Category Archives: Thoughts

No camping. No tomatoes!

For the last few months I have had this image as my desktop wallpaper. And trust me when I say it gives me clarity and resolve every time I look at it. I am a nice person. I am not trying to be. I genuinely am. And no I am not trying to put on a persona or blow my own trumpet either. Sadly people often misunderstand that.

It is as it is.

This ‘niceness’ is often confused with my being a people pleaser or someone who is a push over. And that is NOT TRUE. I guess I am more empathetic then is good for me. I tend to give a person more chances than they deserve because I try and put myself in their shoes and give them a wide wide rope.

However this quality of mine was being taken as my being a ‘doormat’ to some. And I thought it was time to change things up a bit. I am also on the other side of 40 now and I just don’t have the time or patience to wait for someone to see that I come from a genuine place of niceness!

A friend sent me this video the other day and it really resonated with me. The video talks of energy boundaries and the ‘No camping, No tomatoes’. It will make sense when you watch it! I have been guilty of both – going camping and eating that tomato dinner metaphorically speaking and I have had to deal with the huge HUGE fallout as a result.

Btw- I actually like both camping and tomatoes:-)
It also helps that I am in a happy place painting and creating things that give me joy.

This video describes energy boundaries and why they are so important in maintaining your energy flows & connections. Without boundaries, you have no way to monitor your frequency and vibration, or let others know what they are. And when you lower or alter your energy boundaries to accommodate people who can’t align with them, you invite drama, trauma, and chaos in your life and make choices that are not aligned with what you want in your life.” – Jennifer Hoffman

The quote mentioned above gives you the gist but do take the time to go through the video. A bit long and verbose though…

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Flat 20% off on Label ArtByAarohi

Yes. You read that right.
Announcing our first ever sale! – its a flat 20% off on all ArtByAarohi Label products on

Why? and Why Now?

Let me give you the simple answer first.
Just because.

And now a little more detail – Just because it seemed a good way to start the new year and as they say what goes around come around. Last year was all about ‘production’. And while I love sewing, making bags and skirts and dupattas, just thinking of new ways to extend myself; I lost myself. I found myself focusing on something that was never supposed to be my core. I love painting and I want to go back to it.

I want this ‘merchandise’ kind of creativity to remain something that I do in my spare time to recharge and try new things. Not as something that becomes central to my creativity. And in an effort to do that I find I need to de-clutter my mind and my work space. I need to de-clutter my studio.

And what better way to do that than to have a sale. Instead of passing on a commission to someone in the middle I thought I would share it with you first – my customers. You get the first right of refusal and benefit. And then later I may decide to put it up on some other online store or just keep it on my own e-store. But I would do that knowing I was true and loyal to you my readers and customers first 🙂
And I am hoping this sale allows a whole lot of new people to own their very first ArtByAarohi product!

For now it is back to the drawing board (literally!!) for me. Wish me a productive painting year my friends…

Will share the production bit from time to time as well 🙂

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The Fusion Projects


Collaboration is a working practice whereby individuals work together to a common purpose to achieve business benefit. Collaboration enables individuals to work together to achieve a defined and common business purpose. – (this was the first result for the definition in Google)

There are some ideas that need to be worked on from multiple angles. A multi-pronged approach as it were. They need skill-sets that one may not necessarily have in house or have but they may not yet have reached the level of refinement needed to bring that idea to fruition.

I usually work alone. I have worked with others only in a very limited capacity. Though I have always felt the need to bounce ideas of someone else. Supreet Singh – my husband, friend and in many ways my partner in work has always been that. And my dearest friend Meghna Vakada has been the one to be brutally honest with feedback when I needed to see the light.  She has been at the receiving end of many ideas that needed talking thru to just refine the idea to a point where I could run with it.

But it was time to let others into my circle. To push boundaries. So collaboration with others was a natural step in the progression of my work. Both for the work itself and for my own individual growth as an artist.

