Mysore painting is an important form of classical South Indian painting which originated in and around the town of Mysore in Karnataka encouraged and nurtured by the Mysore rulers. Mysore was under the reign of the Wodeyars and it was under their patronage that this school of painting reached its height. It is similar to Tanjore paintings in style, making use of thinner gold leaves and require much hard work. The most popular themes of these paintings include Hindu Gods and Goddesses and scenes from Hindu mythology. Mysore paintings are known for their elegance, muted colours, and attention to detail. The grace, beauty and intricacy of Indian Mysore Paintings is mesmerizing.
Painting in Karnataka can be traced back to its orgins since the ajantha times. The distinct school of Mysore painting evolved from the paintings of Vijayanagar times during the reign of the Vijayanagar Kings. With the fall of the Vijayanagar empire after the Battle of Talikota the artists who were till then under royal patronage migrated to various other places like Mysore, Tanjore, Surpur, etc. Absorbing the local artistic traditions and customs, the erstwhile Vijayanagar School of Painting gradually evolved into the many styles of painting in South India, including the Mysore and Tanjore schools of painting. The basic colors that are used in any Mysore painting are Red, Green and Blue. Colours are extracted from vegetables leaves and flowers. Earthly colours were also used to a large extent. Colour preparation was interesting process in which the artists themselves were involved. The painting is done in two coats. Starting with one color, the artist applies the same color in the painting where ever it is needed. Then the process moves on. In the place of gold,yellow colour will be applied ; later on cover it with slightly thick layer of Gesso paste. Over which they paste gold foil. Using a mixture of black Indian ink and poster color to reduce the glossy effect does intricate design on gold foil. After the painting is fully dried, it is covered with a thin paper and rubbed lightly with a smooth soft stone.
There are three Methods of paintings: Paintings with plain gold foil without embossing, with embossing and MakkiSafeda Work. Borders are compulsory in every painting and done in black and yellow color prominently. The artist highlights the main figures in yellow color mainly to differentiate it from the background.