“I can't live where I want to, I can't go where I want to go, I can't do what I want to, I can't even say what I want to. I decided to at least paint as I wanted to.” - Georgia O'Keefe

artist photo

How I started Art

I have been living with a rare auto immune condition for the last 13 years, for which there is no cure. I have undergone heavy duty therapies with the hope for improvement. Treatment is meant to suppress symptoms with the expectation of putting my condition into remission. These heavy duty toxic medications have taken a toll on my body, causing more health issues which require yet more medications. It's a never ending cycle. There was a time when I couldn't sit up, stand up or walk. We were in Michigan at the time and I used to drag myself to the gym, snow or rain or shine all focused to strengthen my body telling myself that I am not going to land up in bed. But now, I have hope - to end it with the power I feel comes through my art and this has already transformed me. I now have a positive outlook on life. And I see the results in my health and this has made me a strong advocate of the arts and its connection to healing. Art has opened a whole new world to me that I never saw before my illness.  

While in college, I wanted to become a Psychologist. That led me to get a Masters degree in Psychology and subsequently enroll in to a PhD program with emphasis on studying married couples and eventually become a Marriage Counselor. I later moved to the US and started exploring various opportunities in counseling. Before anything could materialize, few years ago, my husband had to undertake an assignment that took us to India for 2 years. So I didn't know what to do while he was away at work everyday. Having an interior decoration my passion, I spent a lot of time visiting home design stores and the artwork always grabbed my attention, as I've always been fascinated by art. It prompted me to take an oil painting and mixed media art class. A one month class extended to an year and a half. I used to lose track of time because it took me into this magical world and made me forget who I was and where I was. It enlightened me immediately as a very powerful and personal means of visual expression and I was inspired to transfer all my energy and agony into it which I was going through due to my chronic health condition. Art is making it easier for me to deal with everyday struggle that I go through with my body. I believe either you complain what you don't have or rejoice in the things you

have and make the best of it. Therefore, I chose to make the rest of my life, the best of my life. When I paint, I am able to stand for hours at a time versus otherwise when I cannot stand for 5 minutes without needing to sit. Art has so much power. I used to question why did my illness happen to me? Why at such an early age? What did I do to deserve it? But art made me accept my reality and move on by focusing on the good things that were happening. I became more grateful for what I have. I told myself, "no more tears, no more victim mentality, pity party is over and all will be fine and let me focus on how to deal with it".  I realized that I have got one life to lose any second of it on any negative thoughts. Since then I have been working with art relentlessly. It became my catharsis which took me away from all the unpredictability of life and that always keeps me going.The process of drawing and then painting had such an extreme healing and peaceful effect on me that I wanted to send these healing vibes to others. It felt like I had a purpose in life now. And as if in confirmation, my initial paintings were sold right away. I took it as a sign from God. That was a turning point in my life. All of these factors propelled me towards pursuing art all the more. My goal is to make my work serene, inspiring and positive. Therefore, I describe and write some motivating, inspiring and thought provoking lines with each piece. It felt like one of those stories where people travel east to find themselves and that's exactly where I discovered myself too. I feel it was all planned, like they say, things happened and kept happening and falling into place. One is simply required to recognize and acknowledge the signs.

It's a beautiful thing when passion and profession blend together.

My first art show

Well, as much as I wanted to get out there, and be known and explore, I was intimidated and terrified. I guess quite a bit of that has to do with my Indian culture and the hesitation and doubt if I would be accepted. But then, thanks to Austin, a moment came in I got out of my comfort zone and I hit the submit button to sign up for a one of a kind "Pancakes and Booze" event. Yeah, the event showcased local Art and it had pancakes, booze, music and dance. It was a great hit and a much needed boost. That one move pushed me forward and since then there is no looking back. The beginning is always the hardest part. "I can and I will" is what I tell myself all the time. And I have to say, with persistence and determination, I have come a long way in a short span of time . . . personally as well as professionally.


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