Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tree-pruning man, study sketches

This is an amazingly brave and skillful person, mid 50-ish, thickly bearded, short and wiry. He has the agility of a monkey! I think he has zero % body fat - its all muscles, lean and honed to perfection for the kind of work he does. He prunes trees, that's his main line of work. At other times he sings and dances to devotional songs. He's quite articulate and uses his entire body to illustrate some point of argument regarding tree pruning. Like, the other day he was describing how betel nut trees can sway to extreme positions in a strong wind, without breaking. He was impersonating a betel nut tree while saying this.

Anyway, I had the opportunity to observe him at work and took some reference shots... all these sketches are on A3, using a variety of conte and hard pastels.

When the tree has plenty of clearance all around, or has grown in the wilderness, its much easier to chop off and indiscriminately drop branches to the ground. In congested urban areas, these poor trees must fight for space with myriad cables, wires, antennae and stuff. One careless chop, and a branch can take out the electric supply of the entire neighborhood! This man displays breath-taking skill in not only chopping off an errant branch with the utmost economy of motion, but also in slowly and precisely sliding the cut branch to the ground, avoiding all nearby structures. And to do this, he uses nothing more than a rope, which is rigged into a pulley mechanism with some other branch. I think he's an artist!

This is how he (roughly shown) ties the rope to the segment to be cut, at the top and the bottom, and then starts chopping closer to the bottom (arrow mark). When the branch drops, it remains suspended by the rope, without dropping on someone's head. Then he uses the makeshift pulley to precisely slide it down. I asked him if he's taught his children any of his skills, and he replied none of his sons can even climb a tree!


  1. Stunning sketckes Prosenjit, you should paint these, they have wide appeal.

    1. Tina, what a surprise... great honor to hear from you! Very good advice, I'm sold on it :) Thank you so very much. I hope you are well and not starving all that much :D


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