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Rising Stars: Meet Supriya Kharod

Today we’d like to introduce you to Supriya Kharod.

Hi Supriya, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
After a brief yet exciting career as an art director in advertising, I realized it was exactly what I didn’t want to do. The hours were long and the schedule was uncertain. So, I decided to teach myself how to paint in watercolor (why not, right?). Turns out, I discovered, it was a highly unpredictable medium and a huge adrenaline rush!

With a lot of support and encouragement from my husband Ketan, friends, and family, I began painting more seriously. Initially, I painted on and off when our three children were born. But as they became more independent and started school, the time I could dedicate to painting also increased. In 2017, I began selling my art and prints at local art festivals and joined a watercolor society. Over the last five years, my watercolors have been in exhibitions and shows around the Austin area, in local galleries, and in the homes of collectors internationally.

My watercolors and sketches are inspired primarily by my Indian heritage and my excursions both around the world and, especially, in our “weird” city of Austin. My entire life has been filled with color and I try to reflect it in my paintings. I strive to share the same joy and freedom I feel with my audiences. As I look back, I realize that watercolor has helped the former perfectionist in me loosen up because I’ve learned to let the paint flow how it wishes and to enjoy the results. This mentality has spilled over into my non-painting life as well and has improved my overall way of living.

For me, striking a good balance between home life and painting can be challenging sometimes. I can get lost very easily when painting. So, I have to discipline myself and not start something I cannot finish within the time I have allotted for it. This may sound like a very unartistic way to approach painting, but “artist” is only one role I have in life – not the only role. Having time to attend my childrens’ and husband’s events, encouraging and celebrating their accomplishments (as they encourage and celebrate mine), and just being there for them is very important to me. Over the years, what I’ve learned from the medium of watercolor is how to let go. In the same way, I allow the paint and water to do its thing on paper, I have to allow life and life’s events to do their thing. And I go with it. If that means more or less painting time on a given day, it’s all good. But I strive to utilize and enjoy the present moment fully, in the way it presents itself – kind of a zen approach.

In 2021, I wrote my first book – Reflections on Art, Life, and Italy – which features my paintings and sketches of Italy, along with reflections on my art process and on life. In addition to watercolor and drawing, I am a martial arts black belt and instructor. I also enjoy vegetable gardening, playing the tabla (Indian drums) and guitar, spending time with my family, reading inspirational autobiographies, and trying to perfect Neapolitan pizza at home.

You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, or on my website:

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The main challenge has been me and my expectations. If I drop my expectations of what a painting “should” look like and instead allow it to reveal itself, I can paint stress-free. To do this, I have to give myself enough lead time for deadlines. Then, I can approach my art with a relaxed state of mind. When I am painting under stress (either because a painting isn’t working how I want it to or I’m too close to a deadline), the result is rarely good. So, I try my best to avoid that with good planning. Since things don’t always play out that way though, when I am working under pressure, I just hope I have built up enough mental reserves to draw upon during that time.

The second challenge is presented by the medium itself. Every watercolor painting is a new adventure. It is a very difficult medium to control as the paint-to-water-to-paper ratio involves a careful balancing act. Too much water and you have a mud puddle; too much paint and you lose the brilliance; and each sheet of paper is a unique blend of fibers that accepts watercolor slightly differently. Add to all of this atmospheric humidity and it’s like you have to be ready to adapt and respond. In many ways, for me, painting with watercolors and martial arts are similar. When sparring in martial arts, it’s not only about using the moves you know but also adapting to your partner, mentally anticipating the next move, and responding with the proper countermoves. Watercolor is the same.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I think what sets me apart from many artists is I paint exclusively in watercolors. I feel the medium is underrated and under-appreciated. Technically-speaking, it is a highly difficult medium to master. With acrylics and oils, you can cover your mistakes. You cannot with watercolor since it is a transparent medium, meaning each layer of color affects the one laid on top of it. I enjoy the challenge and watercolor keeps me on my toes.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
G. Kharod, K. Kharod

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