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Day 13 Leaf Art: The Story of the Mulberry Leaves, the Silkworm and the Indian Flag

leaf art zentangle water color silk

Today, I share a story with you – a story that the characters in my painting weaved.

I was short on time to do an elaborate painting and was tired too. So, I set out to do something simple – may be just one leaf, I had thought – to begin with. But, what can I say about the imagination that takes over and carries me with the flow and weaves a story worth painting.

So, the one mulberry leaf proliferates and becomes two and then three and four. “Okay, stop now; you can’t crowd my page“, I said. But, before I knew – out of nowhere – emerges the silkworm, to enjoy the happy feast. He munches away at that leaf leaving it bare and exposed. But the silkworm was doing something else too. He was spinning and painting his own art. He starts spewing beautiful, flowing silk all over my page. The page soaks up colours after colours turning resplendent in joy.

And then, I hear – “knock, knock, August 15 here.” “August 15 who?“, I ask absent-mindedly. “Indian Independence Day, my dear“, a calm, soothing, gentle voice responds. “Let me in so I can join this colorful extravaganza.” I open the page’s door and welcome the familiar hues of saffron, white and green. The Indian tricolours colours flow like water onto my page and make themselves home.

What a caravan it turns out to be! Indian flag merges itself and marches forward with the colourful caravan.

Check out some more pictures of the art and the mulberry leaves…

That was today’s art and the associated story, folks. Like I said, I started off thinking, “just one leaf” but the mind kept gaining momentum. I loved using water colours for the first time in this 30-day leaf art challenge so far.

Here’s a closer view of the painting in various parts:

leaf art nature zentangle mulberry leaves india

zentangle water color india independence day art

The leaves of the mulberry tree that have inspired this art caught my attention as soon as I spotted them. Their shape is so unique and the veins so pretty and prominent.

mulberry leaf art India

Other than that, I was flummoxed to see every leaf a different shape with irregular lobes. Some just plain oval. Wow!


The Mulberry tree (Morus alba), which is also called ‘Toot’ or ‘Shahtoot’ in Hindi and commonly called the Silkworm tree has leaves that are extremely variable in shape. As per Trees of Delhi – even the size varies from 5 cm long (common) to 18 cm! Some leaves can be deeply lobed. There are 3-5 veins starting from the base and the edges of the leaf are irregularly toothed – the teeth may be sharp, forward pointing, blunt or rounded.

The Mulberry is a modest tree with a spreading, irregular crown, sometimes cultivated for its fruit in Delhi but more often self-sown and growing untended in unplanned spaces. This is the silkworm mulberry originally from China but cultivated in India for so long that it has become naturalized.

So, thank you, Mulberry, for fueling my imagination. :-)

leaf art zentangle trees of India

P.S. And, here’s yesterday’s art – my symbolic self-portrait (baby in my womb) that was liked by so many of you on my Facebook page. Some of you emailed me and some called me personally to say how much they were touched by this art. Thank you, friends. I can’t begin to tell you how much I cherish and appreciate your encouraging words and comments.


If you missed my previous Leaf Art, check out here:

Day 1: Inspired by Saptaparni Leaves

Day 2: Inspired by Gulmohar Leaves

Day 3: Inspired by Banyan Leaves

Day 4: Inspired by Peepal Leaves

Day 5: Inspired by Yellow Bells

Day 6: Inspired by Jadi Leaves – Ficus amplissima

Day 7: Inspired by Kassod Leaves – Senna Siamea

Day 8: Inspired by Kashmir’s Chinar Leaves

Day 9: Inspired by Frangipani Leaves

Day 10: Inspired by Kaniar (Bauhinia purpurea)

Day 11: Inspired by Ashok Leaves (Indian Fir)

Day 12: Self-portrait – Inspired by Sheesham (Indian Rosewood) Leaves

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