I am happy to say that this year I finally decided to take the plunge and collaborate with others in a more serious way.  Collaboration allows for ideas to reach that one step higher that would have been difficult on my own. I have always wanted to mix materials and genres but have often realized that I may not have a level of refinement yet in every area of skill and knowledge that is needed. Working with others allows accessing of ideas/thoughts/skill and knowledge across metaphorical borders. What would a graphic designer and a weaver create. Or an architect and artist/sculptor. A wielder and a silk screen artist. Maybe even a writer or lyricist with thread work… these are areas of art and collaboration that excite me and make me want to explore.

Yes, Collaboration is the process of two or more people or organizations working together to realize mutual goals. But it is more similar to, but more closely aligned than, cooperation, and both are an opposite of competition. Collaboration for me works because the parties involved respect each other and their work. Their goal is to put their best forward. It is a desire to get the best outcome of ones craft.

The first in the series of my endeavor will be out soon. Wait for it.

But till then..

The Fusion projects is an initiative for collaborative experiences with others across genres and mediums. If you think there is anything you and I could work on which would benefit from both our combined experiences/skill sets/ vision than write to me at

As has long been said ‘no one is an island’.

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The kids are growing up and time is going faster then I can keep up. Some days it feels like I am running to stand still. I know I have been quiet here for a few months but I find most people are on Facebook or Instagram or some other social media site.  I do post there every so often but that too has been sporadic at best.

I found myself going through some earlier posts in a an effort to find a specific post a few days ago and realized I miss my blog. I used to try and post a little something at least once a month. And then life caught up with me. I found myself with not much to say. And then guilt came calling. I had been away from the blog for so long that I did not know where to start. So much to share and no words to share it with. I decided to just write from the heart and say Hello! 🙂

I am hoping to get back to writing here. And sharing again. I find that since I work mostly on my own, I produce far from staggering quantities and most of what I do usually sells from the studio itself. So I have been lax in putting things up on the shop as well.

I wonder if my fellow bloggers/artists/creators feel the same way – that while e-commerce is good and wonderful, the effort to update the shop – take pictures/manage inventory/answer queries/ the trips to the post office etc don’t really leave too much time to create!

There are a few things in the works right now and I will of course post about them here when done.

This was just to say Hello…
…hello from the other side…
(may as well leave you with the whole song !)

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One Word

How do you wrap up a day in just one word? One word to reflect what that particular day had been about. No prefix, suffix or explanations of any kind. Just the word. The one feeling or thought that could define how 24 hours shaped me as a person, guided my interactions with others or plain just kept me bound within my own mind.

Earlier this year I decided to end everyday for a period of 30 days with just one word at the end of the day. I wanted to see if I could narrow down on what the most important, overwhelming or in your face action, act or interaction had been for me on that given day.

I did it. Religiously. Everyday for 30 days. Much like this experiment which ended here.

Starting 4th April 2015 to 4th May 2015.
This is what I have –
4 – Hope
5 – Camaraderie
6 – Paying my dues
7 – Exhaustion
8 – Conversations
9 – Resignation
10 – Revelation
11 – Exasperation
12 –  Journey
13 – Pain – Hope
14 – Exasperation – jubilation
15 – Possibilities
16 – Hope
17 – Unsettled
18 – Insightful – Hope
19 – Clarity
20 – Sadness
21 – Sadness
22 – As good as it gets
23 – Overwhelmed
24 – Joy
25 – Joy
26 – Nostalgia
27- Acceptance
28 – Hope
29 – Love
30 – Perturbed
1 – Fatigue
2 – Connections
3 – Acceptance
4 – Beginnings

While writing that one word at the end of a given day I was able to pinpoint with acute clarity just which person or incident had taken up the most mind share on a given day. And in turn realize who or what is able to ‘push my buttons’ – who was I giving my power away to.

The word I wrote at the end of everyday was true, with out artifice and as representative of that day as I could think of.  I learnt something and it surprised me. Today a few months after that experiment has ended, I find that I can no longer remember why I wrote a particular word. What action or incident happened or did not for me to have used that word.

