Thursday, 12 March 2009

''Lalita Sundari'' Commissioned Painting

I just finished working on this commission and must say that this is by far the most interesting and detailed painting that I have done. I was pleasantly surprised to recieve a request from Archana, who found me through Vineeta's blog feature.

She requested a rendition of Lalita - the divine form of the Ultimate Female Power ''Shakti''.
''...Leela is play and the concept basically means that all creation, life, Samsara etc is nothing but divine play....and Lalita is the embodiment of that divine play.'' 

A traditional depiction of this beautiful Hindu Goddess. 

David Frawley, in his book Tantric Yoga and the Wisdom Goddesses, describes Lalita as having
''... the complexion of the rising sun. Sundari wears a crescent moon on her crown, which is sometimes figured as made up of her own matted hair. The mind is her sugar-cane bow and the 5 senses are her arrows, which under her power of awareness become instruments of bliss. Sundari shoots us with arrows of delight, revealing all the forms of creation as aspects of our own blissful nature of pure consciousness. Her noose indicates her ability to capture her devotees with her beauty. Her hook cuts off all attachments to outer appearances".

This was fantastic! I was thrilled! A subject so overpowering and studded with such intriguing symbolism and Archana's request was specific and detailed...

More from her emails: ''...Lalita means, 'She who plays'...So I think an important aspect I am looking for, is playfulness and fun. A swing...suspended from a tree in a beautiful forest. The tree has mangoes and your sweet parrots. Lalita is seated on the swing, her blue-black hair flying and framing her radiant face. She has her third eye open ...". 

'' ....Seated upon Lalita's lap is a little girl (human, so no 3rd eye), about 5 or 6 years old. She clutches the ropes of the swing joyously.  Liquid brown eyes, big red bindi.''

And the child on Lalita's lap?: 

Drawing from this description by David Frawley: ''.....the entire universe exists for the delight of awareness which is the play of the divine mother. Creation arises in joy, and returns to joy. We are but transient figures in her eternal play, who have yet to understand the source of the energy that moves us.'' So, Archana added: '' .....the little kid in Lalita's lap is actually us - you/me. Both Lalita and the child experience the joy of the swinging in unison. When they are together, the child ensconced in her loving lap, they are in divine oneness, and experience bliss in unison.'' 

The image below was sent to me as a reference for her dress, etc. :

After several detailed email exchanges later, this is the sketch that I had:
Archana was happy, I got a 'go-ahead'!

We agreed on a few other details: Lalita would have a nose-ring. I was sent this photograph of the renowned Carnatic vocalist, the lovely M S Subbulakshmi with her traditional nose-ring as a reference:

As you can see, all the elements of this painting were given to me in a platter, I just had to put them together hoping to be able to do some justice to this amazing composition. A weekend later, I had 'Lalita Sundari' , charming in all her glory:

Mixed Media (Acrylic on Collage)
25 cm x 40 cm
''Sundari represents the moon as the visible image of delight. This nectar of the moon or the mind intoxicated by divine beauty is called SOMA in the Vedas. Sundari is the experience of the flowing Soma or nectar-bliss. In this regard she represents the delight of the divine self as he consumes our mind (Moon) and digests all experiences as pure joy. ''

''...for this particular painting, I don't want Lalita to be depicted physically
 as a young girl of 16. She can be a mature beauty,
but still shine with that  16 year-old free spiritedness.''  

The saree is inspired by the traditional hand-woven Kanchipuram silks
and the swing designed along the lines of a hanging Lotus. 
The blue background stands for the sky 
and I wanted this to give us a sense of timelessness, infinity.

What's more, I had finished just in time to be able to share with her 
this work on the eve of her Birthday! 
Thank you Archana for this beautiful composition and subject, 
for giving me 'Lalita'. 


sandra mucciardi said...


Kala Pohl Studio said...

Absolutely beautiful! I love all the detail and color in your work, simply divine:):)

Blog Artists said...

I love your work more than Gauguin"s work! And that's saying a lot!!! It's so precious Dee!
When I start selling my work...I'm going to commission one of my girls...LOVE IT!

Flor Larios Art said...

Just beautiful! I love their eyes...

indian yarn said...

wow! that's magical..

pink dogwood said...

You are so talented. I loved reading how you arrived at the painting.

nolaa gallery said...

Hello friend! I learn so much reading your blog. You have so much soul.. it oooozes out of your paintings!
Busy girl!

Tammy said...

Absolutely stunning!

Chandan said...

OMG, Dee, this is just stunning, I love the finished work. Thanks for detailing the process for us, it adds so much to the painting. Your rendition of Shakti is soulful and inspiring. keep up the good work!

Fernanda R. Lima said...


And i loved that you mentioned David Frawley's book.. he is something.


~mE said...

absolutely gorgeous work :)
and i love the flow in your post !!

Dithi said...

Thank you everyone. Love.d.

LuLu said...

Bonjour Dee! This paintings is ABSOLUMENT MERVEILLEUSE ! Les couleurs, les détails, l'ambiance et le sujet sont exquis! Bravo for the text that accompanies the pictures, I have learned a lot from it today and I thank you for it. Have a wonderful weekend and reviens souvent me visiter! A bientôt! LuLu

Peachy Cheek said...

Absolutely beautiful!!! I love it.

I am so glad and happy for you that you were commissioned to paint something for someone!! You are so talented!!

-Kim (aka peachy cheek)

Anonymous said...

And have you seen any works by artist Ruslan Korostenskij. I saw several of his works and was amazed as I have never seen anything so stunning and beautiful before. I now want to find more, but really don't know anything about the artist. Can anyone help out? Would be very grateful.Thanks.

magiceye said...

exquisite work!

Arch at Rang said...

Beautiful work Dithi!

Like the way you have documented the whole process...

It's amazing to see a concept being translated into a painting:-))

Great work!


Kaili (Billy and Button) said...

Just gorgeous work!! I love the vibrancy ...and I couldnt believe you did it in one weekend!

Anonymous said...

This is fabulous, I cannot believe just how stunning and warm. Detailed. Awesome! A true on for the art galley! Stunning!

carlikup said...

Ooooooh Dee, your art is sooooo addicting!

Awesome, awesome, awesome!


Dithi said...

You guys are so wonderful, thank you, thank you, thank you!

pRiyA said...

This is terrific. Just the black and white drawing itself is worth framing! Lucky Archana.

vineeta said...

Dithi, I'm so glad I came over. This visit is overdue & what do I see!!! This is brilliant news & this is godawesome work! For a second when I read Archana I thought it was Arch from Rangdecor & colours. Irrespective, this is such a precious piece of work!!! I love the concept and the execution. I especially loved the half moon in the devi'' hair. Greak work! Big hug for this!

Dithi said...

A big thank you to all you wonderful artists for such support. When I am doubtful and unsure about what the future holds, this support makes all the difference to me.

Priya: thank you!

Vineeta: Thank you, this came to me through 'you'!

nollyposh said...

Oh my gOOdness it is *gorgeous*
absolutely ~beautiful~ x

Sunita said...

This is amazing! I've fallen in love with your art.
I just found your blog via Aditi's 'Once Upon a Tea-Time' and I'm just blown away.
Lucky, lucky Archana to be gazing at this beautiful duo every day.

trueblue said...

Hi Dithi ,
I cant exactly put to words how I feel after looking at your pictures .. "touches the soul" would probably be the best description :) Girl, you are gifted! Keep up the great work. I will be sure come back and read all your posts .

Dithi said...

Vicky: Thank you!

Sunita: Welcome and Thank you!

Aswathy: Glad you like what you see. Thanks.

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