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/

 

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.

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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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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Camp Grounded 2016

Last year, this time, when I came back from my digital detox at Camp Grounded I couldn’t stop talking about how it was the best thing I had done for myself. I had laughed, cried, danced, cheered, played, clapped and lived each moment to the fullest. I had experienced the wonder of some of the most honest friendships, the shooting stars, the camp fires, the heartfelt conversations and the random outbursts of energy all well-balanced with reminders to slow down and breathe. Since camp last year, I have made some pretty courageous decisions that have led to some kickass life changes. I can’t thank camp enough for it. When I went back to camp this year, I couldn’t help but notice the changes in myself. The me at camp last year and the me at camp this year are two such beautifully different people. I went back a more fearless, out-there me, willing to try new things that I would otherwise never have. I wasn’t worried about fitting in or about being called weird because, you know what, we are all weird and we all have the same worries. Camp made me realize that we are more similar than different. We all have battles we are fighting, challenges we are facing and problems we are grappling to solve. We all have the same fears and vulnerabilities and camp provides a safe place for us to be. Camp accepts me for who I am, engulfs my fears, my hesitations, my weirdnesses and surrounds me with so much love that I can’t help but be free…. Free to be who I am. Somewhere under that vast Texas sky full of stars and many many shooting stars, in that gigantic two hundred and fifty people strong group hug, in that roar of laughter and cheers at camp games, in the weird moments of silence, in all the arms outstretched ever-ready for hugs, in the melodies and warmth of campfires I found myself, my true self, my being. Thank you Camp Grounded!

Creative Corner Arts Summer Camp

We just wrapped up our first season of STEM summer camp around several rec centers in Austin – what turned out to be an incredible experience, both for us and the students.We worked on so many different projects, ranging from Optical Physics to Pattern Recognition, even Algorithms and Flowcharts. We all learned a lot from each other and more importantly, the students don’t cease to amaze us with their spontaneity, logical reasoning and enthusiasm.

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42 days in

It has been over a month. 42 days to be precise since I left behind those structured, fairly predictable days, be in terms of time, money or even goals. Every morning that I have woken up since then, I can’t thank everyone around me and the universe enough for giving me the capability to say, “It’s going to be a wonderful day,” rather than “Do I have to goto work?”

All along I knew that my break from working full time as an engineer would not be a break, because that’s just who I am. I can’t sit down and do nothing. I need to feel productive at the end of the day to sleep well at night. In fact, in the last few weeks I have worked harder than I ever have. Yesterday was the last day of the summer camp I was running at City of Austin’s rec centers. We had a contract with the City to teach STEAM sessions in their summer camps and yesterday we wrapped up what turned out to be five adventurous weeks of teaching and learning. I can’t get over how time flew by! Feels like just yesterday when I was feeling overwhelmed and worried about how it was all going to go and now it’s all done with. It was such a great experience, especially since some things were executed flawlessly and with some I just fell flat on my face. I definitely have lots of areas of improvement and aspects I need to focus on. I learned so much and had a few eye-opening realizations.

I realized that my dream is just that. My dream. No one else can feel the same level of passion, commitment and belief like I do towards it. No matter how much I try and paint the picture, try and make it crystal clear with specifics to the T, no one else will feel the burn like I do. I have found like-minded people who share the same passion and struggle, and while we are all in it together, nudging each other along, sharing our stories and helping each other along, we all have our own journeys, our own inner storms and emotions that make us all so similarly unique. Our paths may cross and we might even depend on each other, but in the end it’s our own dream, our origin, our peace.

In my fifteen years of working I admit I never felt fully confident, because I was never been in a position of power. I always worked towards someone else’s vision defined by someone else’s needs. I never felt a complete sense of ownership. But now, just in the last few months that I have been working towards my mission of promoting STEAM education, I feel own this problem and I feel confident as can be! Even though I’m not sure where this journey is going to take me I still feel sure that, whatever the destination, it’s going to be worthwhile. All along my co-workers who actually enjoy their work would tell me, “The ambiguity of the problem is part of thrill.” I never got that until now! Now I know what it means to just relax and enjoy the moment, enjoy the journey. There is enough poetry written about how time goes by, how now is the time and I feel I understand all those seemingly romantic theories only now. And even if I fall a million times along this path and end up with bruises, I know that it will be something I will always be thankful for.

More than anything, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of support and help I have got from people around me. You! All of you! Friends, family members, acquaintances, new friends and well wishers! You all have stepped up to help in whatever way you can that I can’t even begin to express my gratitude to all of you. All I can say is – Thank you!