qualities , yields desired pleasure."
18. Brushes and crayons
The text mentions the tools required for drawing and sketching . Vartika was a general term used to denote both a brush and a crayon or a pastel for drawing. It appears Tindu was a crayon too , of carefully burnt ebony twig; while kitta was black carbon prepared as a roll for sketching. Tulika was brush prepared , perhaps , out of animal hair like sable, squirrel and hog ; and , of bird feathers.It is said , a painter used at least nine brushes for every color.
The text says, " A painting firmly drawn with a tulika , a magnificant hairy brush ,on a canvas , dipped in juice of the best Durva grass cannot be destroyed ; and it remains intact for many years , thogh washed by water."
19 . How to go about the task?
The text briefly mentions how a painter should go about his task. The outlines ought to be drawn in yellow and red as a rule."The painter should think of the proportionate size of the thing to be painted, and think of it as having been put on a wall.Then calculating its size in his mind , he should draw the outline marking the limbs. It should be bright in prominent places and dark in depressed places . It may be drawn in a single color , where comparative distinction is required. If depressed places are required to be bright , jet black should be used . "
At another place , the text mentions that outlines should be drawn with unoozing black and white brushes in due order fix them on the duly measured ground.
Outline has to be filled with the first color-wash which could either white or green.And, it can later be filled with color in appropriate places.
Chitrasutra cautions that an inconvenient painting stance or a bad seat or thirst or restlessness or sloppiness or bad temper could spoil the picture.
Preparation of surfaces for painting murals as an appendix
Sources and References:
Gratefully acknowledge Shri S Rajam's sublime paintings
And other paintings from internet
Stella Kramrisch: The Vishnudharmottara Part III: A Treatise on Indian Painting and Image-Making.
Second Revised and Enlarged Edition (Calcutta University Press: 1928)
Technique of painting prescribed in ancient Indian Texts
The "Sarvatobhadra" temple of the Vishnu-dharmottara-purana