Thursday, November 21, 2013


Ashwini Doeskar's "Shri Adi Shakthi"

It's 4 am and as I am typing this, tears are rolling down my cheeks. Tears of joy and gratitude for being able to live a life that I have always dreamt of - meaningful, to the fullest and on my terms. Tears of pride for being able to celebrate my students and their amazing work through this post. This is a little tribute to all my loving students who came into my life as my "shining stars" and their artistic world of color which is woven by love, sincerity, dedication and passion!

If I am not for myself then who will be?
If I am only for myself then what am I?
And if not now, when?

-Rabbi Hillel

It's amazing to see how God sends us little hidden messages right when we need it . I was at the" Queen of Peace" high school in Oak Hills recently for an Art work shop and by accident I came across this quote that was posted on the bulletin board. Of the many quotes posted, these powerful words by the Jewish scholar "Rabbi Hillel" drew my attention instantly. Maybe it was God’s way of connecting with me and affirming my belief in life and the way I look at it. I have often wondered - If I don't love myself enough who else will? If I don't believe in myself then who else will? If I don't use the joy and the laughter in my life to brighten up someone else's , then what life am I living? And If I don't live my life to the fullest now...then when? 
For sure, HE and I share a very unique love-hate relationship. He has tested me in the past many a time and just when I was ready to give up , he showed me the light, gave me direction and strength to move forward by giving me my "Sundari" and my "Shining Stars". They came into my life when I was at an all time low and for the past five years my shining stars have stood by me like rocks, giving me unconditional and unadulterated love and support. I never ever thought that something that started out as fun would soon become a full fledged passion. I really look forward to those 3 hours with my children every saturday morning. So obviously in this festive month of November I had to feature something very close to my heart, something that is an integral part of me, something that completes me. And the only thing I could think of was showcasing the breathtaking artwork of my students and welcoming you to their mesmerizing world of Indian folk art - MADHUBANI, where art is pursued merely for its beauty sans any competition, pressure and deadlines.

Gusting winds, pouring rain and a tornado.... we dealt with it all. This was one of the most challenging photo shoots we’ve had so far for "Sage & Slingback".
I am thankful to all the parents for being so supportive of this photo shoot. A special hug to all my little ones who dressed up and happily posed for my camera. 

Left to right : With students Apsara Attavane, Avantika Vedam, Svanik Tandon, Madhu Prakash and Megan Mehta.
Together we created some beautiful memories to last a lifetime!

Left to right: Lekha Eswar, Poorna Kamath and Ashwini Deoskar.

Left to Right : Sonakshi Mutreja, Kuhuk, Aastha, Tanisha Dogra and Aanya Acharya

Left to right: Bianca, Aarushi, Tarini Mutreja, Aashna Dogra, Praniya Sachadeva and Ria Dhar.

With Komal Rao.

The sisters: Tanvika & Avantika Vedam, Tarini & Sonakshi Mutreja, Tanisha & Aashna Dogra.

‘Jayashree aunty, do you like Zayn Malik from One direction?’ ‘Oh I think Miley Cyrus's new hairstyle is pretty cool.’ ‘BTW, did you watch Krrish 3?’ ‘Jayashree aunty, we like your dress!’ - they chat away nineteen to the dozen. Then comes the English- Vinglish phase – ‘Jayashree aunty, it's not ello ( Indian accent), it's yellow ( American accent)’ They correct my accented English a million times. A HUSH sound comes from a visibly irritated me. ‘Focus, work and talk’ - I tell them repeatedly. Amidst all the chatter, giggles and fun emerges a wonderful work of art bursting with colors and innocence. I melt instantly and turn into a proud teacher of my talented students.

Aashi, my youngest student...

From "Kalinga Mardhana" to "Ardha Narishwara" stories are told, traditions are respected and the essence of this Indian folk art is celebrated. Madhubani acts as the invisible bridge that connect us to our roots, our culture and traditions.

A glimpse of our studio wall.

Love birds:

Vana Mayura:



Harmony: A beautiful piece of Madhubani art work by Poorna Kamath. See the repetition of motifs here.

Stunning art work by Komal Rao.

Surya Devata:

 This piece was created as a wedding gift for her sister, who  also supported her to learn this art. It took her 3 months to complete this.

Stunning work: "Gopi Krishna", don't miss the attention to details.

Veena Vani Sharadhe: ( Goddess Saraswathi).
This piece was displayed at the Asian art festival week in the year 2011 at MACY"s State street, Chicago.


