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Araash Fresco Painting: A new identity with pops of colour

The euphoria of a discovery that eventually summarises the very purpose of one’s work is difficult to express. If we’re fortunate, we experience it, and life is never the same again! Probably Muirne Kate Dineen, a colour artist from the UK, felt the same way when she discovered Araash. Wondering what Araash or Jaipur Fresco Painting is?

Araash – the technique

Araash or Arayash as it is widely known, is an Indian “wet process” fresco painting technique that originated in Rajasthan. It involves application of many layers of ground marble dust, and slaked lime blended with pigments. This is essentially a way of finishing walls and floors and giving them a high polished sheen. A cheaper substitute of marble, the surfaces stay cool in summer and warm in winter. Locally sourced, sustainable material – what can be better than this?

This technique was practiced in Amer, Jaipur, Shekhawati, Aiwar, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Nagaur, Kota, Bundi, Uniara and other close-by places. The pigments are applied to wet plaster, also referred to as the fresco-buono method. The process involves application of 18 layers of marble dust and lime, into which the pigment is ground. The finishing of the last layer involves beating the pigment into the damp surface with a burnishing tool meant to give the surface a smooth shine! What a labour intensive process!

Araash – a new identity

Muirne Kate Dineen celebrates the visual language of colour as is evident in her ‘works of art’ –  be it the architectural collaborations or the Araash sculptures and installations. Having learnt the art from Gyarsilal Verma, one of the last surviving practitioners of Araash, she has customised the practice to suit her work, although the principles remain the same. Her work has won her many accolades. Are you ready to be spellbound while exploring Araash and the breathtaking work of Muirne Kate Dineen? Here goes…

Tools and the process
tools_araash

Tools for the Fresco process

 Colour grinding and mixing pigments with slaked lime

Sculptures and installations

Installation in London

The Lingam Series 

Sitework

The Red Araash wall – Indigo restaurant, Mumbai

The Ultramarine blue and mustard yellow  walls at Indigo restaurant, Mumbai

Kate Dineen in her studio. Image source: the guardian  

Kate’s story is inspirational and tells us that following your passion creates joy inspite of the sheer effort one needs to put in.

You can get in touch with her at :

  • Email : info@muirnekatedineen.com
  • Telephone: +44-7971 884018
  • or at Chandelier Building, The Light Factory, Studio 6/7, 6-12 Scrubs Lane, London NW10 6RB
Want to learn Jaipur Fresco Painting yourself?

You could learn this technique from the masters themselves or, attend courses organised by organisations such as Banasthali University. Click here to read more about the courses offered.

Learning about this ancient Indian fresco painting style has intrigued me enough to further explore sustainable techniques of painting and construction. I would love to touch, feel and see an Araash wall or product to revel in the magic. What about you?

XO, Nupur

All images: Muirne Kate Dineen website