LIFE. LAUGHTER. ART. CRAFTS. EVENTS. LEARNING.
Disclaimer - These are solely my opinions, experiences and thoughts.
I trust that you are seated comfortably and that you have a hot cuppa or a glass of wine next to you. This 8 minutes read may take a bit longer because of the number of photos. So you are in for a treat.
I am certain that given the time and opportunity that you would have a lot to write about your 2021 too but here is my story.
When I say that my days are swamped believe you me, they are! Raising 2 kids, running a home and a business has me stretched thin on some days but I would be lying if I did not admit how blessed I am to be able to do all that I do.
If you want to know how I will able to recall everything from last year, I have my iPhone to thank for allowing me to see my life in 2021 via my photographs :-)
We started the year with a lot of hope and prayed that 2021 would treat us better than 2019. Work was exclusively online at this point and it served me well. Webinars, meetings, consultations and even Church were all on Zoom.
By the end of 2019 I had completed about 45 paintings in soft pastels and this painting closed out 2019.
Art speaks when words fail
I wanted to go beyond pastels so 2021 was about venturing into other mediums. I could not resist trying acrylics as it had been a few years since my last acrylic painting.
I went about painting an image with a limited acrylic palette. The truth was that I only had those few acrylic colors with me but I wanted to see how I could use them :-)
Apart from painting we agreed to take on a live event because of the very limited number of guests. Keeping the team small but efficient helped us pull off an event for a high profile Client.
FLOWERS, US AND A HEN. ;-)
I clicked the pics of the flowers and the hen hoping to use them as reference images for future paintings. They are currently safe in a folder called "PIX" :-D
As is the case with the majority of events I do confidentiality is a critical aspect so I cannot show you images of the event for the guests. Our Clients are confident that they can rely on our discretion as well as our expertise.
I was doing my balancing act but at times timelines were blurred and I found myself like this..
Laughter to the rescue
Jokes aside I found it entertaining and helpful to share jokes and laughter and so began curating memes and jokes which I post every day (still going strong) on my WhatsApp status. Over time I have found that the number of people who were viewing my jokes increased and the best part was that they check in daily to have a laugh. I have had friends, Clients, and students sending me jokes they come across so that I can add them to my growing collection.
A Client who is also a friend (I am blessed to be able to say that about most of my Clients) asked me to do a webinar and I was super excited to do this because it was an opportunity to engage with students and facilitators and involve them in a creative process. My session was titled "The Roller Coaster Ride" and was all about my journey with Art.
A talk is only as good as the interaction and involvement you (as the Speaker) can generate!
Work continued and I found myself gearing up for an International Trip. Having stayed home since Feb 2020, barely venturing out a handful of times, here I was undertaking a couple of plane rides and wondering all the while if I was tempting fate. A million prayers and a couple of plane rides later I was in the Maldives. The exotic destination for an upcoming wedding was an even more exotic luxury resort and there I was on a recce.
Loads of formalities and red tape were part of this exciting adventure but the memories are wonderful.
Turning on my Work Mode avatar in one of the most gorgeous locales in the world. When it's my work, there is nothing else but that.
Still in Feb with so much to do we found ourselves taking on an order to create customised jute and silk totes for a Client. Searching for something turns on my tenacity and in this case my goals were to find exquisite fabric. A maroon and deep teal combo (seen in the pic below) and an ultramarine and cobalt combo which were both off set with pale gold were the two designs I selected.
We had the bags fabricated and delivered in record time. Along came the next project for which I had to custom wrap a few luxury 18 carat gold watches that had pearls and gem stones. These gifts were being taken to Europe for gifting so I emphasised the elegant lines in the wrapping and used delicate embellishments that matched the watches to indicate the contents of each box. In this manner my Client did not have use any gift tags whatsoever.
Choice of color and texture are important
A well deserved break was lunch at a local restaurant that made some absolutely tasty dishes; pork chops, roast chicken, mashed potatoes and sautéed veggies. Yummmm! Chris looks contented in this pic (below) to say the least.
As you can see from the pic above, we were still smiling, taking the year in our stride. Adapting and surviving but learning tremendously.
The ability to adapt is a game changer
Oil paintings occupied all of my time and the themes varied. A lot of my work was stormy skies and I absolutely enjoy painting these. I decided to try a new theme, also in oils and chose Pop Art. It was a terrific experience because of the consistency of the paint and the fact that the colors were vivid. I use Pebeo and Camlin paints in case you were wondering :-)
My daily jokes were faithfully posted and here is another one that got me laughing so hard..
No offence to the guys reading this blog. Its all about the humour!
This oil painting on linen was a delight to work on. I used a lot of color blocking on this one as I was really testing the boundaries. I even got my sister, my muse to send me images of her wearing a shawl over her head just to be able to sketch the woman in this painting.