Which made me realize that I had been allowing people, places, things, action and even inaction to take on greater meaning on a given day. Something could ruin it for me or make me almost ecstatic. And in reality it had no meaning the next day! I needed to learn to live in the moment and then let that moment go. Just because something good happened I did not need to walk on a cloud for a week OR because something did not go as planned – I definitely did not need to stay in the dumps for longer than the few minutes it should take me to rationalize the situation in my mind.

Change is good. And I needed to learn to embrace it.  It is a work in progress though – much like life itself.

Why am I posting this now after so many months? It is because I needed the reminder. The words for the last few days would be brutal, broken and raw. And I need to remember that this too shall pass…


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The lines on my face

I read this in a book the other day and I can’t stop thinking about it. Literally. I love how the words string together and somehow the simile connects on a visceral level.

“.. life is a portrait. It’s a picture you paint everyday, every minute, every second, with the palette you were given at birth. It’s an expression of yourself, whether you want it to be or not. Make sure it’s a picture you are proud of..”

For a while there I found myself thinking about all those men and women who have somehow aged so gracefully that there seems to be a beacon shining from within. I just hit 40 so vanity demanded I look in the mirror and assess. Yes – I have wrinkles and ‘bad skin’. Crows feet and lines on my face. My hands have veins popping out and the skin is dry most of the time. Truthfully – I got worried there for a bit.

Ok – Deep breath. Inner calm.
I need to work with the palette and get control on my colours, school my expressions better and so on.

It did not work.

Deeper breath…

And then I got thinking again. This is me. My face. My body bears the marks of my journey through life. My palette has not always been of jeweled tones and candied hues. There have been harsh greys and some blacks too. But if you look closely enough there are more laugh lines than frown lines. The crows feet appear every time I smile. The bad skin tells me just how passionate I am – the hormones that still go crazy and pour out on my skin. The dry skin is a result of years of love with my paints, thinner and acetone. It is an outcome of the many times I forgot to put moisturizers and creme because the smell and feel of paint and thinner was too seductive to wash away. I wrote of me some years ago… you can read that here. You can also read more here.

I will still try and paint a portrait worth looking at. It is a work in progress. I have a few more years yet to finish it I hope. But I do believe the current version is an honest reflection of me.

Does your ‘portrait of life’ reflect you?

I thought I would leave you with a portrait of me I did some years ago as well as a link to an animation of one I attempted later…

Note- Not the best quality photograph. The painting is more vibrant though and me even more so in real life – I promise! (tongue firmly in cheek here)




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Colour me…

I can’t imagine my life without colour. I really can’t. So when I chanced upon this video it made me look at my life in a totally different perspective. I found myself with silent tears rolling down my cheeks. Profound. I find I am so grateful for life and all its abundance. For what is indeed a privilege to have for me -the joy and beauty of everyday, a colour filled life. I define my life in colour.

You’ll have to watch the video to see what I mean. But here’s the gist, so you don’t get blindsided.
As part of the #ColorForAll campaign, Valspar created a short film called ‘Color for the Colorblind‘. It is an Ad but oh! so gut wrencingly beautiful to me.

The video follows a handful of people who are colorblind. People who have never seen certain colours in their life. Ever.  They are given a pair of EnChroma glasses that allows them to see the colors that they’ve never experienced before. And their reactions are priceless.

🙂 got you too, didn’t it?

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Equanimity was MIA but…

See my 30 day  journey unfold…

This journey was surprising. It turned out to be more complicated than I had planned. Consistently putting down something three times a day regardless of where you are is hard. It takes a certain commitment. When I was out of my studio- I noted the ‘feeling’ at the appropriate time and then came back and wrote. This exercise made me put conscious thought into how I felt. Regardless of all the events that might have happened in a day – at that point – was I happy, unhappy or ambivalent. Was there any balance – equanimity?

The start of the canvas board…ArtByAarohi_APR2015_ILML_02

I found myself thinking in 5-8 hour chunks of time. It forced me to not let either euphoria take over or let the bad times take on higher significance than was necessary. I find that I used far more orange and not nearly enough black as compared to what I thought I would in the beginning of this experiment. Equanimity was MIA but turns out I love my life 🙂
I was also able to better isolate what specific people and events trigger a ‘mood’. Just how much importance I give to those without conscious thought.

