Dol Yatra- The creative journey

What is Dol yatra?

Dol yatra or Dol Purnima is celebrated mainly in Assam, Bengal and Orissa. The concept and legend of Dol yatra is different than Holi. “Dol” means swing and “Yatra” means journey; while "Purnima" means full moon.

According to legend, Dol yatra begins the day after a full-moon night in the Bengali month. On that day, while Radha and her sakhis (female companions) were playing around a swing, Lord Krishna smeared her face with “Phag” or powdered colours. This is believed to be the first time that Krishna expressed his love for Radha. Dol yatra celebrates the power of love.

So on this auspicious day, men, women and children wear traditional dress. Women and little girls wear ornaments made of flowers. Everyone dance in the procession smearing colored powder or 'Abir' in Bengali. The procession proceeds forward with accompaniment of music.

How my idea started?

My idea for this illustration started with this photo shared by my Ma.

I started off with an initial composition exploration. I use 4H pencil so my sketches are not dark at this stage, just enough for me to see.

This is sketch of my idea

Then I explored how I can show Palash flower with few lines and in very small space.

The Ideaboard

I took screenshots of various images from Google to figure out the dress, colour and postures. I also referred works of one of my favourite artist Sudhi Ranjan Mukherjee whose Bengal School of art style I love. I took reference from my earlier works too.

Digital process

I transferred my sketch to computer. At this stage I blocked the shapes to find silhouettes and also figure out the overall balance in the image.
I didn't like the shape of the tree in initial blocking. It felt too overpowering. Also the shape of tree leaves and the diagonally opposite position on the colour blob felt repetitive.

So I tried out shapes and liked this shape.

Then I did colour blocking to find out the overall colour that I am looking for. Though I liked this palette, I felt it lacked contrast. So I retained most of the black hair colour in the final painting.

The final image


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