Flowers of the day

I thought I would jump start this week with this watercolor collage I painted recently.

Flowers – roses, sunflowers, poppies, pansies, lilies, dianthus, and lavender!

My favorite flower is the rose but I love watercoloring poppies the most…. they are um…so dreamy, fragile, so… surreal!

What flowers do you love to watercolor most?

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April showers bring May flowers

..and lots of them!

Here is my latest watercolor floral art that I want to share with you.

Most of the time I paint roses, poppies, sunflowers and lavender, but this time I tried painting plumerias, hollyhocks, and crocuses. Even though I do not have a green thumb, I love painting flowers.

Painting hydrangeas was so much fun. The trick to painting them is you start with the central blossoms coloring them a little darker and as you get to the ones in the periphery you lighten up the shade.

Believe it or not, I found painting the plumerias most difficult even though they look pretty simple! My favorite however was the hollyhocks!!

Lessons from a watercolor landscapes collage

Does practice make perfect? Does it make better? Or is it something else?

I started this set of landscapes in watercolors early this month and just finished it. My goal was to paint the same picture over and over again to get it ‘perfect’ but after two or three, I got so bored and it dawned upon me that I needed to get better not perfect!!

So then the fun began – letting my imagination take over, allowing myself to make lots of mistakes, experiment with colors and have fun.

How often I have held myself back with rigid rules and lofty expectations and then ended up dissatisfied with the end product.

What I learned from this experience is I need not be a perfect artist. I have a style and a process of my own and I just need to embrace it fully.

So if there’s anyone out there like me who doubts herself, just remember you need to ‘enjoy’ the process and own your style.

Beauty of the weed flowers

Pause and admire the weed flowers sometimes! My eyes always fall upon the nameless beauties we often refer to as ‘weed flowers’ – fragile, miniscule but so vibrant in their hues. 

 

This is Yellow rocketcress I found blooming off the walking trail next to a small stream.

And this is Sherardia arvensis, very tiny purplish hued flowers! I had to really zoom into them.

And finally this is Henbit deadnettle, still in a slumber ( it was still early )! The ground on either side of the trail was swarming with these ‘sleeping beauties’. I might have to take an afternoon walk to actually admire them in their full bloom.

Happy Women’s Day to all

Today social media was flooded with loving messages dedicated to moms, sisters, daughters, friends, and coworkers. It was heartening to see the underlying message of self love being poured out there. But we need not wait only for ‘today’ to celebrate the women in our lives and remind them to love themselves first. Care and compassion for self should be a daily reminder. There is nothing selfish about this because when we take some time out to nurture ourselves on a regular basis, we feel stronger and better about ourselves, physically and mentally.

Often times we mistake self care for physical acts alone such as pampering ourselves. True, these are some of the ways but they are short-lived. Self love is a daily process!

What do you say to yourself when you make a mistake or fail at something? Is it “I suck” or “It’s ok, I learned something from this”.

What do you do when someone puts you down? Do you keep quiet or do you stand up for yourself? Do you mumble a soft ‘yes’ or do you politely but firmly say a ‘no’?

This is self care.

Take a break when you are tired. Don’t feel guilty about it.

Learn to say ‘no’.

Speak up. Stop being a doormat!

Take care of your health, physical and emotional.

Carve out time to walk in nature, relish a cup of coffee, journal, meet up with like minded people, read, paint…..whatever your heart desires!

This is self care.

Pet moment

On a cold morning laced with frost, I drove my kid to school, all the time whining about the temperature and the morning traffic. When I stepped back into my home, my seven-year-old Maltese came to the door, wagging his tail, stretching himself – he had come all the way to the front door to welcome me! He does this every single day – just like the “important” things I have to do – messages to answer, beds to make, countertops to clean and so on.

Today, however, I dropped my bag and keys, picked him up and went straight to the couch. He snuggled into my lap, I ran my fingers through his silky fur. He closed his eyes. No sound except for the wall clock ticking and the morning birds chirping. I closed my eyes lost in the bliss of the moment. Everything else can wait…..

Lemongrass essential oil

Ooh!! the fresh, invigorating, and tingling citrus scent. It always manages to clear up space both physical and emotional.

I am talking about Lemongrass essential oil. I must have walked by it so many times but only this time it caught my attention! I wonder why? Maybe I needed a change, a new EO to add to my collection or was it because it “chose” me? I don’t know but as soon as it arrived, it got down to the serious business of healing all of us in the family who coincidentally came down with muscular aches and pains one after the other.

Let me tell you EOs are not magical shots, they work slowly but steadily. You need to have faith in them and patience too. The ingredients in the oils comfort us on a deeper plane while they fight the inflammation.

This particular lemongrass EO comes from the East Indian lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus). It is light in texture and smells heavenly like lemons. But it is capable of irritating the skin if used directly. So always, always dilute it with a carrier oil. I usually use Avocado oil as a carrier.

To combat the aches and pains, I use lemongrass EO along with two other oils mainly because of their chemical composition. The citral in lemongrass oil, menthol in peppermint oil and eucalyptol in eucalyptus oil is anti-inflammatory. They are useful in combating muscle pain and headaches. Peppermint and Eucalyptus also help in respiratory problems. All three oils blend well and are really useful in flu-like conditions.

I add 4 drops lemongrass eo, 2 drops eucalyptus eo, and 4 drops of peppermint eo to 2 tsp (10ml) avocado oil. This is about 5% dilution. A couple of drops of this mixture can be used to massage on the painful areas.

I also use a drop or two of the above to massage on the throat and the area under the collar bones when I feel a sore throat or cold coming. Alternately I use a drop or two on the wrist and palms, rub them together and inhale the scent. It helps clear the sinuses as well as refreshes the mind.

A couple of drops of diluted lemongrass oil can be also added to the face wash. I am not sure if it really does something for the skin but the skin does feel clean and fresh.

I also add 2 drops to a cotton round pad and stash it somewhere in the car. It serves as a safe air freshener!

So these are some of the ways I use this oil. Hope you find it useful. If you know of some other ways to use this oil please share it here. I would love to hear about it.