Tiger, tiger burning bright

Unique hobbies

Tiger, tiger burning bright

There are many who love painting and exploring nature with their strokes. And while Prunella Utarid does just that, what makes her stand out is her love for tigers and the elaborate paintings she has done of this majestic animal. Prunella worked on a tiger painting for the first time in 1979, for her late husband.

    “After that I got busy with housework. We also had a farm, so I would be busy with it. But it is recently, after my husband passed away, that I got back to painting,” she says. “I always liked to paint but it was just a pastime. It was my love for the animal that inspired me to stick to this subject and work on it, despite working on many other nature paintings,” she adds.

Though Prunella has never taken the hobby very seriously, she says that her passion and concern for the animal reflects in each of the frames. “From the age of eight, I was charmed by the striped beauty. I went to the zoo with my parents as a child. I went close to the animal’s enclosure and kept looking at the golden coloured majesty of it. Something about it just struck a chord with me. I fell in love with it,” she says.

She recollects how in her younger days, ‘shikaris’ would have to get a special licence to hunt tigers; she would pray desperately for the animal and its safety.

Her concern for this animal grew into art and she says she loves the time she spends on each work. “I spend almost a week on each painting. I have about 15 works which vary in size, from a frame which is nine inches by five inches to four feet by three feet.”

Prunella works on any medium. It could be anything from a drawing paper to a big canvas, according to the availability of the materials. “I work on them with oil or water colours,” she says.

What does she intend to convey through her works? “I want to create awareness among people about the animal. There might not be many tigers left for people to see in the future. I hope that through these frames, my grandchildren and the generations to come will know how the animal looked.”

Prunella hasn’t travelled much to observe the habitat of the animal, but she draws inspiration from photographs that her family and friends have shared with her. “I visited the Bannerghatta National Park to see the white tiger and captured its beauty in one of the works I did,” she says.

The pose of the big cat in each of the paintings is different. While one shows the animal relaxing, another shows it wandering in its habitat and then there is another one with the tiger and its cub.

Her love for the animal is so much that she also makes neck-ties with tiger’s head painted and the message ‘Save Me’ written on it. “This is my own way of creating awareness among people about the decreasing numbers of the animal. I gift them away and have been complimented many times on the same.” Her works were showcased at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in the City and in Mysuru in 2011. “But I don’t intend to sell them. My children want to keep the collection intact,” she says, with a smile.

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