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Dear Readers

I am so delighted to share that Apna Art Adda has upgraded itself and has got a new look too. All thanks to your love and support.

Here’s the new link to Apna Art Adda blog.

Hope to see you there!

Thank you!




This artist is making Ranthambore proud with his Soot Tigers!

One day in November, 1984 Murli was cleaning his lamp. While doing so he saw the hole inside the lamp blocked by Soot (a powder that is produced by burning the lamp).

He took a small stick to remove the soot, but oops! The fine powder blew away and scattered on the floor. Murli, quickly grabbed a paper from his sketchbook trying to clean the floor.

The moment he was about to trash it he noticed beautiful white and black tones on the paper.

EUREKA! Murli found a unique medium for his paintings which changed his life forever!

Today, Murali is a celebrated wildlife photographer and painter, better known as M. D. Parashar (Murli Dhar Parashar) who has won hearts of many with his soot tiger paintings.

Ranthambore’s World Famous Tigress Machhali, T-16, Lady of the lake and Crocodile Killer Artist: M.D.Parashar, Soot on Paper, 12″x 18″ inch Image Credit: M D Parashar FB page

Wait till you read this.

M. D. Parashar’s art is on display at The White House, USA! More so at the residence of India’s President, Prime Minister, Rajasthan’s Chief Minister and Punjab’s Chief Minister.

Some huge business houses have too adorned their workspaces with his paintings such as – Reliance Group, ESSO Petroleum Co. and WWF India, Taj and Oberoi Hotels amongst others.

Well, today it is his birthday – 8th July, 1961 and this post is a small tribute from Apna Art Adda to this inspiring artist.

M D Parashar working on a wildlife painting for Save Our Tiger Telethon on 15 July 2012 Image Credit: M D Parashar FB

Born and brought up in Rajasthan’s Ranthambore area, he graduated from the Rajasthan School of Art. He is often considered as Ranthambore’s first son.

Other than his genius, his popularity comes more from the sense of pride he has kindled in the hearts of Ranthambore’s people.

M. D. Parashar’s ‘Tiger Eye’ Painting Image credit: M. D. Parashar FB Page

His upbringing happened in a town that flanked the Ranthambore National park. That’s why you see a lot of influence on the subject and medium he has chosen.

His passion for his birthplace, its inhabitants, and the wildlife inspired him to establish Ranthambore School of Art and Wildlife Conservation Society.

Ranthambore School of Art and Wildlife Conservation Society. Image Credit: M D Parashar FB page

Most of the Ranthambore receives vocational training from this school and provides them livelihood.

The word ‘fee’ is taboo to all the 400 art students trained here every year.

Despite being honed under the greatest art scholars, he has managed to keep himself and his art grounded, modest, and genuine.

Interestingly, Parashar uses only soot or lampblack and a newspaper as a nib to create stunning artworks of his preferred subject – The Tiger!

M. D. Parasher painting with paper nib and soot. Image Credit: M D Parashar FB Page

For a place where his people lack easy access to sophisticated art supplies, his style of using a medium from daily use objects come as a blessing.

Arrow Head, Ranthambhore, Soot on Paper, 12″x18″ Inch Image credit: M D Parashar FB Page

I am so delighted to share that Apna Art Adda has upgraded itself and has got a new look too. All thanks to your love and support.

Here’s the new link to Apna Art Adda blog.

Hope to see you there!

8 Success Secrets I learned from the First Indian Woman Painter

How would it feel to be born in the family of famous artists, writers, and painters?

That’s freaking awesome, you say? But, not really.

If we could just ask Sunayani Devi, an Indian painter, (18 June 1875 – 23 February 1962) born in Bengal’s most well-known aristocratic Tagore family, how it felt like to be part of the family that led the literary and artistic renaissance!  

Not always the family name helps. Especially, during the time when patriarchal mores dictated women to be confined within domesticity.

It didn’t help Sunayani Devi either. Women artists during that era were hardly recognized, in fact, conveniently forgotten.

Can you believe this? She didn’t even exist on Wikipedia until 2018?! That was only after the Art+ Feminism campaign that she was duly credited.

Well, it’s her birthday month! What else could be a better way to remember this inspiring woman, who after facing all odds managed to inscribe her name in the Indian art history in golden letters.

