2020 has been a challenge for all of us and will be etched in our memory for our lifetime.
Painting was always on my bucket list and in February 2020 I decided to enroll in art class. But as luck would have it, just after 3 classes, COVID happened. My art teacher asked me to continue practicing painting with the advice “Just believe in yourself and you will do it”
March 2020 arrived and gave the whole world the gift of time with nowhere to go. After much soul searching, I decided to devote an hour or so every day to pursue my passion for painting. I realized there is nothing to lose and I would improve by learning from my mistakes. I decided to paint for an audience of one – myself.
My first painting was in March 2020 when ‘Stay at home’ was first announced around the globe. I decided to paint to bring calmness and peace to my anxious mind about the uncertainty looming around the global pandemic. I decided to paint Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, as I always visualized that Ganesha up there was guiding me and watching out for me. Painting was like meditation and was truly therapeutic, engaging the brain cells in a very unique way.
The best part was that I was very inspired by my first effort and decided to continue painting. I am truly grateful for the encouragement from my hubby, daughter-in-law, daughter, and son. Their honest feedback and the perfect gift of an artist table on Mother’s Day helped me to better focus on creating artwork.
I shared pictures of my artwork with friends and family via social media. My next-door neighbor was very impressed and asked if I could paint Ganesha for her. Suddenly my passion and free time had a purpose. One thing led to another and in the span of 365 days, I have created over 100 paintings and shared or gifted over 85 paintings with neighbors, coworkers, family, and friends around the globe.
Beside Ganesha, I challenged myself to line art with topics that evoke serenity – like ‘Newborn bond,’ ‘Meditation,’ and ‘Gratitude.’
My newfound passion was a perfect win-win situation. I had an outlet for my creativity and found purpose while hunkered down at home, while my family and friends enjoyed my artwork in their home.
I was touched by their comments; ‘Your aura comes through in the paintings of love and laughter,” “The meditation painting reminds me that no matter what is going on in my life, I can find peace,” “You inspired me to start painting again,” and, “I will keep your Ganesha painting next to my Allah to bring peace in this world.”
It was humbling that my artwork could bring joy and happiness to brighten the life of my near and dear ones. The icing on the cake was when my Mom asked me to paint a Ganesha for her 80th birthday celebration.
While we cannot control what life throws at us, we can control how we react to it. Life is all about finding joy and happiness in those situations.
I have transformed my very lonely dining room into a lively art studio. This corner of my house energizes and brings serenity at the same time. The vivid colors remind me of the blessings of beauty from Mother Nature, and serenity comes from the knowledge that a superior power is always giving me the strength to face any obstacles in life or removing them for me
Twenty years from now, I hope to look back to my COVID phase as the time I discovered a new passion in my life and proudly say that I am a COVID-born artist!
Hema Alur-Kundargi is a registered dietitian, culinary artist, and is determined to be a lifelong learner. Find her at @theculinarydietitian