My painters are skilled artisans in Jaipur who will spend up to two whole days working on a single pillow. Occasionally, one design will receive special attention: a lucky elephant gets decked out in a few extra jewels or a peacock gets a few extra feathers.
The painter begins by mixing his paints. He does this by hand, and as precise as he is, there are likely slight variations between batches.
The painter first traces the design with a pencil or a light brush. The outline is then made with the darker colors. The fabric we use to paint on does not absorb color easily; so, one has to go over the same line several times to get it right.
Then, the assistants fill in the various colors, again painting them in several layers to get consistency. If not, the ground fabric is visible. In some cases, the ground showing is good, but in most cases, it needs to be made opaque.
Finally, the master painter finishes each piece individually with all the highlights and the various shadings to give it that special look to it.
John and the master painter many moons ago when we started working together.