I taught myself to Paint during the PandemicMarch 16, 2021
How it all started?
It was January 2020. I just returned to Uttarakhand from Jaipur after a 10 day meditation retreat called ‘Vipassana’ where one is asked to observe their breath focusing on the incoming and outgoing breath from the nostrils and not on any visualization or mantra. It is India’s oldest meditation technique which dates back to 2,500 years.
My Vipassana Routine
During Vipassana my day started at 4 am with the sound of the morning bell, followed by 2 hours of group meditation. Then breakfast was held from 6:30 am to 8 am followed by 31/2 hours of meditation. 11:30 am was lunch thereafter we have an hour or so to soak in the occasion winter sun. From 1 pm to 5:30 pm we meditated again followed by dinner.
7 pm was an hour session with Indian teacher S.N Goenka born in Burna from a business family moved to India and began teaching meditation. The sessions were typically held in two rooms- one in English and the other in Hindi. He would talk about how we felt during the meditation, those bizarre thoughts or how you may have felt throughout meditation was calming to know, you weren’t the only one experiencing it. From accepting ourselves having a monkey mind, to observing our breath and thoughts, it was truly a phenomenal experience.
My Grandad was my inspiration
It was in such a deep state of peace and tranquility that I discovered I wanted to try a new art form. For years I had captured the world around me through my lenses giving it my all.
If you were wondering, the sheer desire to paint came out of the blue for me as well. I never consciously thought about it nor did I expressed a desire too. The next meditation session I dedicated to firmly understanding where this desire to paint came from. I soon realized it came from my grandfather ( father’s side) who had painted back in the 80’s after air crash.
The way my parents narrated his story to me as a child left me wildly in awe. I vividly remember them saying he would use his oil paint from his bed and from the little window in his room to paint the scenery. His paintings were marvelous, the colors were vivid.
After that deep introspection I had with myself during the meditation session, I noticed myself observing nature around me more deeply. From the the color of birds. trees, veins in the leaves etc.
Finally I began painting
For six months I was stuck in the mountain after returning back from Jaipur. My friend encouraged me to buy some paints, an art book and basic brushes to start off. I couldn’t bring myself to go to the stationary shop. I remember passing the stationary shop as I went about buying my daily groceries. I was paralyzed by my inaction, overthinking as well as overwhelmed. Oh how I wish I could tell my past self to just take a deep breath and take it slow.
I came home after being stuck in the mountains for four months, finding paint at my brothers study table. I grabbed them along with a couple of paintbrushes and his art book and never turned back since.