Warli Art

Origin and Overview :

The Warli is an enthralling, earthy and soothing art form from the south-western part of India. Its origin dates back to 3000 B.C. The paintings depict the social life of the Warli tribe. The central theme of all the paintings is about the harmony between nature and man. The unassuming Warli figures tell us myriads of vivid stories. While ancient Warli art was created on the inside walls of village huts, modern Warli painting has moved onto paper, canvas, earthenware, wood, metal and more.

Characteristic Elements :

This art form uses basic graphic elements such as a circle, triangle, and square to represent the lofty principles of life in this universe. Forms of men, women, sun, moon, houses, trees, animals, birds, carts, ladders, pottery and musical instruments are built out of these very simple geometric shapes.

       Basic Shapes :

 Circle – Representation of sun and moon.

Triangle – Representation of trees and mountains.

Square – Representation of human possessions.

       Borders :

Find commonly used border patterns in the following illustration.

 Motifs :

Find commonly used motifs in the following illustration.

Getting Started :

Choose a medium such as paper, canvas or earthenware to paint on. Traditionally, Warli art was painted over clay walls using a white pigment made from rice paste and gum. To retain the rustic charm, use a background color of red ochre, indigo, terracotta, brown or black. And paint or draw on it in white. Pick a border and set the frame. Within this frame, create a scene using a combination of these soulful motifs.

Paint on paper using watercolors and watercolor brushes. Paint on canvas or earthenware using acrylic colors and acrylic brushes. Use a big flat brush for the background and a small round brush for the motifs. Make your designs with pencil first and paint over it with a brush.

To draw a Warli man, draw an X and connect the free ends. Finish with head, hands, and legs. To make a Warli woman, add a bun to the head. Similar drawing technique can be employed to create figures of animals and birds as well. Repeat the same to create intricate patterns.

In the modern day, Warli art can be adapted to adorn walls, lamp shades, pots, coasters, mugs, bookmarks, bags, cell phone covers, tablet sleeves, clocks, cards, and envelopes. This form of art reflects environmental consciousness and minimalism, reminding us of the simple joys of life. Enjoy creating this classic two-tone painting and let them pull at your heartstring.