I’d been wanting to do my pregnant self-portrait for sometime now. Today was the day. It’s not a portrait really but it’s symbolic – at so many levels. Thank you to the leaves of the Sheesham tree that triggered a vision within me. The leaves – when I laid them out between pages of a book to press and dry, I saw how they looked like my growing belly and the womb and my baby within. The apex of the leaf seemed to look like the birth canal and I knew that moment what I’d like to sketch…
So, check out more pictures – of the art as well as of the Sheesham tree – complete with its fruit, bark et al. Also, a quick peep into my mind when doing the art.
Leaf is Life
The art is self-explanatory, I think. Yet, if I’d to share my thoughts with you, I felt that the leaf is representative of life like nothing else is. It’s the leaves that provide food for the tree by conducting photosynthesis – the life-giving process in which the leaves take in sunlight, water and carbon dioxide and turn it into chemical energy, sugar and oxygen.
Womb – the Nurturer
When a woman is set to become a mother, every cell, every function in her body channels all its energy to make sure her womb provides a safe haven for the growth and well-being (physical and spiritual) of the baby. This is what the leaves do too – they provide the fuel (by the power of chlorophyll) for the tree to carry out its activities.
Womb – The Sacred Feminine
The womb is where the connection between the mother and the baby develops. It’s where the baby connects with herself/himself. And, the womb sets the stage for the baby’s connection with the rest of the universe – from which the baby came and of which he/she will be a part of. Just as the leaf came from the tree and its the leaf that makes the tree complete.
I could write for ever on this. It’s so close to my heart – this philosophy of conscious and holistic pregnancy.
For now, I’ll go back to the tree that inspired this art. The Sheesham tree, which is the Indian Rosewood.
As per my field guide – Trees of Delhi, Sheesham is a large tree from river banks in the sub-Himalayan tract, with stout branches supporting an extensive crown. Often crooked in Delhi, where it is only medium-sized.
The leaves of the Sheesham have 3 or 5 leaflets set alternately on the common leaf stalk. The leaf stalk tends to zigzag between the leaflets.
Sheesham is one of the finest all-round timbers of India – the nut-brown heartwood is hard, heavy, strong, elastic and very handsome.
So, thank you, Sheesham for today’s inspiration.
If you missed my previous Leaf Art, check out here: