Lotus Plant Drawings: Botanical and Symbolic

Two Lotus Prints

Lotus Plant’ & ‘Lotus Pond with Tortoise’

by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

In preparation for the upcoming birthday of the Buddha, I have drawn two different views of a lotus plant. Much venerated in Buddhism, the lotus is one of the ‘Eight Auspicious Symbols’. It is also a delight to draw, as the textured leaves and petals of the plant encourage the kind of finely-detailed observation and drawing work that give richness and texture to an image.

For my first drawing, ‘Lotus Plant’, I researched and focused on all the interconnecting parts of the plant. Most drawings and paintings of the lotus concentrate on the flower itself; the next part, the stem, is submerged and thus often merely hinted at. And the roots, although many of us will be familiar with them as edible parts of the plant, are rarely depicted in art, since they grow deep in the muddy bed of the pond.

For a Buddhist, this concept of living in three mediums – mud, water, air – signifies a progression. The soul journeys from the muddiness of materialism, through the water-world in which we live and experience our daily, day-to-day lives, and thence beyond, to enlightenment in the ethereal world of light and air. That these parts are all connected, roots to stem, stem to flower, is reflected in my drawing.

My ‘Lotus Pond with Tortoise’ shows the flowering plant, partly in water, and blooming just at the surface. A tortoise, resting on a rock, looks up at the lotus. Such a bright and beautiful flower is an inspiration to all who see it, tortoise as much as human.

In Asian culture, tortoises are sacred. The longevity and tenacity that they symbolize seemed to me to be a wonderful way to celebrate what the birthday of the Buddha means. We need to live long and work hard to reach enlightenment. And if the ageing process is enlightenment in slow motion, as John C. Robinson describes in his book ‘The Three Secrets of Ageing’, then my combining of the symbols of enlightenment with those of longevity expresses this process.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Lotus (Botanical) at Etsy

Lotus with Tortoise at Etsy

 

 

3 thoughts on “Lotus Plant Drawings: Botanical and Symbolic

  1. Paula, it happens something so incredible and I don’t know how to describe to you my feelings right now when I look at your lotus drawing. Because… I am taking sketches for drawing a lotus plant, too! It’s for a logo that was commissioned. I just am taking a break from drawing, drinking some tea and then I think: “Oh let’s look if Paula did something new”, I opened your blog and… what I see it a beautiful lotus!!!!
    Again as other times, we are synchronized. ❤

    Like

    1. Sybille! How wonderful. Isn’t it remarkable? Next time when I am doubtful about my next drawing, I give you a call to learn what you are doing and therefore, what will eventually come to me as inspiration drifting, as a beautiful small white cloud, all the way from Italy to Ireland.
      I’m very eager to see your lotus drawing soon and I would like to add a link in my post to yours.
      Love,
      Paula

      Liked by 1 person

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