I am Avantika Vedam, 7th grader from Kennedy Jr. High. I love athletics and to listen to music. I also like to follow fashion trends and learn make up and  hair- style tricks.
5 years ago I saw some Madhubani art works done by Jayashree aunty at her home. I was fascinated by this folk art and wanted to learn this form of art. So when the opportunity came to learn this folk art, I had to join.
To this day I still learn Madhubani and my favorite part of this folk art is when I get to color my drawing to life with the brightest and most vivid colors.


How can I forget the day ( March 14th, 2008 ) little Avantika walked into class with a bouquet of fresh flowers to wish me luck on the first day of my class? How can I forget the day she thoughtfully wished me my first "mother’s day" with a lovely card? How can I forget that lovely moment when she made tea for me at home, filled it in in a flask and offered it to me in the class in a china mug, knowing Jayashree aunty doesn't like disposables.

She's feisty, loud and dramatic. She is my Avantika, the one with a fantabulous traditional Madhubani hand. Her strokes are perfect and coloring skills amazing. She can easily turn something very ordinary to
an extraordinary piece of art. She is one of the most talkative kids in class and like her, her work speaks volumes. Thanks for being with me through this colorful journey Avantika and may your creativity grow two fold in the coming days. Girl, you make me teary eyed all over again!

Symphony: the red you see here is hand colored by Avantika.

Radha Krishna:

The black background you see here is also hand colored by Avantika.

Murali Mohana:

Gopala Krishna:


My name is Apsara Attavane, I am in 7th grade at Gregory Middle School. I love to dance, play with my dog and play sports. I have always loved art and wanted to be in an art class. I couldn't wait when I found out about this Madhubani class. The best part of learning this folk art is that it is relaxing, it's so detailed and makes me feel proud of the effort you put into it.


No questions asked, no classes missed, my wish is her command. She is Apsara for you, my most obedient student and a girl with the Midas touch. She walks in, quietly finishes her work and walks out. Her focus and dedication is her strength. Every art work that emerges from her hand is goose bump worthy. I can easily vouch for the fact that she has mastered the art of combining contemporary Madhubani art techniques with the traditional ones effortlessly and I can see her holding a solo Madhubani art exhibition soon.
Apsara, you came into my life 5 years ago and added beauty to it by your sheer presence and passion. I am truly blessed to be your teacher, wishing you all the best in life!


Nava Durga: 
The nine forms of goddess Durga: Shailaputri, Brahmacharini,ChandraGhanta,Kushmanda,Skandamata,Kathyayini, Kalarathri, MahaGauri, Siddhidaatri.

This art work was displayed at the MACY's State Street, Chicago in the year 2011 at the Asian art festival week.

Shri Durga: Traditional style of Madhubani combined with the contemporary style.

Padma Vyuha:  The circles and every little detail is hand drwn by Apsara. Don't miss the repetitive hand drawn parrot motifs.

This won a First prize at the arts festival at the Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital.

Madana Mohana:



I am Megan Mehta, an 8th grader from Kennedy Jr. High School. I enjoy playing tennis, running, writing and of course doing art work. I was introduced to Madhubani by my friend Avantika. Often during our play dates I got to see her creations and I fell in love with the intricate patterns and fine details. I too longed to have some of my own masterpieces. The best things  I have learnt about madhubani are the different styles.... traditional, contemporary and the use of colors.


Megan, my witty and fashionable one! Quiet and shy she is, but when it comes to her art work she is extremely vocal about what she wants. She loves playing with colors and I am sure that this is the primary reason she was drawn to this art. I have seen her progressing over the past few years and her work has gone through tremendous improvement making each piece frame worthy.
There's something about you Megan that I cannot put in words, something that makes you very special and close to me. Let the colors speak and your creativity bloom, thanks for being such a wonderful student!

Nari ( Woman):

Birds of life:

An Androgynous form of Lord Shiva with his consort Parvathi.

Milana: Meeting of Lord Rama and Sita Devi.


I am Svanik Tandon, a 7th grader from Hill middle school. I enjoy playing basketball and swimming. I play many instruments, a few being guitar, drums and self taught Piano. I taught myself how to draw and I am now learning Madhubani. I chose to learn Madhubani because it is creative and the art itself is so colorful  and bright. When my mom showed the pictures of this art work, I was immediately excited to start learning. The love how it is simple yet so complicated and the colors go so well together. The greatest part of Madhubani is using sharpies to make outlines and other designs.
I not only love the art but also the artist who teaches me.


He is Mr. Funny Bones, the only boy amidst a class full of girls and I am sure he loves all the attention. His sincerity and dedication to his work is commendable. He is his own critique and is always striving to outdo himself. He does his job with utmost honesty and loves to correct my English ( which I am totally OK with).
Svanik, thanks for taking time out of your busy school schedule and dedicating an hour of your time to this beautiful art. I look forward to seeing you, your work and your lovely dimples every saturday. Your sincerity towards your work will take you a long way in life....keep it going!!


