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How did a Fallen Leaf Inspire a Successful Art Business: My Watercolor Story

My watercolor journey started by accident I would say! While shopping for groceries at a supermarket I picked up a student version of watercolor set simply for fun or maybe because I was watching too many art videos on Instagram. And also I was going through frustration as I was not getting any response for my Craft classes, I mean like everyone wanted Art! For craft it was like a no big deal! So when my eyes focused on that box of paints I thought, hmmm “Can’t be that big a deal” with a lot of apprehension of course in my heart!

The set kept staring at me for a while from the top shelf of my art rack but I would just side glance at it and ignore it totally same as I used to ignore my other supplies!

Art is something that makes you breathe with a different kind of happiness.

– Anni Albers

Decision! Decision!

But finally one day I picked it up and said to myself “Well I did it in School right, so how hard it can be!” Which immediately reminded me of the blue box of camel Watercolours which used to cost 10₹ (0.13$) at the time or era I should say.

camel watercolors form school days
School Days Watercolors

Pick the Right tools

Okay let’s come back and talk about the doors, I had paint and brushes, who buys brushes? We DIYers always have brushes! Then next was paper, Watercolours so definitely now the copy paper which we use for almost everything from crafting to making lists. I have even used it as a replacement to tissues!!!!!

So my material was all set, I said to myself, “Let’s me begin with my Masterpiece!”

Spent about 2-3 hours scrolling on Pinterest on what to paint, finally got frustrated just turned off the screen. I then recalled one of the videos I had watched the other day, which was Roses, so it was time to paint some Roses!!

And what a disaster it was (according to me) as I compared myself to pro Artists! For a while I started regretting my decision of getting that paint set home. And then as usual the watercolors were back on the top shelf staring again at me again, but this time with a vengeful look it seemed and I ignored the whole shelf as if it never even existed.

my first watercolor painting
My First ever Watercolor Painting

Months went by, and I thought I should read about what supplies you need. I thought maybe I don’t have the right supplies that’s why I can’t paint. After scanning through a number of articles for maybe a few days, I finally figured out that watercolor brushes are not just ‘any brushes’, they are very different and specific, same with paper and you can’t use just any paper! So there I was, I immediately hopped on to Amazon to get it all. That was not all, the cost of these supplies was intimidating and as a beginner it felt very discouraging and made me so anxious about what I was getting into.

Although I was able to find information I was looking for little did I know when I was reading all these articles that I was about to get into a vicious circle of obsession with supplies. Videos and posts all kept on emphasizing the expensive materials so much that I almost gave up on it. Spending that much on supplies on Art about which I had no clue did not feel right or reasonable in any way.

If you are a beginner and feel stuck like me, Here is a quick guide to help you decide what & how to choose supplies as a watercolor beginner.

All it takes is that one Aha Moment!

Then one fine day of September 2019  on my morning walk with my friend this one leaf caught my attention, there were hundreds of them on the side walk. Autumn in Bangalore is not that colorful but you can find lovely shades of yellows, browns & greens if you have the eye for it! But I felt as if this one leaf was calling out to me “Pick Me” like the potion in Alice in Wonderland!

So I picked it up, I was nowhere near calling myself even a newbie watercolorist but something in me whispered “Paint it” and that’s what I did,

And this is what I painted in my very first attempt, with my new watercolor set!

My husband’s reaction, Oh you glued it to the paper, hahahhahah!

That was it! I knew it, I can do this!

Realistic leaf Painting
My Aha Moment!

And then a Set Back again

Having no proper guidance and information on supplies and more than that, a lack of the right mindset and discipline, I found it was really hard and that’s why I painted very rarely even after getting the supplies I could afford when I was a beginner.

So days or rather months went by and Watercoloring took a back seat.

Then came 2020, and you know that made everyone’s life upside down and took us all on a bumpy crazy ride we all never imagined even in our wildest dreams! That’s when I took up that brush again.

Turning Point

2020 was a such tough year and to add to it I was going through a really tough time and it took a big toll on me emotionally. When you are stuck in your home 24/7 your mind starts playing games with you and that is what was exactly happening to me. My anxiety, overthinking and depression went over the roof!

