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pic1.jpg (22068 bytes)Radhikadevi Patwardhan's world, spills over with rioting reds, ornate oranges, springy yellows that cheerfully dance with earth tones, summer greens and serene blues - and there is still place for more. Well, if the lady behind the sensual, colourful kaleidoscope has anything to say about it, the colours of the rainbow would be hers for the taking! Meet the light-eyed Radhika then, the muse and the creative force behind Radhika's, a name that is synonymous with gorgeous Moghul miniature paintings on silk and cartridge materials; as also exquisitely hand-painted lampshades, lampstands and intricately hand-painted jewellery boxes that could go a long way to add that `little extra something' to your vanity corner. And whilst we are speaking about life's wonderful things, her hand-painted sarees, dupattas definitely have what it takes to add that artistic touch to your wardrobe. Or, the bedlinen in your babies' room could in all probability inspire you to have another baby - courtesy, Radhika.


What she `normally' does is putting her fabric paints or water colours to work on silk and cartridge material to brushstroke gorgeous Moghul miniatures. And yes, her unique creations were pretty well received and thus started her journey into the intricate and exquisite world of art. "The word spread around that I was doing these things. And soon friends started calling me up to do something `different' for them either on sarees or dupattas," she flashes one of her disarming smiles. About artists being temperamental...? It's all true. Just ask Radhika and she'll ruefully tell you how she is no different. Before she knew it, she was tiring of just creating `different' things on sarees and dupattas. She naturally looked for newer canvases to display her creativity. "I was beginning to feel saturated working only on miniatures - though that is my first love. I realised that if these pieces of mine were starting to get noticed and appreciated by my friends, then perhaps, I could try something more innovative?" So lampshades, ceramic bases or wooden blocks for lampstands, jewellery boxes became her playground for painting the town red. Once again they were hits. From here, her journey led her to children's rooms. Or, rather their nurseries. "I discovered I had a penchant for creating nursery articles. Whether it was bedspreads, pillow covers or even just Walt Disney cartoons to decorate their room - I could do them all," she says a trifle self-consciously. She discovered the world of thermocol to unleash her storm of creativity on." To be completely honest, I enjoy the freedom of trying out something new on different media," she reveals with candour.

The shy lady herself brushes aside the compliment with an embarrassed shrug and a disarming smile. "Painting has always been a part of my life for a long, long time," reveals the soft-spoken bahu of the royal Patwardhan khandaan. There cannot be many eyebrows raised here, considering that the lady has been strongly influenced by her artistically inclined mother. But how did the artist wind her way to the commercial circuit? "Actually, I have been doing it for the last ten years or so, on a quieter note," she smiles self-consciously. "My first exhibition was held at Shyam Ahuja's. So, I am already an exhibition old. It's just that with friends like Amrit Virdi who'd bullied me into using my paint brushes on the silk cushion covers that she'd designed not too long ago, that I decided to get more visual about my artwork. And do something more," she shakes her head ruefully. The `more' part came in when word got out amongst her friends that Radhika did a lot more than just dabble in colours. "Hmm. After a friend saw some of the stuff that I had done, she asked me whether I would be interested in designing something different for her bedroom in her new home. I was more than intrigued and took up the challenge of creating something absolutely different - Egyptian motifs - from what I normally do," she reveals, going back in time.

pic2.jpg (15497 bytes)Though this artist, who is a mother of three was making headway in her chosen path, the marketing strategies always alluded her.
She could never actually bring herself to market her creations on a full scale basis. Not because she lacked markey savvy or because she was a pushover. The steel shows through the layers of years of genteel living, when she, out of the blue, surprises you with a rather strongly worded declaration, "I realised that my work wasn't getting the kind of appreciation that it should. Look, I didn't need the money. But let's be honest, a lot of effort and time goes into creating these works of art. I spent at least a month or two on the miniatures and about an equal number of hours on the sarees or bedlinen. The first thing I was told is that they are `expensive'! For heaven's sake, if one takes a look at the miniatures or the other works, you'll see the amount of time and precision that has gone into creating them. So, excuse me, if I feel differently about just handing them over to just anybody!" Point taken. Her works of art that make pretty thoughtful gift items are directed more towards the Corporate sector or the affluent upper middle class, as they do lean on the trifle expensive side of the fence. Her miniatures are anything from Rs.1500/- to Rs.2000/- for the smaller ones. Whilst her hand-painted jewellery boxes are approx. Rs.450/-. And the hand-painted ceramic, wooden, earthen lampshades are ranged at approx. Rs.1400/-. As for complete sarees, which one must admit a lot of work is done on them, the starting price is anything from Rs.1500/- to Rs.2000/- and ah, yes! if you were to give Radhika a saree to work on they would be reasonably less expensive, say, from Rs.1000/- to Rs.1200/-. So, the next time you are on a gift hunt, maybe you could check out Radhika Patwardhan's collection which play with colours and has designs on you. For further information call Radhika at 634648.


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