Guess what that process triggered? My li'l Bu takes a selfie, sends it to me and asks me to paint her picture and she goes so far as to say that I should use warm tones. I was floored by this! Never in a million years did I expect my 8 year old daughter to do this. Me, being me, I rose to the challenge and I attempted to paint her portrait.
I had not really tried to paint any portraits so far except one of my sister a year before so I knew that I was going to have to meet this challenge head-on if I hoped to complete it to my daughter's satisfaction. (Just so you know it is on display in our living room and the little one is thrilled to bits to have her portrait) The things we do for love!
Love can move mountains, oh yes it can!
We invested alot of time and effort in our in-person & online Art Workshops for many topics. Our best sellers till date are our Fluid Art and Pop Art Workshops. Pop Art workshops have been conducted exclusively via Zoom to participants around the world.
Personalised Art Classes via Zoom and In-person Sessions
My journey with Art made a natural progression to teaching and I began teaching Art . Students enjoy these courses, namely, Basics of Acrylics and Basics of Drawing. All techniques are covered in customised study plans based on the topic/s selected. Constant progress checks, constructive critique and projects encourage and motivate students to grow in confidence and improve their art skills.
Be Bold. Be Creative. Keep an open mind.
In case you wish to learn to draw/paint, contact me +918056022964 and I can customise the classes for you. I have only 2 available slots at the moment, so it is first come, first served!
Learn to draw and paint today
Happy Participants/Students of our Workshops & Classes
I have strived to divide my time between the consultancy services, events and classes and my painting. Here is an overview of some of my favourite pieces of artwork.
Those who know me know that I love to cook and guess what I mastered in 2021?
Taffy and Fudge!
Yes! I enjoyed making these desserts and put away quite a bit too. Can you blame me for not resisting? ;-)
(Get in touch if you want to place an order)
I had to share that joke. It cracked mew up and lots of others who saw it too. Lol!
As part of my routine, I sketch often but I wanted it make it a more regular task and that is when I hit upon the idea to draw every day; the subject I selected was the human eye. My requests on the different social media platforms for people to send me hi-resolution images of their eyes lead to an overwhelming response.
A eye a day for 30 days lead to a fantastic learning experience and I am thankful to all those who sent me photographs of their eye. The video (above) showcases all the sketches.
In order to get everyone involved in a contest revolving around their sketches we opened up a campaign to collect the maximum votes for the sketch (of the eye) that people liked best.
The winner of this contest was Mrs. Jothi Shivaram who brought in 225 votes across Facebook and this website. Her prize was a hand drawn charcoal sketch so Jothi sent me a few photographs and I then went about creating the sketch. Here it is :-)
I was content to paint and teach Oils, Acrylics and Soft Pastel but watercolour baffled me. I was so tempted to try and when I did I knew that I was in love :-)
My love affair with watercolours continued and I went on to try mixed media paintings where I used both watercolour and metallic acrylics to create a few pretty paintings (below)
This watercolour painting (below) is special as it was painted by me while I was taking care of my Dad in hospital. Painting gave me a sense of calm and motivation. Here it is..
Once Dad was safely back home and convalescing from his surgery, I had to get my wisdom out. Lol!!! My wisdom tooth began acting up and I had to undergo surgery. Crafting during that time kept me sane!
Dad had been asking me to paint a picture of Bu dressed up as Elsa (from Frozen) I finally decided to paint it for him as a birthday gift. Lucky Bu got a second portrait :-)
The skin tone, the colours for the outfit and the hair demanded my attention and when I finally gifted the painting to my father seeing his joy was my reward.
Christmas was around the corner and I got to know from a dear friend that she was organising The Little Bazaar along with her friend. On a whim I decided to participate and I knew that I had only ten days to put things together but we jumped right in. As a result I got to sculpt Christmas Gnomes and Sheep and handcraft Christmas Stockings. It was such fun especially since its my favourite time of year.
The Chrysalis Christmas Store - A few items crafted in-house
Handmade Cards by Jennifer Arul were also available during our Christmas Sale. In fact check out our store in a fortnight for the latest designs and themes in custom cards. These cards are unique, elegant and classy and perfect for those who love to send handwritten messages.
I know that this has been a long long post and that is despite the fact that I have had to edit out so much of info. The message in all this is the fact that "I learned alot".
I learned ALOT
The year 2021 was devoted to acquiring skills and also putting them to use and in the process to grow and encourage others. This in turn brings me to our motto which is
For those who wish to learn to paint do check out my tutorials on YouTube. If you like what you see please hit "like" and subscribe.
Link to YouTube Tutorial: Learn to paint a Peacock: https://youtu.be/ydHcd8bxi3Y
So now I find myself in 2022 and I look forward with hope and positivity, grateful to be blessed and happy to face the future and share with others so that they may grow too.
Leeza A. Harris