Finally when I could not take it any more after a breakdown and a panic attack. But I don’t know what came on to me and I just said “ENOUGH”!

This is something very difficult for me and also very deep. This would not be the right place to go into that but if you would like to hear about my challenges and how I dealt with them, let me know in the comments and I will try to do a post about it, as I genuinely feel that if I can help even one person or make a difference in their life that’s it!

I was able to heal myself which was not easy and if I can do it, anyone can do it!

Anyways lets come back, I took therapy for almost a year and dealt with my mental health first.

And during this time my Art was the only thing that kept me going, it was my comfort and my calming pill. It kept me motivated. It helped me stay sane so that I could take care of my 4 year old.

Whenever the brush touched my hands I used to get lost in the world of colors. It slowly helped me realize how beautiful life is and there is so much to do and so much to learn.

I am a born nature lover, and that is what I love to paint the most! Also in a world where plagiarism and copying in the name of inspiration is so rampant,

“You will always be Original when you copy Nature!”


I found Mentors

As they say when you want it The Universe will make it happen! And that is exactly what happened. Once I decided to take things seriously and worked towards my goal it all fell into place!

With the help of my Mentors I was able to finally able to earn real income from my business. With their guidance I was able to scale my business and 10X my income. Once I started earing from it I gained more confidence and life started becoming better and better. It was not just about the money but how I was making a difference. Once your earn your own money you not only just get financial independence but also confidence, joy and a sense of accomplishment which in turn affects your mental well being in a positive way.

They taught me how to have the right mindset, gave me an opportunity to be a part of a wonderful mastermind group and gave me a sense of direction with the much needed discipline.

Now I am unstoppable and I still have a long way to go and a lot to achieve!

My journey has just begun!

Just quoting my favorite lines here,

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   

But I have promises to keep,   

And miles to go before I sleep,   

And miles to go before I sleep.

– Robert Frost

Let’s get back to Watercolors

Now Watercolors are a my Lifestyle! Also to this day painting realistic leaves is the closest to my heart! After all it was that one Leaf that made this all happen!

Which reminds me of this beautiful comment that I once received on Instagram, if you know the story you will know how much this meant to me!

“Didn’t you wonder why it never fluttered or moved when the wind blew? Ah, darling, it’s Behrman’s masterpiece—he painted it there the night that the last leaf fell.”

The Last Leaf – O Henry

the last leaf o henry
The Last Leaf

If you don’t know the story here is a short summary, It’s about how the Artist saved a life by a panting that looked realistic!

The Last Leaf is a short story by O. Henry published in his 1907 collection The Trimmed Lamp and Other Stories. The story first appeared on October 15, 1905, in the New York World.

The story is set in Greenwich Village during a pneumonia epidemic. It tells the story of an old artist who saves the life of a young neighbouring artist, dying of pneumonia, by giving her the will to live. Through her window she can see an old ivy creeper (growing on a nearby wall), gradually shedding its leaves as autumn turns into winter, and she has taken the thought into her head that she will die when the last leaf falls. The leaves fall day by day, but the last lone leaf stays on for several days. The ill woman’s health quickly recovers. At the story’s end, we learn that the old artist, who always wanted to produce a masterpiece painting but had never had any success, spent considerable time painting with great realism a leaf on the wall for the whole night. Furthermore, the old artist himself dies of pneumonia contracted while being out in the wet and cold.

Source: Wikipedia

I not only paint for teaching and sharing my Art but also because I love it and it is now a part of me.

It has so many benefits and it has totally transformed my life. In fact any type of craft is more than just a hobby, you can also check this post about the benefits of Watercolor.

Watercolor is like Therapy for me, it keeps me calm, patient & focused on my goals! It has been a life saver.

And I also keep my First Painting right in front of me every single day!

My watercolor story
My First Painting is my Mouse Pad

I find extreme pride and joy in the fact that I can share my learning with others and make a difference!

Realistic Aglaonema Leaf
Realistic Aglaonema Leaf

Until next time,

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