Untitled (Lady with a Parrot) by Sunayani Devi, Christie’s Image source:

Stay glued. I am going to share an interesting secret painting technique and 8 important lessons I learned from the First Indian Woman Artist.

But before that let’s find out more about this inspiring lady.

The First Indian Woman Artist to sign paintings!

Sounds weird? It’s common for women artists to sign their paintings. Alas, it was not that easy at that time.

Dr. Stella Kramrisch acknowledge her to be the first Indian woman modern artist who signed her paintings. She commented

Her pictures have no design for they have grown. Unbroken and unwavering is the flow of the lines, for no hesitation deflects them from the course they take as they wellforth out of her very nature; they surge in grave tranquillity and clasp groups and figures; they are forceful and languid, self-asserting and full of surrender; their curvature is the same which the passing breeze gives to the heavy ears of corn; all the warmth and light which surrounds ripe fields shines forth from these lines.”

– Dr. Stella Kramsich on Sunayani Devi’s art

Many believe she was competent enough to create her own school of art.

Lady Holding a Fan by Sunayani Devi, Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata, Image Source:

Gaining public recognition, her work was a part of the Society of Oriental Art exhibition held in Calcutta in 1922, along with the works of Kandinsky, Klee, and other Bauhaus artists.

Self-made Artist

Married at the tender age of 12 to Rajanimohan Roy (grandson of Raja Ram Mohan Roy). She started painting only in her thirties on her husband’s encouraging words.

Radha Krishna by Sunayani Devi, Indian Museum, Kolkata. Image source: museumofindia

She was a self-made artist who was often found taking a sneak peek into the studios of her brothers experimenting with different art forms and wash techniques.

However, it is fascinating to know that none of her work is influenced by the ‘Bengal School of art’ started by her brother Abanindranath Tagore.

She developed her own style! And see, her art is so significant that she very well contributed to the modern art in India.

Following a strict regimen

Discipline bridges the gap between goals and success.

Lakshmi by Sunayani Devi. Medium: Wash and Tempera on Paper, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi (Source)

She always maintained a strict regimen, starting her day at eight in the morning to twelve, and then from afternoon three to four-thirty. 

Varied inspirations

She was the first Indian artist to visit Patachitra village to find her inspiration. Her two main inspirations were village clay dolls adorning urban homes and Kalighat pats.

Most of her works reflect the Pata art – the elongated half-closed eyes portraying the divine beings, and long eyebrows with fish shaped eyes for royalty. These finer details made her work unconventional and contributed significantly to the art world.

Milkmaids by Sunayani Devi, Tempera on paper, National Gallery of Modern Art, Bengaluru (Source:

As a child she was quite fascinated by devotional prints of Raja Ravi Varma hung in her aunt’s room.

Later, she was inspired by the Rajput miniatures and Abanindranath’s water colours. Some historians say her work was influenced by ‘hieratic quality’ of ancient Jain paintings.

Her innerworld

Most of my paintings, I have seen in dreams – After seeing them I have put them down.

– Sunayani Devi to her Grandson

If you see, most of her works are stereotypical to the women of that era.

She reflected the Indian woman’s ‘domesticity’ on her canvas – their pensive moods and their solitude.

Just look at her “Radha”, “The Votress”, “Village Maid”, or “Mother”, how aptly she represented the life of the Indian woman. Probably, it is for the first time that Indian painting were seen through a woman’s perspective.

The creative intelligence guided her

She didn’t plan her paintings. Yes, she just allowed the creative intelligence do its work – flowing through her.

The Art Historia Stella Kramrisch says that Sunayani’s paintings grew organically, gushing out of her very nature.

Krishna consorting Radha in a guise of a gopi by Sunanyani Devi, Watercolour on Paper, Indian Museum, Kolkata (Source:

She didn’t care how her art will be judged, or how much it is worth. This is quite evident when you see her artworks painted on both sides of the paper.

When she tried painting consciously she often lost her delicate touch. For Kramrisch, this was not her limitation but her strength – a form of innocent grandeur.

Influenced famous artist Jamini Roy

She is credited to bring folk art to the modern Indian painting scenario. Well, that’s how you see Sunayani Devi’s art influence in the famous artist Jamini Roy’s work!

