Fascinated by the blooms in Kerala, German Claudia Hiller has taken up the brush and painted them on canvas. An exhibition of her paintings is on at Thapovan Heritage Home

A native of Germany, it was an ailment in her joints that brought Claudia Hiller to the city a year and a half ago. “I came down for an Ayurveda treatment,” she says. Claudia, who was residing at Thapovan Heritage Home then, was introduced by Thapovan's proprietor, Andreas Heitmann, to Kerala's rich culture.

Fascinated by the dances, “especially Mohiniyattam,” Claudia decided to stay on in Kerala. She now stays in a rented house near Thapovan and is a regular attendee of Vylloppilly Samskriti Bhavan's various cultural events. “I scan the newspapers daily for events and make sure I attend them.”

Call of the garden

Apart from Kerala's culture, blooms keep Claudia rooted to the city. “Andreas has a beautiful garden at Thapovan that has a good collection of orchids. One day, while looking at the flowers, I had the overwhelming urge to paint and so I sketched a flower and then filled it in with water colour.”

And thus began her journey into finding the soul in each bloom. “Somehow, I feel that no two flowers are similar. Each flower I find here has its own stamp of individuality and I love the various hues of each flower.”

She adds: “I used to paint when I was young. However, painting took a back seat after marriage. Now, that my husband and son (18 years old), don't really need my help, I can do what I want – paint. They are back in Germany,” says Claudia who is conducting an exhibition of her paintings titled ‘Garden of Paradise' at Thapovan.

Her collection of 35 paintings are odes to flora. Hibiscus, lotus, orchids… all find space on canvas. Claudia's attention to detail is noteworthy, as one can almost smell and touch the blooms be it the framed yellow hibiscus or the lotus that is blooming in a brass vessel. ‘Garden of Paradise,' she says, is inspired by the flowers at Thapovan and Kuzhipallam Botanical Garden, Nellimoodu.

“Andreas, noting my interest in flowers, introduced me to Kuzhipallam Botanical Garden from where he gets most of his plants from. There are a lot of roses, orchids and flowering trees there. There is this tree with light pink flowers. One of its branches was more or less ground level. Captivated by the flower, I drew the branch with two flowers. The flowers seem to be floating on thin air,” says Claudia who when not painting does yoga and meditation. “Practicing yoga and meditation helps me while painting as I develop patience.”

Claudia's collection of paintings is on exhibit till January 23.