A Master Class in Miniature Painting

 Sri Ramu Ramdev, Royal Artist and National Award Winner for Indian Miniature Painting. Portrait by Precious La Plante.

Sri Ramu Ramdev, Royal Artist and National Award Winner for Indian Miniature Painting. Portrait by Precious La Plante.

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An integral part of the Inspired India 2018 creative yoga trip was a chance to spend a day with India’s award winning artist Sri Ramu Ramdev, learning the art of Indian Miniature Painting from within Jaipur City Palace.

We spent all day inside the palace within the Royal Artists’ studio, learning from master craftsmen through a sequence of well designed exercises that gave a good insight into the art-form. Our group were led through simple free-hand design work as well as colour filling with paint, and each individual got to choose a design composition to turn into their own finished painting. Before starting any creative work, we practiced pranayam and meditation in the way that the artists do -with a 1:2 ratio inhalation/exhalation in order to sufficiently let go of any chaotic experience that we were carrying within our minds.

Miniature Painting is a practical way to experience yoga within painting, through recognisable physical techniques such as breathwork, as well as that subtle devotional quality that resonates throughout the images, the artists and the atmosphere of the studio. Art from the heart.

The artists don’t usually run these kinds of workshops and this whole day was created just for the Inspired India tour. I was delighted to see that this amazing group of open-minded people really took to the practice, and every single person decided to focus deeply and push themselves to create a beautiful finished piece. In fact, the guests loved the lessons so much that Ramuji decided to let us stay inside the palace after dark, in order to finish our work and eat freshly made samosas, chai and local sweets with him and the other artists. The ‘artist’s diet’ as he calls it!

It was a real pleasure for me to connect my beloved teacher with students, sharing the magic a little further. Ramuji pulled me aside afterward and thanked me for bringing such wonderful people to his studio, and that made my heart sing. But I want to thank him for sharing his time and insights, and to also thank the group for coming along to explore with such curiosity while respecting the traditional technique.

He was over the moon, and so was I.

 Inspired India 2018 students in session at the palace studio. Photography by Precious LaPlante.

Inspired India 2018 students in session at the palace studio. Photography by Precious LaPlante.

 Sri Ramu Ramdev, demonstrating freehand linework with the Indian fine-line brush. Photography by Precious LaPlante.

Sri Ramu Ramdev, demonstrating freehand linework with the Indian fine-line brush. Photography by Precious LaPlante.

 INSPIRED INDIA 2018 group, with Sri Ramu Ramdev (back centre) and Victoria Leader (front centre). Finished paintings at the end of the day. Photography by Precious La Plante.

INSPIRED INDIA 2018 group, with Sri Ramu Ramdev (back centre) and Victoria Leader (front centre). Finished paintings at the end of the day. Photography by Precious La Plante.

 Ramuji and I while teaching, Inspired India 2018. Photography by Precious La Plante.

Ramuji and I while teaching, Inspired India 2018. Photography by Precious La Plante.

 Ramuji demonstrating with Inspired India 2018 students. Photography by Precious La Plante.

Ramuji demonstrating with Inspired India 2018 students. Photography by Precious La Plante.

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