Ahungry peacock searches for its prey, in all its colourful splendour. A woodpecker picks at a worm that has fallen from a tree. A mynah drops food into the mouth of its young. A colourful kingfisher delightfully holds onto its prize catch.

These are pleasing sights that are getting rarer to find, and for artist D. Saravanan, it is these that form the subject of his water colour paintings, which are on display at the Kasthuri Sreenivasan Art Gallery.

“Having grown up in Kumbakonam, I have seen birds in their natural environment in plenty. Many of these birds are getting rare to sight in cities, as the trees are dwindling in number. We may not find any of these birds in future if we don’t preserve nature,” says Saravanan, who has a Masters in Fine Arts from Kumbakonam College of Fine Arts.

Your eyes shift towards another painting, where a boy is trying to release birds from a cage.

“It is in their natural habitat that birds are most comfortable in, and the boy realises this fact,” Saravanan explains.

The sandakozhi (battle rooster), which is used as a hobby sport by the villagers also makes an appearance in one of his paintings. There is a vibrant painting of an eagle holding on to a snake as its prey, the ferocity in its eyes being clearly evident.

It is village landscapes and temples which have caught the fancy of R. Ragu. The Airavatesvara temple in Darasuram, a town in Kumbakonam is the subject of three of his paintings. There is great attention paid to the different styles of architecture , clearly evident in the detailing. “I have visited these temples during my college field trips, and was always fascinated by the varying architecture of the temples,” Ragu says. The Virupaksha temple in Hampi and Brihadeeswarar temple in Thanjavur have also been recreated with great attention to detail.

There are green fields, buffaloes, farmers and lakes to add variety. These landscapes give the artist a sense of serenity. “Rural landscapes are easier to paint than temples, and give me much needed relief. There is plenty of greenery in Kumbakonam that we can recreate,” the artist smiles. It is not just paintings, but also sculptures that are on display. S. Balu has bent sheets of copper metal to create the serene face of Lord Buddha. There is also a lovely sculpture of a lotus, with Buddha meditating inside it. A lotus pond is made completely out of copper wires. “I have seen plenty of lotus flowers and ponds in Kumbakonam, which is why I decided to make copper metal sculptures of the national flower. Metal sheets were welded together to form the lotus pattern,” Balu explains.

The paintings are for sale and range from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 15,000. The sculptures range from Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 25,000. The exhibition is on till December 9 from 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.

For details call 0422-2574110.