I realised something last week, when I asked a question on social media about the content of this blog post. You wanted to know ‘me’. It both left me humbled and honoured. It also says a lot about ourselves.
I realised that we long for authenticity. No hiding behind made up images.
‘Me’, with all my imperfections and vulnerabilities, speaks more to hearts and lives, than all my achievements put together. So I gladly share the story of my art with you, in the hope that it will encourage and build, challenge and comfort.
I’ve never talked about this so publicly before, so please be kind as I share my journey. Here goes…
I grew up in India, where an academic career was so highly esteemed that all other artistic tendencies had to move out of the way. I remember painting with watercolours when I was 9 or 10 years old. I looked at storybooks and tried to copy those illustrations. I was even chosen to represent my school at a painting competition. But a fever on the day, meant that I didn’t participate.
Soon art was forgotten and completely buried and I trained to be a medical doctor. I got married and had children. My eldest was really good at art and I often wondered where she got that from!! Certainly not from me, I thought. Because by this time, it had been decades since I held a paintbrush.
After we’d had our last child, I was wondering if I should get back into medicine after the long break that I had taken to raise our young family. It was at this point that I kept having this sense of ‘using what was in my hands’ when I was at a meeting in our church. At the time, it made no sense to me whatsoever.
A few months later, I was still pondering these things in my heart. It was the summer of 2018. The children were painting and I decided to join in. When I started painting, I loved seeing what came out of that paintbrush. It felt like a part of me that had hibernated for decades suddenly came back to life!! And I hadn’t even known that this part existed.
Slowly over time, all the memories from my childhood came back to me, affirming to me that this was a good path to follow. Gradually, I realised that I wasn’t making up something new, but rather re-discovering something old, something that was a fundamental part of me.
Increasingly, I realise that my love of watercolour, my penchant for colours and sometimes child-like brush strokes originate from a desire to relive a lost part of my childhood.
I know this is deep, maybe even uncomfortable for some. But it’s so vital that we do delve into those hidden parts of our life and do a deep cleanse for our own sakes! My faith has played a major part in helping me process all of these thoughts in a healthy and wholesome way.
I am all the better and stronger as a person now, because of that. I am a better wife, mother and friend, because I dared to follow my heart.
I am mostly self-taught. I believe that has made me more passionate about what I do. There is plenty of wisdom in learning from teachers in formal education. But the heart of my art cannot be taught, it has to come from within. In a sense, I’ve worked on the centre of the wheel before I’ve got all the spokes in. It’s surprising, how I find those spokes in the most unexpected of places!!!
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done a few courses from artists whose art I love. It’s always good to be teachable. Youtube videos teach me so much! I’ve read books, some of them have been art-changing!! It’s a completely different approach to my years at medical school/university, but I believe it’s what fuels my passion. This path is not for everybody, but it has served me well.
Why did I decide to share and sell my art?!
At some point on this journey, I realised that what I make blesses others. What I paint, adds value to another person’s life. That ‘aha’ moment is what keeps me sharing art with people. And every labourer is due their wages, which is why I ‘sell’ the art I make. That’s my why in a nutshell.
Along the way, I’ve found the right people I needed at the right time. Like an artist community to belong to. The right mentors when I desperately needed them. The correct artist friends to walk alongside. The right collectors for my art. Needless to say, a super-supportive husband and family has been a key factor in my perseverance in the face of disappointments.
The journey has been full of twists and turns. The uncertainty has been the hardest to deal with, but they’ve certainly been eclipsed by the breakthroughs!!
I’ll end by saying this - adapted from one of my mentor’s quotes.
Don’t let what you don’t know, hinder you from doing what you do know and love.
If this spoke to you in any way, drop me a comment below and let me know!! Sending you plenty of cheers for the journey that you are on!!