Believe in Color

 

Made this for Mariposa Montessori school’s annual fundraiser. I call it Believe in Color – When you are all black, white and blue, you have to believe in the magic of color. Keep the faith, look up high and know that hope surrounds you.

I’m enjoying these Nursery Art creations that are black, white and rainbow – my favorite color combination. And a fun activity here is to find my name in these paintings.

I’m taking custom order for commissions, so if you like what you see please let me create something for you.

If you are in Austin, are 14+, like the art I create, would like to learn and practice art, that’s completely customized for honoring your being, please lets connect.

Also part of #the100DayProject here: https://www.instagram.com/likewisearts/

Rainbow Zebra

Made this for my daughter, her birthday gift from Mama. She loves Zebras and wants everything to be rainbow colored. My little Yoda is growing up so fast.
Kids teach us so much and my little one is my special teacher, she teaches me everyday to slow down, stop to look at the purple bonnets (not bluebonnets because they aren’t blue), be true to my words and to simplify.

She is the reason behind Like Wise and any art I create for kids. (I am taking custom orders.) This last year has been all about to listening to my little Yoda’s wisdom. I’m sure you have stories of your kids or even yourself when you were kids that are just in your memories. If you’d like them illustrated, please send them to me.

While I’m trying to figure out what’s next on my To Do list she says, “Mama, silly Mama, let’s just play.” So that’s what I’ll do for now, play. Hope your weekend is rainbow colored and full of play time as well.

If you are in Austin, are 14+, like the art I create, would like to learn and practice art, that’s completely customized for honoring your being, please lets connect.

Also part of #the100DayProject here: https://www.instagram.com/likewisearts/

 

#OneYearJourneyIn100Days

I’m less than a hundred days away from the official end of my one year journey. I had been thinking of ways of wrapping this up so when I saw #the100dayproject on Instagram I was sold.  In this last one year of my time away from a full time engineering job I have done, experienced, learned, accomplished, traveled, struggled with, understood a lot. When I set off on this journey I had a vision of what it was going to be, I had plans, but I had no idea it would turn into one of the most profound self-defining experiences. My plans have fallen apart. Heck! I have fallen multiple times yet I either find the courage to stand up or someone always magically appears to help me dust it off and get going again. This has been the true beauty of this journey – the support and overwhelming encouragement I have received along the way has reinforced my trust in simple good will. Whenever I have felt defeated and tired y’all have reminded me to focus on the real me and my own needs before going out to make the world a better place. You have helped me find many reasons to celebrate – running a rewarding educational business, investing myself in a non-profit organization, re-establishing myself in the world of art and most importantly celebrating five years of being a mother. In my project, #OneYearJourneyin100Days I hope to share with you all of this and more – My year summarized in a hundred days with hopes of finding clarity for myself and possibly helping others who might be on a similar journey.

What comes after this? No idea and yet lots of ideas, my friends. Do you have any suggestions? I’d love to hear. Talk to me, Connect me, Make your Magic happen. I’m listening. For now find me at https://www.instagram.com/likewisearts/

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Buddha Element

Here he is, my new Buddha painting. Thank you Amitabh and Zoe Ghoshal for giving me the opportunity to create this for you. Thank you for trusting me with and giving me the freedom to come up with this artwork. Freedom in terms of colors, composition, medium, all components an artist loves to play with and play I did, for long! Thank you for being so patient while I worked on this.

More than the Buddha himself this painting is about the idea of mindful living, of just being with self love and appreciation while loving and revering the elements around us. The face is meant to be neutral so that when you look at it it reflects whatever’s within you. If you are sad it looks like a sad face, if you are content it looks a satisfied face… it’s all about being yourself.

Buddha Element. SOLD. Acrylics on Canvas. 48"x36"
Buddha Element. SOLD. Acrylics on Canvas. 48″x36″. Actively accepting custom orders.

Acrylics on Canvas
4ft x 3ft

I really enjoyed creating all the effects with texture. In some places the blue textured part looks like the earth and roots and in some places it looks like icy blue mountains and in some it looks like water and ocean waves. All signifying the earth and the elements around us.

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All that texture!

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Dear everyone, I’m actively seeking custom orders. Please let me create a painting/ artwork for you customized to your vision, ideas, color choices, style. I’ll also ship it to you. Wahooooo!

