1…2…Baby steps in Kerala mural painting

After my somewhat successful first attempt (by my standards :) ) at a Kerala Mural painting and ample support from all my friends and family I got the courage to try my hand at it again. This time my empty foyer screamed out for a picture. Ganesha, the elephant headed god, is considered to be the Lord of Beginnings in Hindu Mythology. What better luck than to have this remover of obstacles adorn my foyer?

I researched several pictures online studying the color rules (yes, there are a set of rigid rules like lighter shades for gods, darker ones for the bad guys etc) sizing up the pictures to see what I could attempt next. Most of the pictures were pretty complex so I had to weed out bits and parts from some and combine some techniques from others to come up with my version.

Ganesha Kerala mural painting

This Ganesha is the first thing you see as you enter our house.

how to make Kerala mural painting

Not bad right, especially for a 2nd timer who didn’t even know that she could paint? I know there are a few flaws but I just love him. The more I stopped by to take a glance at the painting (literally every time I walked by) the more I was getting hooked. I wanted to attempt even more challenging work. Again the research continued for days, stripping out, resizing,  integrating, and finally ending in my next trial run sketch.

This was the most time consuming work yet.  Took me almost 4 months off and on to finish it. For the first time I was able to appreciate the Kerala mural artist’s patience and dedication to this great art form. Reveal here.

 Source List

Canvas (22 x 24) – Michaels -$6.50 after using a 50% off coupon (Check the website for 40%-50% off coupons every week.)
Orange Paint -$3.99 – Michaels (I ran out of orange after the first one)
Brushes & Pencils  – $6.00 – Michaels
Frame – $40.75 -Ebay
Total – $57.24

More details of how to make a Kerala mural painting here and other DIY art.



  1. says

    That seems like a very very intricate work, it is so strange that we realize the true handwork of an artist only when we attempt is ourselves :) :)

  2. says

    Lovely Painting !! Love how the orange and the frame color are in contrast with each other. Surely an interesting piece of your work to have in the entrance :) And did you say 2nd timer ? It certainly does not show off in your outcome.

    • whatsurhomestory says

      Thanks Somu. Yes orange is a pretty standard background in these paintings. The frame is turning out to be the most expensive piece of the puzzle here. Can’t really do without it either. These paintings look so bare without frames. May be you could do a post on making frames? Would be really helpful.

  3. says

    40$ for a frame is quite high I presume… But then they sure add more value to the look and feel…

    I did make a <a href="http://woodooz.blogspot.com/2011/03/picture-perfect-wooden-photo-frame.html"photo frame for personal use… and put a tutorial on how to make a picture frame

    But then I was so disappointed with the quality of pics and the narration that I never really linked it anywhere in my homepage / sitemap… Been wanting to put a post on that for a long time… But been consumed by other things :)

    For the time it takes, we decided to get all our paintings professionally framed… and it is quite a surprise that this guy gets it done in straight 2 hrs… :) The biggest frame we did cost us Rs 500…

    • whatsurhomestory says

      Thanks for the link. That does look promising. I am gonna give it a shot some time. My two cents – may be you could number the wood sticks, like two of A, four of B etc. More pics explaining the process would be great. For me pics are way easier to understand than text. I am thinking more along the lines of the assembly instructions that we get here for furniture. They have lots of pics with simple step 1 step 2 instructions. May be you can look at a wider frame. It is just me, I have something against thin frames. Here we get molding that is wide. Not sure if you get that in India. Anyways I am going to give this a try.

  4. says

    Yes Molds are available… But just don;t know where… the pros use these molds and are unwilling to reveal their source… You may also have to buy them in bulk… not sure. Have to do some bit of research.

    As for the frame I made, I first made it for a given purpose… and then thought why not a step by step process… I took those pics using mobile… and I never not at all happy… Naming the sticks is a wonderful idea..

    And do let me know when you make your frame. Would love to know how it turned out. Thanks for your wonderful feedback :)

  5. divs says

    What color combination did u use to get Ganesha’s body color? Why do i ask this?… am trying a hand at a mural and am unable to get a proper shade for Parvati. My Ganesha is yellow with a dash of burnt sienna… i want a lighter shade for Parvati and am not getting it right :( Any suggestions?

    • whatsurhomestory says

      Hmm……It was almost a year ago. I think it was a combination of yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and white. I didn’t write it down (that is the first lesson that they teach you at art class, which I joined after all my 3 mural paintings). If you have raw umber try with that too coz that will give a deeper shade to the yellow ochre. Do let me know what worked for you. I’m sure i’m going to be at a loss when I want to do the same thing again.

      Wait, my mom just started taking mural painting classes now back home. Let me ask her to ask her teacher to see what they usually use for getting that shade. Will keep you posted.


      • divs says

        Ok… may be adding a touch of white should hopefully give me the color I want. Am learning the hard way to keep a note of the colors being used… that is indeed a good lesson.
        Wow! Your mom’s taking mural painting classes… in a few months I will look for excuses to visit her. Am already gaga over her beautiful garden.

  6. divya says

    i want to try kerala mural from quiet a long time…ur art is very nice…can u pls tell me the process as i want to do one fr myself….cn u pls tell wt colours have u used….is it fevicryl fabric colours or any other type of paints…which type of paints..pls let me know…thx

  7. anjalii says

    Hi.. Very nice work.I also started to do mural painting.bt I don’t know how to make the blue colour of krishna.can u pls help me

    • whatsurhomestory says

      Thanks Anjali. The blue color was really really tough. I would paint the face and by the time I reached the body (which would be after a month or so) I would forget what colors an proportions I used. In actual Kerala murals the blue is a mix of dark green and dark blue. The acrylic blue is way too sky blue to get the dark color. Let me check the exact names of the paint colors and get back to you.