Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Laughter of Pomegranates

Pomegranate  watercolor on Yupo by Meera Rao  9x8.5"

We have a small pomegranate plant in our back yard.  The flowers and fruits are bright red and beautiful. Unfortunately, the fruit from our tree though is not sweet and last year I juiced some and froze them in ice cubes. I use a cube or two when I want to add some sourness to dishes. The juice is a beautiful red but when cooked doesn't retain the luscious color turning rather drab. We don't put any pesticides on the plant and  the fruits ripen naturally so have lots of texture on them! 

Pomegranate is considered to have lots of medicinal values. Everyone knows it to be an anti-oxidant. I am most familiar with a preparation of the dried skin cooked, and ground into a paste with a little bit of coconut and buttermilk used as remedy for diarrhea and other stomach ailments.  Of course Grenadine syrup used in cocktails is from pomegranate :)  Check here for more on the wonderful fruit. 

The references in art and literature are plenty too, full of symbolism as well -- one quick Google search for images in art came up with wonderful selection too! 

Its not pomegranate season yet -- the plant is only now slowly and barely coming back to life after a long cold winter.  I used a few photographs from last season and my memory of handling them while juicing.  Also I buy the fruits often - love peeling the it slowly, loosening the seeds with its juicy red pulps and eating them fresh or using them in salads etc. I Love the red stains on my hand from the squirting juice too :)

I was happy to see that Yupo was the right surface to bring out the textured red on the fruit. I really enjoyed painting the sun dappled fruit free and loose, full of texture :) 

Here is a poem by Rumi to savor:

The Laughter of the Pomegranates:

If you buy a pomegranate,
buy one whose ripeness 
has caused it to be cleft open
with a seed-revealing smile.

Its laughter is a blessing,
for through its wide open mouth
it shows its heart,
like a pearl in the jewel box of spirit.
The red anemone laughs, too
but through its mouth you glimpse a blackness.

A laughing pomegranate 
brings the whole garden to life.
keeping the company of the holy
makes you one of them
Whether you are stone or marble
you will become a jewel
when you reach a human being of heart.

Plant the love of the holy ones within your spirit;
don't give your hear to anything
but the love of those whose hearts are glad.
don't go to the neighborhood of despair:
there is hope.
Don't go in the direction of darkness:
suns exist.

The heart guides you to the neighborhood of the
saints;
the body takes you to the prison of water and earth.
Give your heart the food of holy friends;
Seek maturity from those who have matured.

~Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi 

12 comments:

Katherine Thomas said...

I love reading your posts, Meera, because you share so much about the painting as well as the subject you have painted. Your portrayal of the fruit is exquisite. I really admire the coloring and the way you did the highlights and shadows and made the piece so vibrant and lively. The information and poem were a bonus! I only tried a pomegranate one time... it tasted good, but my whole kitchen was covered in juice after I finished cutting the pomegranate!

Meera Rao said...

Thank you Katherine! I love pomegranates :) and I was disappointed that the ones growing in my backyard are not sweet ! Its funny that when I start painting and then writing my blog I start wondering about my subject matter and go surfing. Then I love to share what I find. I think I paint better that way knowing about what I am painting

Sadami said...

Dear Meera,
Your paintings and drawings make viewers happy. Me, too, love a pomegranates and sketched it opened a mouth. The poem is lovely. Thank you for sharing them!
Best wishes, Sadami

padmaja said...

The way you painted your pomegranate is very beautiful Meera, the color and texture is awesome!
We had a tree in our older house too, it is a pleasure to have one in your garden, no matter how it tastes,
If it is not sweet, it tastes divine with uppu Khaara!
Also with mosaranna:-)

Meera Rao said...

Sadami, Thank you very much! I want to paint an open one too --may be next time I have pomegranate I will :)

Meera Rao said...

Thanks, Padmaja :) I didn't know about uppukhaara --will try it next time! mosaranna with pom seeds is a favorite :)

Carol Blackburn said...

Beautiful post, Meera. Thanks for the wonderful information about the pomegranate and the poem, too.

JANE MINTER said...

meera i'm so glad to find your wonderful pomegranate ...beautiful textures ..thankyou for visiting my blog .... i will try making some ice cubes :)....sounds good ... rumi poem is so very beautiful.

Meera Rao said...

Thank you Carol- happy that you liked the post !

Meera Rao said...

Jane, I return the sentiment :) Glad you liked the info, painting and the poem !

Crystal Cook said...

This is so beautiful Meera. An I think you were exactly right about the yupo, but then you always do such beautiful works on that surface. :) And I had no idea about all the health benefits of pomegranates! And you have your own tree! SO cool!!

Introverted Art said...

oh Meera, this is so beautiful....

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