My artistic journey – The Sunday Guardian Live

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You can find your passion at Fifty. It is not easy. If you search, you will find. Until then, the rhythm of life has made me bounce back – raising a family, balancing a career and then that phase of life comes to an end. It’s not sudden, but if you get caught in the flow you fail to notice the change. I never really stopped wondering what I would like to become. As I sat by the Lyngngam River, playing with the pebbles in the water while vacationing in Meghalaya, I had an epiphany: I wanted to become a river.
I really enjoyed the way he flowed timelessly oblivious to his focused and unstoppable surroundings as he moved forward, excited and charged. So what was this thing that could really set me on fire – this thing that I could dream of and help me experience timelessness. How could I find myself and shape the next twenty-five years of my life. This time around, I was sure I had absolutely no time to waste and I was armed with a conscience. I wanted to watch myself grow every day, enjoy every precious moment. I had to realize my potential.
Art had been a hobby in childhood. I had dabbled in a few paintings and formats while growing up. It interested me and I had tried to come back to it several times but it never really took concrete form. The paints have dried and the paper has yellowed. But the faint memory I had of mixing a palette of colors made me feel very alive. I wanted to reinvent myself. I didn’t want to feel limited. I decided to give myself a fair chance once again. This time, I made sure to invest the time. At first, I scribbled on reused loose paper, using leftover paint and old colored pencils. It forced me to think about my creative space at home – something I had never done before.
As I tried to extract old dried paint from tubes of cobalt blue and purple, I realized I had the chance to learn a new art form. So, I set myself a daily artistic goal. Now there was one result to measure myself against. As I did more, I got better. The goal became to improve, so I decided to put in a metric and create 500 working pieces in 90 days. Keeping an account helped me keep track of the amount of work I was doing. I had to learn the discipline of sitting on a desk and doing it all at once. It required me to focus and prioritize all the other activities in my life. Quality at this point was not important. Looking back now, I applied my Professional Quality training to my art which I could measure, I could improve myself. At that time, I discovered Pinterest through my daughter, A. Social media opened up a whole new world. Exposure to an art form I barely knew. There were a lot of people there, there were photographs and works of art to see – inspiration galore!
She also created an Instagram account for me and inspired me to post my work on this very visual platform. Initially, all she was doing was uploading my artwork. When I started looking at the work of other artists and interacting with them, I realized that I needed to invest in better art material. Much of my time has been spent finding art materials. I had to learn to invest in my passion if I wanted to improve.
Around this time, A insisted that I start posting my work myself and regularly, which meant I had to learn how to use the app first and then create content. This one thing became a big motivation for me to sit at my desk twice a day. So I had to plan a pipeline and then create for it. All my waking hours were spent trying to improve the quality of my work. So now I also had to focus on quantity and quality. Social media helped me build a universe and ecosystem where I could ask for and give help unconditionally. Fear and threat have been replaced with appreciation and kindness. And that energized me on my journey.
I understood that quality was a function of better art material and better skills. I was already discovering my tools but I also realized that I needed training and I booked myself for face-to-face classes in Spain, at the Alhambra. And then Covid hit and the world changed. Talk about how the universe supports you – the classes I was supposed to attend in person went online!
So the first lockdown became synonymous with attending online art classes. There would be a lot of planning at home as I would prepare to attend classes every weekend in the evenings. It has become the highlight of everyone’s life. Dinner was prepared in advance and housework was assigned so that I could prepare and attend classes. I have to admit I was nervous the first day of class because I wasn’t sure I could hold a three hour session – what if, I was unable to cope with the class, what if I didn’t. not art materials. The fear was real.
Long story short, not only did I complete the session, but took another set of classes over the next three months later in the year. I realize now that it was the passion for what I was doing that helped me improve. Continued practice has helped. I would spend countless hours creating art. There is value in my time.
Investing in me with patience and love bridges the gaps between my thoughts. So when I’m not creating, I’m researching and reading different techniques and art forms, looking for inspiration for my next piece of art. As I am brand new to watercolor painting, I am continually experimenting with paint and paper. In fact, many times now I dye my paper with tea water, onion peels, and even marigold petals (Diwali leftovers!). I always travel with my art tools and spend every day nourishing my creativity. I really appreciate the fact that my passion envelops me. It becomes my cocoon and it also gives me wings to fly.
It has been an interesting journey, the second wind – a time to focus on my priorities and take responsibility for my personal growth. When you do a good job, you grow every day. Most importantly, you are able to see your evolution through the work that you do and that centers you. The silence I work in has its own music and it can be quite addicting and fulfilling.
This poem by Rose Milligan kept coming back …
Dust if you have to, but the world is out there
With the sun in your eyes and the wind in your hair;
A lapping of snow, a shower of rain,
This day will not come again
Geetanjali Pande is a retired business executive who is now focusing on her artistic practice as a new passion. Her Instagram handle is @geetanjali_art and she is available at [email protected]


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