Painting by Sunayani Devi, Watercolour on paper, Indian Museum, Kolkata (Source:

Art historians say that the style developed by Roy and Sunayani Devi have lot of similarities with the intellectual outlook of European modernists, like Gauguin or Picasso.

But, they are yet to determine if they were really influenced by these international art movements in any way.

Time for her secret painting technique

As promised here’s her unique painting technique described by Partha Mitter in her book:

“Sunayani first drew a red or black outline with brush on paper, which was then filled in with watercolours prepared by herself and applied with a thin paintbrush. She then dipped the sheet into a circular drum of water allowing the colours to be absorbed by the paper. The wash was used as a continuous process through which the form emerged without taking recourse to drawing. She firmed up the outline with the brush once the hazy shapes started emerging out of the washes, the washes themselves investing her works with a delicate hue.” 

P. Mitter, The Triumph of Modernism, India’s Artists and the Avant-garde, 1922-1947, New Delhi, 2007, p. 40
Painting by Sunayani Devi, Indian Museum Kolkata (Source:

She further adds

“Her naïve work was singled out as a continuation of the ‘simple’ art of the Indian village, a contemporary expression of authentic India. The modernist discourse of primitive simplicity and the nationalist discourse of cultural authenticity come together in the image of Sunayani Devi as a nationalist artist.” 

( P. Mitter, The Triumph of Modernism, India’s Artists and the Avant-garde, 1922-1947, New Delhi, 2007 , p. 43)

Departing the Art World

They say in 1935, her loyal admirers curated an exhibition at her home, probably last public exposure to her artworks.

In 1940s, her family went through a series of adversities. She completely lost vigour when her husband passed away, departing her from the art world she served for 15 years. But, her art lives on to inspire artists like us.

Untitled by Sunayani Devi, National Gallery of Modern Art, Bengaluru (Source:

My Key take aways

  1. Stay glued to your passion despite all odds and emerge with flying colors.
  2. At whatever point your art career is today, it is never too late to create that immortal masterpiece.
  3. Allow creative intelligence to flow through you.
  4. Be inquisitive and always on toes to learn anything new
  5. Don’t worry about your art being judged or how much it’s worth. Stay focused and keep improving.
  6. Trust yourself and take a leap of faith. You never know you might end up creating a history.
  7. Paint what you want others to see. Not the other way round.
  8. It really doesn’t matter where you come from. Where you lead yourself, matters.


Insecure about your ART? 11 Easy Ways to gain confidence back

Guess, what is the most heart-wrenching thing about social media these days?

You keep scrolling and taddaaa! 

You stumble upon a groundbreaking work by fellow artists and the ‘insecure-bug’ resurrects!

It stealthily crawls inside your brain and gobbles down all the possible confidence you gained doing art.

What more? It poisons you with torturous self-doubt and bashful self-criticism, pushing you into an interminable pit that engulfs you with dread, never to make art again. (creepy!)

“I am not good enough. I will never be able to achieve that level of excellence. They have better resources. Oh! They can do it because of their formal education in art. I don’t know enough. I am good for nothing. My art is no good. I don’t feel like painting now. I will start tomorrow…blah blah”.

CAUTION: If you are doing this self-talk, the insecure-bug has rolled up its sleeves in your head. 

Hmm… let’s check how much impact it has made.

Here’s a checklist I have made to help you self-analyze and identify negative emotional patterns this bug is creating and help correct them.

(It is funny how we see these patterns in others and fail to see them in our own selves.)

So, here we go!

  • You criticize or find fault in others work
  • You find it difficult to accept constructive criticisms
  • You see every other artist as your competitor
  • You always wonder what others have to say about your art
  • You feel upset if someone doesn’t appreciate your work
  • You rely on external factors such as income, degree, awards, etc. to decide your self-worth

Are you guilty of ticking all the points above?

Cool down. It’s OKAY. 

Stop feeling guilty about it. It is but natural and quite common. 

So, what’s the solution?

What should you do when insecurity, self-doubt or fear engulfs you.

Following tips will help you to correct these emotional patterns and experience a bounce back!

