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© 2017 by Poonam Athalye.

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Herbariums

Ongoing illustration project

This project is an extension of the 'Trees of the Deccan in stories'. As I was studying trees and parts of trees I came across the scientific, botanic way of preserving plants. These samples made of different plant parts are called Herbariums. They are used for observing, noting, classifying and later identifying various species of plants. It is especially useful in distinguishing the different subspecies of plants. Various discernible parts of the plants are delicately glued to the pages of large volumes of herbariums. Over time they dry out and become extremely fragile. The delicate and neat appearance of these samples inspired me to reproduce them as paintings. It is an exercise that forces me to observe carefully and sometimes recollect the little details of the plants I am working with.

Sometimes I work on the two projects simultaneously and the mediums used therefore remain consistent. For example the illustration above of the 'Baobab trees' which is found in maharashtra as a subspecies called Gorakh Chinch has been painted in high pigment 

acrylics on watercolour paper. Other times I use various materials like indigo dyes, liquid concentrated coffee and watercolour to get the desired effect. 

Jardin des plantes herbarium

Coloured with liquid instant coffee and indigo dyes