Women in STEM hosted by Psionics

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I was invited to attend a Women in STEM event hosted by Psionics, the only all girls FTC team in Westlake High School. The goal of the event was the girls to learn about women engineers’ careers, work-life, challenges and success stories. They would also provide insight into their world of robotics and STEM glory. I have to say I was beyond impressed by all the work the team had put in to their project. While I was amazed by all the technological problems they have solved, challenges they have overcome and competitions they have won, the main thing that won me over was their team spirit and the will to continue the legacy of this group. The group, Psionics, was started couple years back and even though the original team members have graduated and moved on they have kept the group alive with the help of their coaches, mentors and with a sense of making possible for others what was made possible for them.photo-5252085001748480

The Women in STEM event was attended by about thirty technical women who shared their stories ranging from what their typical work day looks like, challenges they have faced and specific instances that proved to be turning points in their lives. The one thing that rang true in all the narratives was the humility and professionalism with which each individual has approached their careers, overcoming the typical ups and downs of an industry that largely male dominated. While the girls learned from role models they look up to, I learned that we are all so similar. We might have different working styles and routines, we might work on a variety of different problems in varied roles and capacities, what’s common and what brings us together is the recognition that we are a village working together. Some work in it to purely for financial sustenance, some love the work and have incomparable passion for it they couldn’t find anywhere else, some work with a desire of improving and changing the face of technology, some work with a sense of giving back. Whatever the reasons might be, in the end, all of us do our bit to contribute to a bigger picture, a puzzle that comes together because we do what we do while remembering why we do it. I took home with me a small piece of this puzzle myself with a sense of rejuvenation and a reminder to keep doing what I’m doing.

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Thank you Psionics for this incredible opportunity. I wish you much luck and send you this message, “There’s a real joy in creating when the vectors don’t point at you, they point at a bigger purpose, but they originate from you.”

Time and Patience

The strongest of all warriors are Time and Patience. Just when I start over thinking it all, the universe sends me a reminder that while it may take a long time the seeds will sprout some day. Received this as a testimonial for my art work…..

“Dear Meenakshi
I met you years ago (2008) at an art fair and loved your artwork, it made a tremendous impact on me. Your work is stunning…. it just spoke to me!…….”

She was talking about my Warli paintings.

This is what I live for. Crying happy tears.

Who am I?

When I set off on my journey last year I told myself it was to start an education non-profit organization. It sure started like that but it quickly turned into a self-discovery and self-definition journey. I, very soon, got into the Who Am I never-ending question.

To help answer that identity question I read books. My favorite reads so far in this past year have been Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Rhino who Swallowed a Storm by LeVar Burton and The Sound of Silence by Katrina Goldsaito. All talked about living fully with an open heart. I had some amazing conversations with inspiring people and they also told me to be myself. Yoga retreats, meditation sessions, articles, movies, music, everything pointed to finding my being. You would think it’d be easy to start walking in that direction with so many leading pointers but I got distracted. I got stuck in a self-pity loop thinking everyone else’s life is so much more interesting than mine.The only thing that jolted me out of it and helped me answer this mystical sounding question with a potentially enormously huge answer was drawing, drawing my heart out, scribbling, doodling, painting and of course meditating – that’s what worked for me. When I forget this, please remind me. I’m making you in-charge of this. Remind me to draw to find answers. The answer to who I am lies here:

 

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I create, paint, illustrate.

I’m a STEM education proponent.

I mother my beautiful and powerful daughter.

I engineer electrical circuits and audio technology.

I communicate my thoughts in my blog and  articles.

I speak at events to inspire children to find their voices and contribute to our futures.

Most importantly, I connect all of this together to define my being.

I have been trying to balance, connect and juggle a lot of different personality traits. The MBTI people say I’m an Advocate (INFJ). The Strengths Finder people say my strengths are: Empathy, Communication, Related, Developer, Discipline. As Elizabeth Gilbert talks about in her Curiosity leading to Passion talk, I’m a hummingbird going from tree to tree, flower to flower, trying this, trying that, creating a rich complex life for myself and cross-pollinating the world. Hummingbirds are people who bring an idea from one place to another where we learn something new, weave it in, take it to the next thing we do so that our perspectives end up keeping the entire culture aerated, mixed up and open to the new and fresh. So here I am. Artist, engineer, social entrepreneur and mama who loves drinking chai, gardening, the smell of rain, hand writing letters, bollywood songs, elephants, Bombay, Camp Grounded, STEM education, the color blue, hiking, star gazing, upcycling, yoga, paisley designs, ghazals, doing arts and crafts with my daughter, books, Pema, my family, friends and my hummingbird self.

