Taking care of your Art or Home décor: Pattachitra Paintings
Pattachitra literally translated means a painting done on canvas. In Odisha, the usual themes are spiritual and often depict Lord Jagannath, Lord Krishna, Lord Shiva and other gods of the Hindu pantheon and stories of their lives as described in mythology. Please follow the simple steps below to maintain your Pattachitra painting or clean any other painting on canvas.
The canvas is usually made of cotton that is coated with a mixture of chalk and gum from tamarind seeds, thereby giving it a leathery texture and feel when dried. The colours used are mostly natural vegetable or earthen colours and a lacquer finish is given for protection.
After purchase, most connoisseurs frame the Pattachitra as is or with a glass cover. The glass covered frame ensures that there is no dust accumulation on the painting. However, those that are just framed allow the paint to breathe but also need a certain amount of upkeep due to dust.
The best way to care for a framed Pattachitra (without a glass cover) is as follows:
1. Take the picture (with the frame) and place it on a horizontal table for stability. Make sure that there are no areas where the paint is loose.
2. Use a soft brush or cotton cloth to slowly dust the picture. This can be accompanied by a soft blower (for example, use the rear side of a hair dryer on low).
3. Make sure that the surface of the painting does not get too warm from the blower.
4. Use a clean cloth (a clean handkerchief will do) for the basic surface area and use the brush near the edges where the painting meets the frame.
5. Once cleaned, stand the frame and gently pat the canvas from the reverse to ensure that all the dust gets out of the painted side completely.
6. Do not use water or any liquid in the cleaning and please be gentle.
7. Wipe the frame clean and affix your cleaned Pattachitra painting back in its designated space on the wall.
Some Pattachitra paintings are also done on Tussar silk and the same procedure can be followed for cleaning them.