This garden anniversary, I take a trip down memory lane to last summer

I want to share a special connection I found between gardening, urban walks which led me down the path of watercolor painting.

Around the same time last year, I was in the thick of building our victory edible garden. This plan came to us at a time when I was seeking a productive activity that would give me peace and hope, particularly at the most unprecedented time in the middle of a pandemic.

I fondly remembered the summers of my childhood, spending time outdoors, playing on the streets, making vadaam in our terrace and gardening in my neighbors home. I missed digging my fingers into the red soil (ಕಿಮ್ಮಣ್ನು) of Karnataka.

Well, I decided to just get on with my life in California and just go back to gardening in a bigger way than the dozen plants in my apartment patio.

I built an edible garden in the summer of 2020, after about four weeks and a thousand dollars short, we had two large edible planters to fill and begin our gardening journey in our new home.

This week we celebrate our Gardeniversary with many successes and failures in the garden but tons of memories with our family!

I remember reading a lot about edible gardens and victory gardens of the world war era and that it was making a comeback during the pandemic. It is human, for us to go back to self sustaining instincts when we are faced in dire straits. Anyways, back to last summer.

Each morning in the summer of 2020, my son and I would get out in the hot sun, go out for a walk to a nearby rose garden and bring back a new story. I would paint a found object and he would have something new to tell his dad, friends and grandparents everyday.

It became our ritual to go on these walks and watch the world go by. The uncertainty of the times we were living in and the marked differences in how we felt then and now is quite alarming. But we took it one day at a time, so to speak, trying to stay safe and healthy.

When we came back home from our walks or when I sat down to research about the next plant for our edible garden, I could not help make tiny sketches by the side of my notes, while drawing up plans and 3D views. Almost all classical gardening books were filled with botanical art and watercolors and it inspired me to dust off my Rotring pens & inks and watercolors from our garage and document sketches. Insofar, these sketches have been random, of found objects or of things I wanted to grow.

I soon got addicted to watercolor medium, and this website is a testament to my watercolor fun and all the other avenues of life it has opened up for me. While I wrote stories about my garden in social media, I usually had some photographs or a video of the process of what that looked like, narrating a visual blog of sorts, but it was too dynamic and fast.

I was seeking a recuse from the fast pace of life, I was seeking a slow time, one that allowed me to reflect and ponder into the depths of our world. I wanted to sync with the circadian rhythm of nature and how she has been able to go one every year tirelessly and grow and evolve beautifully from it.

I just wanted to move slowly and think deeply.

Has watercolor opened a new door into my world and my work? Yes!!!

Has watercolor opened a new door to my gardening life? Yes, indeed!

Has watercolor brought me joy? Yes, and I hope it brings you joy too!

Has watercolor brought me closer to the circadian rhythm of nature? I think we are slowly working towards that one, but I’m learning everyday.

Has watercolor and gardening been a boon to my sanity during a pandemic? Most definitely, a huge resounding Yes! Yes! Yes!

So here it is, a tiny reflection from last summer here for your preview. I am gratefol to all of you readers, who have sustained through my cultural explorations, my gardening love and art therapy posts on social media.

I’m contemplating, I repeat, contemplating to journal my edible garden on paper to follow the journey of not just harvests but of the flowers and sights in the garden that I preview everyday. And like many other projects, this one will take time to settle in and then comes scheduling and planning how it works with the rest of my life things!

I seek this space to sit at a big desk, and type and edit in my own time, without going into a 15 second attention span, but a long, slow, wholesome and complete process. Thanks for reading and riding along!

Lots of love this summer y’all!

Cheers,

Radha

Watercolor workbook and palette for #Worldwatercolormonth 2021

I’ve been happy to recuse myself to this palette this weekend! In celebration of world watercolor month, I have chosen to work on a watercolor workbook by Sarah Simon

If you scroll below, you can see for yourself the absolute joy it has been to share this beautiful weekend with this workbook.

In the beginning, I flipped through the sheets and was a bit hesitant to use this beautiful book as a workbook, but Sarah’s writing and step by step guidance nudges you into a world of fun and exploration in a way that is pure joy! It’s probably the most clean and organized color swatch cards I have of my paints! Kudos to this workbook.

Day 1: Paints on the palette, look at that glory!
Day 2: The adventure of paints and color mixing begins
Day 3 – Do not disturb this palette, artwork in progress

I bought the workbook in celebration of #worldwatercolormonth and I am chuffed that I did. I mean, it’s been just a few pages in and I’m having such a good time!

As a self taught artist, all my learning and growing comes only with experimentation and making mistakes. I grab every opportunity that leads me towards a space of learning and growing, and this workbook is one such example.

I also am part of local group of artists who gather every week online to be guided by a teacher / mentor about watercolor paintings, and it’s been endearing. We are all experimenting with our colors, learning and making beautiful pieces along the way! More of that later I guess.

The beauty of this workbook is that it already puts together a process in place for a nice clean flow of work that will become a beautiful collection of watercolor paintings by the end of this month and end of the book!

Day 2: Flexing the colors
Day 2: learning about wet on wet and and wet on dry technique
Day 3 of watercolor workbook art
Day 3: eucalyptus composition and those beautiful leaves
Day 4: Dahlias with a loose and fun floral technique
Day 4: Dahlia, the spills and some pen and ink texture
Day 4: Dahlia page side sketch

I hope to share more as I work my way through this book, I hope that you can ride along with me on this adventure.

Happy July the fourth weekend and have a good world watercolor month celebration.

Day 5: Another eucalyptus on Day 8 instead of Day 5 Because, you know, life happens!
Day 6: staying indoors in the crazy heat wave, staying hydrated and painting with watercolors
Day 6: cleaning up and loading a new palette, my hope is that it does not dry out too much! Let’s see!
Day 6: completed two pages and feeling awesome! Had a very productive watercolor day today!
Watercolor workbook sneak peak of just the first few pages
Day 7: it was a quiet Sunday morning of coffee and breakfast and watercolor! Perfect!

Cheers, Radha

Day 7: watercolor workbook sketch spread!
Day 8 came late: watercolor workbook
What day is it? It’s paint day!

A critical moment in my work was this morning. It was when the author of the workbook Sarah’s Simon shared my work on her page! Also, so much inspiration can be found on social media, particularly from artists, which is why I love Instagram and am truly grateful for the connections I have made there.

The Mint Gardener is Sarah Simon!
Painting on July 22nd was fruit blossoms
June 23rd Lupines
June 23rd lupines and it’s sketchbook page in pen and ink
June 23rd – Lupines, gladiolus and irises
Video of the gladiolus, Lupines and Irises
Month of Leo and Goddess Lakshmi
Story about the fisherwoman and Patru vada.
South India nostalgia
Still going strong and keeping no track of which day it is.

The picture above is the last but one composition and page for the watercolor workbook, it’s taken me so long to even get to this page, but it’s the work of everyday.