thelovelybones: During the learning stage, the mahouts generally select the colors and determine when a painting is finished. They teach the elephants how to hold the brush, and a number of mahouts have also customized their paintbrushes, adding bamboo handles that are easier for the elephants to grip.

Elephant painting of the northern, or Lampang school tends to be lyrical and expressive, characterized by broken brushwork, curvilinear forms, and bold, clear, primary colors. In the central Thai, or Ayutthaya school, elephants and mahouts prefer darker, cooler colors such as deep violet, black, and forest green, which they apply with broad, vigorous brushstrokes that sweep across the canvas from edge to edge. Elephants of the southern, or Phuket school tend toward saturated tertiary colors like mustard, plum, and magenta, mixed on the surface of the paper with broad, gentle, curvy brushstrokes.

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