  1. Distance yourself from social media until you gain confidence back. I know social media is important for an artist. Staying away for a day or two will not harm.
  2. Just ignore it. I know that insecure-bug is eating you, demotivating you, and lowering your self-esteem. Pull yourself out before it swallows you. How? Simply divert your thoughts.
  3. Do something other than art. Stroll around, grab that old guitar and play some tune, cook something today, or just do anything that cheers up your mood.
  4. Look at ‘not so’ good art. Not to make you feel better, but to feel inspired. Look how the artist is not being harsh on themselves and their art. It needs courage, indeed.
  5. Look at what you have other than art. You have eyes that can see the beautiful sun setting behind the trees. You have a roof and a bed to rest peacefully. A true artist is the one who is able to appreciate life!
  6. Step back and ask yourself why you are making art in the first place. Is it to please everyone around? If your art is made from the viewers’ perspective then, you must rethink. Art is the window to Artist’s own world for the viewers to see and not otherwise.
  7. Cry it out if you want to. It doesn’t make you weak. Guys out there – “Mard ko dard nahi hota” (Men don’t feel pain) is not real! (Apologies, Big B fans :P) Honestly, it is a natural way of our body to release that negative emotion. But, put a limit to how much you sulk.
  8. Meditate. Believe me, it really helps. It is a great way to recharge yourself and improve your creativity levels.
  9. Comeback to your art and find a lesson, once you feel better. I know you don’t want to look at your art. But, dare and look at it. Find out why you are not happy with it and work on it. Don’t throw it away. Keep it. It will inspire you someday, I am sure.
  10. Improve your skills. You see the other artist is good at something which you are not. Instead of sulking about it, why not learn it? That adds a new feather to your cap!
  11. Set small targets. Trick your brain into taking action by setting small goals. Say “I will sketch only for 5 minutes.” When you actually achieve the target, it makes you feel good about yourself.

Before closing, another bonus tip!

It is okay to feel low when you come across path-breaking art.

We all deal with it. So, what makes the difference?

Let me give you a simple example. Do you really think McD sells the world’s best and yummiest burgers? (I know your answer :P)

Yet, you see their outlets all across the globe. Why?

Because Richard and Maurice took ACTION. Don’t think too much. Take the first step and everything else will follow.

If you know any fellow artist who does amazing work and suffering from low self-esteem or lack of confidence, then this is the time to help them out.

Quickly, share this blog post! You never know, you could be the reason for their most needed bounce back!

4 Easy Ways to Price Your Painting

Pricing the artwork?! It is a NO-NO topic. We artists feel better working with our brushes and paints, rather than talking about money, don’t we? Initially, I often priced my painting lower, feeling sorry that the buyer has to spend so much. (Facepalm! Crazy Empath, you say?!) My lesson – don’t price based on emotions, you will end up with peanuts.

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The Story of the most Powerful Ancient Indian Text —The Great Goddess Battles the Demons

In the hill state of Chamba, back in the eighteenth century, a huge event was organized. They say a huge number of priests came together and recited the Devi Mahatmya 100,000 times when the Mughal authorities imprisoned their ruler.

Do you know there exists a palace called Akhanda-Chandi (continuous recitation of the Chandi text) in remembrance of the event?

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Devi Mahatmya with Mughal brush!?— The Great Goddess in Chamunda form

Just look at the engrossing image of the Goddess and you see how the artist successfully manifested her exterminating powers.

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Is she the Goddess of One of the Finest Painters of Guler? — The Mysterious Devi Diagram

This mysterious Devi diagram was found with Nikka, son of Nainsukh.

But, who was Nainsukh? Why is this Devi Diagram mysterious?

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How did Kripal conjure up this Masterpiece? The story behind ‘The Devi Rides in State’

Mind and words are powerless
to encompass your glory
whose extent is as immeasurable
as that of cosmic space.
The myriads of galaxies
you set in motion
move with precipitous speed.
Were earth to be split into atoms
and set them end to end
that immense distance would be equal
to that which you have placed
between universes.
O beautiful One, I extol you as Kali!...

These were words were written by Poet Subramania Bharati to invoke Mahashakti.

Like many others, he tried to capture the vision of the Divine Goddess, but for a true devotee, she is indescribable, immeasurable, and elusive.

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The Goddess Saraswati Enthroned

While I was cleaning my workspace, I stumbled upon this tome again. As usual, I stopped doing what I am supposed to and grabbed this book to simply turn the mesmerizing pages.


How could I possibly miss sharing this interesting information with my readers!

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