The leaf art I share today has been really close to my heart for I not only sketched the leaves but also glued real leaves that I’d collected and pressed between book pages a few months back. As such, Peepal leaves are so beautiful and artful that I can never get enough of them. Their fine vein network, especially, is a delight to sore eyes.
Check out today’s art and the process (it’s been pretty interesting to work!) and the Peepal tree pics from my neighbourhood and read some interesting tid bits about the tree itself.
Today’s nature walk filled my heart and lungs with joy and positivity -really. After a terribly hot, humid and wind-less day yesterday, the rains uncovered cool and gentle breeze, shining green hues and chirping birds across the blue sky. Wow! What a serene atmosphere it was. I was smiling in my heart looking up at the flock of birds flying hither and thither.
Add to that joy, I took a path during my walk that revealed a large variety of trees. It was a really green area filled with all kinds of trees, wildflowers and birds and was away from the city’s noise and glares. I’m really looking forward to exploring each and every tree in that stretch.
Coming to today’s inspiration – the Peepal (also called bo tree, sacred fig, peepli), this is what the naturalist Pradip Krishan – author of Trees of Delhi has to say:
A large, much-revered (in India) strangler fig lacking aerial roots. Trunks of large peepals are often fluted and sinewy. Its glossy, long-tailed leaves hanging down from extended leaf stalks are distinctive and clatter noisily in the slightest breeze. Trunks of large peepals are often fluted and sinewy. Its glossy, long-tailed leaves hanging down from extended leaf stalks are distinctive and clatter noisly in the slightest breeze.
Today’s art was quite process oriented for me – it being a combination of sketching, using external bits (the leaves) and embellishing with the 3D acrylic colours (I used metallic shades of gold and copper and pearl – by Faber Castell outliners). I had decided during the nature walk itself that I’d dig out my pressed Peepal leaves and incorporate those in the art. Thankfully, I found some nicely pressed leaves in different sizes. Looking at them, I knew I’d have to use a bigger art journal than I’d used for the past three art pieces. So, today’s is nearly 30% bigger than the previous one.
Like the Banyan tree, the Peepal is much revered among the Hindus who venerate it as the female of the Banyan. Also, Gautam Buddha achieved enlightenment meditating under a Peepal tree and that particular tree came to be known as the ‘Bodhi Tree’.
You can see the religious and spiritual signs (clay lamps, incense stick boxes, red fabrics with gold lace trimmings) scattered all around the tree. Poor tree – the religious offerings that it gets piled up with can get bad enough to pollute and choke the tree. (Not a good idea to be a Messiah, I tell you. If only the Peepal knew this…)
Other interesting stories about Peepal’s sacred-ness:
A Peepal leaf is an essential part of the sacred thread ceremony, and at the laying of the foundation of a building – so sacred that Hindus are averse to destroy a peepal seedling, even when it lodges in the crevices of buildings, threatening to pull them down.
India sure is a land of contrasts and contradictions, isn’t she!
But then, this India, she inspires in her own inimitable ways, too…. :-)
If you missed my previous Leaf Art, check out here: