The main theme behind this mural are the paintings of the Indian 19th Century artist Raja Ravi Varma. The client commissioned the mural for his house in Sri Lanka, and it needed to depict some of the characters from these paintings, along with the actual flora and fauna of Sri Lanka. I was keen on using traditional Indian architecture in the scene but as it’s location was a colonial building, it was decided to keep it in line with that. As Ravi Varma’s paintings are all traditional viewpoints and viewed straight on, I recreated them by taking photographs of models on balconies and worked from these as reference. This was in the middle of an English winter and I had to photograph the models outside to get the lighting correct. Many of the photographs were taken in the snow and it felt strange to adapt them to a tropical jungle.
The mural was completed in my studio in two halves o canvas. I’d worked out the whole composition very accurately, so that when I spiced it together on site in Sri Lanka, the spacing of the balustrades would be perfect.
I did quite a bit of research into the birds in the painting and the flora. Even the cuts in the lower branches of the palmyra palm are specific to a region in Sri Lanka.