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 -
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
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.