The heart that gave me hope. Can you see it?

On the morning of day 14 I was unhappy and I started to write in black and then I noticed a heart in the band of orange and reds. And a heart in red at that. Coincidental? It gave me hope but it did not lift the ‘unhappiness’. So I continued in black that morning….

I also learnt where my emotional, sub conscious and artistic leanings are. I did not set parameters on where I would write or even what size, in caps or cursive. It is interesting to see artistically in terms of positive and negative spaces what my ‘finished’ canvas looks like.

I think I can safely say that that at the end of my first 40 years – I am safe with me.

The finished canvas/board after a journey of 30 days and 90+ images…Artbyaarohi-iLoveMyLife-Final-April2015

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I love my life

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am hoping to document my mid life churn here within the pages of my blog. I am looking to paint narratives. Story telling through pictures. I started with my friend Rakesh and his dogs. You can see that series in the preceding few posts.

I am a positive person by nature though I do go through rough spots. I have been euphoric at points in life where I felt I was on Speed/LSD or some such drug even though I was not. And I have been down in the dumps enough number of times to understand the desire to leave it all behind. To end it all as it were. But my innate love for life, for connections, desire and passion always saw me through. Having almost completed 40 years of this life while still looking forward to the next 40. I am ready to document my inner mind scape right now. To share with you a series (hopefully !!) of self portraits through different mediums.

I hope to document as best and as honestly as I can my feelings for a period of one month. The resultant ‘painting/visual journal’ will be an attempt at a portrait of my emotional self. Written in three different sets of colours on this 20×20 inch board will be my thoughts – happy, ambivalent or unhappy.

Orange/Reds for happy,
Black for unhappy and
Blues/Grey for ambivalent.

Notice I do not use the word equanimity but ambivalence. For if I have moments of equanimity – rare as they are – that will be depicted in white.

I will write on this board – morning, noon and night.
9 Am.
2 pm and
10 pm.
Three times a day. For 30 days. Everyday for a month. But each time I will only write one sentence – I love my life. In different colours depending on what I feel at that moment in time.



I started this piece on the 5th of April 2015 and have been diligently keeping track of my ‘journal’.  I did not want to start on a stark white background. So I dropped some blue and green paint on the board and just let instinct guide my hands. These specific colours because I thought I would follow the colour code mentioned above as I have been feeling very ambivalent and on some days even unsettled for about six months to a year now. I hope to learn something about me so the blue background is in some sense to connect to the past while I get ready for the future. The torn pieces of paper used in between are from my daughters notebook to represent continuity in change. And to show the myriad fractured events that make up the lines of my life.

It will be interesting to see which colour pre-dominates at the end of one month.

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Trust me

The conversation.

‘Please listen to me. I know what I am talking about. I have your best interests at heart. Trust me. I will go the distance with you. Nothing will happen to you while you are with me...’

I would imagine that of the 4000+ dogs that VoSD has rescued over the past few years and the near 500 that now stay permanently with Rakesh at his farm, this is the conversation he has had with each one. And he has meant and lived up to it too. Every time.


This painting is one more in a series of narrative portraiture that I have been working on the past few months. Story telling through pictures. Rakesh Shukla is the founder of The Voice of Stray Dogs (VoSD) and the inspiration behind The Poonchh Collection.


It is done with Acrylics and Charcoal on raw plywood. It is approximately 23×30 inches. I layered the base with torn paper and then put paint on it to get a sort of background ready to work on. The colours for the back ground came out of no specific thought or structure, just instinct. In hind sight it is interesting that it has the colours of my country. More so because while I am very patriotic, I know Rakesh cares deeply for our country and her people too. He is always trying to make things better for those less fortunate and believes progress lies in education. Rakesh is the founder of Mi TWB, Free Science and The Voice of Bangalore.

On a backdrop of torn/shredded/scattered, I wanted to paint a picture that is whole and complete in itself. No matter the jagged edges.The endeavour is not to be photo realistic but to capture more.
Intensity. Honesty. Hard work. …and Love.



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