SS22: Savory studio dispatch


I wanted to share some studio and life happenings with an interesting watercolor exploration coming your way.

The past month has taken me into small projects in and around the studio. We recovered from a COVID exposure so the dwelling has literally been in and around the garden which was a blessing because we never eat outside otherwise.

Other than that, I’ve been up to a handful of other things this month! It’s been busy, as you can read below!

If you have come so far, you should know that I had embarked on a project to redesign my website so I can share some of my projects, allow myself some sketchbook time and stay productive in the studio. If you ask me what the goals are with this space, I probably have nothing specific now but I’m sure with a potential digital landing space, it allows for a connection and other possibilities to open up! That itself is exciting!

I have been reading(books) a lot more that I normally do. I am revisiting some reading sessions with my son with the Magic tree house series. I’m reading ‘Motherhood, facing and finding yourself’ by Lisa Marchiano. See below some discoveries one may face through the book. I’m just seventeen percent in and I’m gaining so much insight. The other books are mostly pen and ink and painting reference books lying around my studio desk, quite fun those ones are!

I took a good long walk to explore a newly opened public neighborhood park. I spotted lots of interesting things among the community garden LEAF Fremont which has now officially been given prime street space to grow edibles in large containers. I am on a waitlist to see if I can get a bed to grow some fun veggies in the future.

I have my social media doomscrooling under control, thanks to screentime lock features on my phone. I have also uninstalled my work app on my phone (yay) which results in sending me to my desk when I’m fully ready to work and not while cooking and spending time with family! It’s going well the past two weeks, I must admit!

I took a creme puff making workshop with Hetal Patel of Milk and Cardamom. It’s safe to say that I’m going to enjoy making these crème puffs for more get together again soon!

Crème puffs, from scratch!

I have been exploring the line in my Brooklyn Sketchbook project which I will send to the Brooklyn Art library for a digital and analog archive soon! Will share the work subsequently in my project page around mid-August, watch out for a social media page turn with a fellow creative Nikita who I did this sketchbook with! Somehow, surprisingly we let each other accountable during this process! Lots to explore, learn and grow!

This then leads me to a much anticipated trip to Brooklyn in the fall for an exciting workshop. I am eagerly planning my trip to Brooklyn to be with my inspired mentors Ohn Mar Win and Samantha Dion Baker for a day long sketchbook workshop! yay! I’m sure to make significant improvements with that trip!

I took some time off to rethink life and relationship progress just as we enter another school year. Somehow it seemed like a significant sit down and ponder moment. I topped that off with a haircut! 🤣 but it feels a little liberating to allow healthier futures!

Okay! I re-read my post and now I feel like I am prepared to take on a new school year this August! Much has happened in July, just like any other summer season I suppose!

I’m navigating this post and wonder that this may come across as a list of things that went by, but some part of my brain likes to chronicle this as these lists in short paragraphs, if only to jog one’s memory!

I hope you enjoyed this! please let me know if you would like to hear more about anything else. As always, thank you for stopping by!



Finding my way home

In this series of paintings, I explore the following questions.

What is home? What happens at home? how do we create a home? What is the line between house and home? What makes a home? Where is home for me?

You get to preview stages of the painting process as a creative process and how my work evolves from the sketches to a full painting!

Part-2 of Finding my way home series – ‘city and home’

Banana leaf chronicles – SS20 and SS21

Here is the actual post about all things banana leaf in my artwork archive.

Banana leaf chronicles August 2020

Last year, I sat in California imagining the components of a full spread banana leaf meal, a classic South Indian spread, a culinary delightful adventure that calls to me every so often! it so happens that it called to me this week too!

See below for some chronicles from spring summer 21

Features Banana Leaf Chronicle SS’21

With this scene in the watercolor workbook, as many of you have been following along, I could not help go down to South Indian rice paddy fields, wrapped in a cotton podavai (saree) and hug a potted banana plant to bring with me everywhere I went. And this was just a nostalgic from the past week of watching so many Tamil movies, rearranging my sarees and thinking of elai saapad (banana leaf meals)

These layers of nostalgia are always with me, in my explorations and in my everyday thoughts. I am glad I found a venue to express them through art and am very grateful to have been given this gift of learning via the #watercolorworkbook by Sarah!

I’ve had such a blast creating this piece that I happily got lost in those folds and layers surrounding the potted plant! 😂 see below for some layer and process pictures!

Scene building – pen and ink render – banana leaf chronicles SS21
Layers and colors for banana leaf chronicles SS21
Layers and pen and ink

Hope you enjoy this piece as much as I did creating this piece! ❤️🙂

PS: if you have not gotten yourself one of these workbooks, I highly recommend it for any watercolor party you want to belong to! Head on over to @themintgardener ‘s handle to see the genius behind this beauty!


with gratitude
#watercolorstories #radindiscity #watercolorpainting #artistsoninstagram #imaginearuralsouthindia #sareenorsorry #penandink #watercolorcomposition #artistsoninstagram #watercolorillustration #asketchadaykeepsthedoctoraway #watercolorworkbook

Chalky palette and chapati’s

It has been two whole days since I painted and the palette colors are chalky and falling off! And I sat down to think what could be done to possibly prevent that from happening.

Then, I spend about five minutes in the kitchen thinking about it some more, while making chapatis. Then I cleaned up for the day, loaded the dishwasher and fed my boy!

Then I brought my supplies to the dining table and tried to drop large drops of water into the palette cubbies to charge the chalk and coax it into watercolor. I was tempted to look for my mister and water dropper, etc. to create paint out of chalky bits.

Exactly five minutes later I realized that the only way one could actually stop color from chalking in the palette is ….

By painting every damned day.

Simple and effective, right?

But then, life gets in the way!



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!



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.