Fifth Meditation (2020)
Hand-prepared mineral colours on wasli
5 ½ x 10 ¼ inches
Notes on Process
April 28, 2020
This series of Meditations is a product of Cole Swanson’s ongoing practice in contemporary miniature painting and the harvesting, preparation, and application of earthen media. A two-time Shastri Indo-Canadian Arts Fellow, Swanson has undertaken several years of research into rarified methods of pigment production under the tutelage of master Indian miniaturist Nathulal Verma (Jaipur). In these works, a restricted palette of hand-prepared mineral colours has been applied to wasli, a traditional, multi-layered paper. The seven pigments comprised of iron- oxides, bone black, chalk white, red ochre, and terre verte green have been sourced from local and international deposits. Fine line work has been applied using the squirrel hair brushes (gileri qalam) favoured by Mughal and Rajput miniaturists. In these works, each mineral colour reacts to one another differently, generating a process-oriented and embodied image derived from the artist’s collaboration with natural materials.