RIP Levi Felix Fidget

The world lost a visionary, a change maker, a proponent of connection, the founder of Camp Grounded, Levi Felix. I lost a friend, a guide, a source of inspiration, Fidget. After putting up a kickass fight he was taken from this world by a rare form of brain cancer. If you know about my journey, you know that me finding the power to finally take the decision to bring about a change was a direct result of camp and people like Fidget.

Adam Smiley Poswolsky has a wonderful article here about Fidget, his life, his visions and the magic he created. As for me, when I heard the news I went through a range of negative emotions – sadness, anger, shock, denial, grief. Then I got my box full of camp craziness out and as I thumbed thru my camp pocket book, the painted rocks, feathers, stickers, glitter, the many letters I’ve received since camp, I couldn’t help but smile. Positivity wins this battle, it has to, because this is what Fidget would have wanted. He would have wanted me singing out loud while chasing butterflies in a rainbow colored tutu. I smile, because that’s what my spirit is giving me permission to do right now. Here’s a memory that keeps coming back to me:

It was the last day of my first camp. As everyone was saying their goodbyes, I was standing there for a bit trying to wrap my head around what I had just experienced in the last four days. Fidget happened to walk by me and asked, “How are you?” I said, “I don’t know.” He stopped, looked at me, smiled, said nothing in words but the expression on his face told me that he wanted me to continue talking so I did. He had just given his closing speech in which he had spoken about clasping your hands the other way, with the less dominant thumb on top, about making the harder choices and embracing those changes. I told him how I was indeed trying to take the road less traveled and how horribly difficult I was finding it to be. This is what he said and I will never ever forget it,

“Even in your clasped hands your middle finger can stick up and say, Fuck you inner critic.”

We laughed. He then gave me a hug. I will never forget that laughter, that hug. He left me with an experience that changed my life. He gave me, us, the gift of camp, ever lasting life long friends, our community. Thank you. I remain forever grateful Fidget. Love you.

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So long 2016!

2016! What an year! Difficult yet fulfilling. This year I took a step into the unknown that I had been contemplating for almost a decade and finally found the courage for. I had set off with the goal of starting a non-profit org to promote STEAM education for under-privileged kids and the one thing I did was talk. I talked and shared my dream with anyone who would listen and in so doing the universe aligned itself to connect me to STEMed Labs. (Stemedlabs.org). We found that our visions aligned perfectly with so much synergy that it seemed natural for us to join forces. The last few months that we have worked together, my experience and learnings have been nothing short of stellar. I have learned immensely at each step, from the teachers, our team members, volunteers and most of all from the students. They have taught me to be constantly curious and to keep on going with the do-learn-do iterations. Rewarding to say the least!

You know that feeling when you have been thinking about something and it keeps popping up everywhere. Like when you are thinking about taking a yoga class, every block seems to suddenly have a yoga studio, that somehow in all those piles of junk mail the one paper you did read before recycling everything was the corner yoga studio ad, that co-workers are going to lunch time yoga classes, that Amazon suggests you buy a yoga mat … You get the point!
For me that word has been creating. It has popped up everywhere and called out to me in my dreams, in meditation sessions, in yoga classes, in STEM education classes, in people I’ve been meeting, in books I’ve been reading, articles, pictures, everywhere imaginable. Creating has always been a part of my life all along and Elizabeth Gilbert reminds us, “Creative living is where big magic will always abide.” That’s exactly what’s happening now, which brings me to this project – Like Wise, Drawn with Heart.

About three or so years back, since the time my daughter started talking in full sentences I have wanted to take her wisdom, laughter, humor filled stories and illustrate them, to capture and share them with the world. The idea is a small beginning towards capturing innocence filled stories that might make people smile. Now more than ever, we need to bring love, laughter and artful beauty into this world. This is a collaborative project with stories at the heart of it. The more we connect, create and share, the more we find happiness.
Please send me your kids’, pets’, grandparents’ or just about any wisdom and laughter filled stories and I will illustrate them for you because we all Like Wise stories.

Here’s to new beginnings in 2017. I asked my daughter what her wish was from the new year and she said, “I wish I could shoot rainbows out my hand and everything was rainbow colored.” Happy New Year my online family. Here’s wishing you a rainbow colored 2017.

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GEN We are Girls Conference

The GEN, We are Girls (#WeAreGirlsTX) conference was a humbling experience for me. There was inspiration every where, among the girl attendees, the speakers and the volunteers. I was immensely proud and stoked to be conducting a STEM session with these powerful and inspiring girls. Thank you GEN for making us a part of it.

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