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!