I painted this during the 1st lockdown in India in 2020 just as the Summer heat was notching up into the early 40’s. As a Northern Scot, even after all these years in Delhi, I find extreme heat challenging but when the amaltas trees (the Indian laburnum) burst into bloom in May, their golden boughs light up and lift the streets of Delhi out of their hot torpor. It’s a site every year that raises the spirits but particularly in this year of lockdowns. I watched the amaltas tree outside my studio window come into its sunshine bloom over the course of the weeks that I was painting this. Amaltas is, like so many trees in India, associated with the sacred- in this case both with Krishna (his flute, in some Tamil texts, is said to be made from the long amaltas seed pod) and Shiva (the tree is thought to be an incarnation of Shiva with the showering blooms adorning his locks). I think particularly during the 1st lockdown, this spiritual connection felt very apt.
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