Chulha as part of rural life painting

Chulha painting – 1 by Chitra Vaidya, Watercolour & Charcoal on Paper, 14 x 10 inches (rural life painting depicting traditional cooking in Indian villages)

Each of the chulha painting or rural life painting by artist Chitra Vaidya is part of a series on chulha or cook stove which is commonly used for cooking in homes in rural India. Chulha (cook stove) has been used for traditional cooking in a large number of homes in rural India. Dried cow dung cakes and wood is used as fuel for this method of traditional cooking. The quality and the taste of food is considered to be better when cooked on a chulha. The original paintings shown in this blog post have been sold. These were picked up by an art collector from U.S.  Limited edition prints of these paintings will be available at Indiaart.

Chitra Vaidya on her Chulha painting

Chulha painting – 2 by Chitra Vaidya, Watercolour & Charcoal on Paper, 14 x 10 inches (rural life painting depicting traditional cooking in Indian villages)

I found the theme of ‘Chulha’ very interesting to paint. These have been an integral part of every home in rural India for centuries. These are thus an important part of daily life and culture. A chulha creates a wonderful atmosphere consisting of bright yellow orange flames, smoky surroundings and a handa (traditional metal vessel). This makes it a very interesting composition to paint. I used watercolours and charcoal as a medium for each chulha painting. I decided to use charcoal, as I thought it to be the most appropriate medium to show the handa or the metal vessel black in tones.

Cook Stove

biomass cook stove is heated by burning wood, charcoal, animal dung or crop residue. Cook stoves are commonly used for cooking and heating food in rural households.

Chulha painting – 3 by Chitra Vaidya, Watercolour & Charcoal on Paper, 10 x 14 inches (rural life painting depicting traditional cooking in rural India)

Nearly half of the world’s population, approximately 3 billion people, use solid fuels such as coal, wood, animal dung, and crop residues for their domestic energy needs. Among those who use indoor cooking stoves, the poorest families living in rural areas most frequently use solid fuels, where it continues to be relied on by up to 90% of households. Households in developing countries consume significantly less energy than those in developed countries; however, over 50% of the energy is for cooking food. The average rural family spends 20% or more of its income purchasing wood or charcoal for cooking.

The urban poor also frequently spend a significant portion of their income on the purchase of wood or charcoal. Deforestation and erosion often result from harvesting wood for cooking fuel. The main goal of most improved cooking stoves is to reduce the pressure placed on local forests by reducing the amount of wood the stoves consume, and to reduce the negative health impacts associated with exposure to toxic smoke from traditional stoves.

(source : Wikipedia)

See paintings by artist Chitra Vaidya

Collage paintings of Himalayas by Chitra Vaidya