Vana Vihara:

Dancing Peacocks:

Ardha Narishwara:


I am Madhu prakash, an 8th grader in Crone Middle School. I am  very passionate about arts and in my spare time I like to create colorful patterns and make it as a jewelry. During my first visit to Jayashree Aunty's house I noticed a colorful mural on her wall and was very eager to learn that art called Madhubani. I figured that there was no better way but combine my two passions art and culture. I think the best part about learning this folk art is learning the story behind each piece  and how it relates to our culture.


"Talent " is her middle name and though young she knows exactly what she wants to be in life. From jewelry making to cards, from crochet and knitting to oil painting, she dabbles in it all. This multi- talented young girl aspires to be a biomedical engineer  and conducts summer classes in crochet, jewelry and card making to save money for her higher education. With a steady hand and a clear goal, she is one of my most talented students. Her recent work " Padma Nabha" in Tantrik style Madhubani keeps you spell bound.
Madhu, It's my privilege to teach you this wonderful art and you truly are an inspiration for many of us!

Padma Nabha: The Lotus Navel: 
Brahma emerges out of Lord Vishnu's navel with goddess Laskhmi by his side. Lord Vishnu is lying on the multi hooded snake "Adi Shesha". 
This is loosely based on the Tantrik style of Madhubani where one colored ink is used.

The moon light dancing:

It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength and whoever loves much performs much, can accomplish much and what is done in love is well done - Vincent Van Gogh.


  1. Amazing post! What great artwork by such a talented group of kids......and kudos to you Jayashree for your quest and zeal to pass on this art form…...makes me want to join the class as well :)

  2. Jayashree, what a great post! Loved the drawings. 'If we don't love ourselves enough, who else will?' Very true. Thought provoking! Enjoyed reading it.
    Anu Nitin

  3. Jayshree, you are a very vibrant person- loving oneself is key in life and i believe it too. What a lovely artwork of kids and enjoyed reading about kids and their interest. Keep it going.

  4. Just beautiful Jayashree, you, your students and their art. Every drawing is done so beautifully and each painting showed the student's love for the art and their teacher!

    I salute you, your creativity and love for this art!! If I were in Chicago, would have been one of your students!
    Keep it coming. I love your site..colorful as well as inspiring.



  5. When we read on Avantika-we also had teary eyes.Thanks for carving a beautiful statue out her raw skill.Now she is full of self confidence.Thanks from our hearts-Gopal Prema (Grand parents-Avantika)

  6. I'm at loss of words to appreciate the excellent work done by the kids and you. Hands down stunning work by both students and the teacher. Good Luck with everything!


  7. Beyond me to imagine what children imagine/ think when they are making God paintings.... In the wonderful creation taught by you and recreated by your students........
    DEVA (God) created Manusya ( Man/ child)......GURU filled Gayan (knowledge/skill) into Manusya
    This is SRISTI ( re-creation here) or AVATAR ( human re creation of God forms) by Manusya!!!

  8. Just beautiful I loved the whole blog, creativity at its best! I am so happy that they are learning this art from you. You and your students are looking gorgeous. God bless you.

    Indu aunty

  9. Wow Jayashree.....only you could have protrayed our kids talent in such a beautiful manner.....thanx for sharing your knowledge with our kids and teaching them this art form in this country, so many miles away from the original birth place of Madhubani art....appreciate all your hard work in putting this blog together.....iinspite of the bad weather the photoshoots was beautifully done.....


  10. Hi Jayashree, I have been reading your blogs for sometime now but couldn't resist leaving a comment today. This particular blog is so inspiring and motivating to us and to all your students. I am sure this will make them go a long way in this art and life. Thank you.

  11. Truly Amazing! Loved each and every one of the artworks, the details and the colors! May you continue to add color to people's lives!

  12. Absolutely LOVED this post! This has got to be my favorite post. Loved the colors, the creativity, the sayings. So full of life! Can cheer anyone up. Hats off Jay!
    - Aparna Prabhu

  13. Absolutely stunning! Loved every piece of art kids have created..kudos to Jayshree for keeping this ancient art alive in US.
    I am equally impressed and inspired...

  14. Congrats Jay....this one is the BEST !! Doing all that extra work while continuing to live your passion takes a lot of effort and dedication of your part.....And I'm sure it is worth it all, knowing the difference / positive influence you will be in these little ( no so little anymore - they are growing up fast) kids life. Very Well Done Jay! I'm so happy for you !
    My art wall does look great I am must say...ahahahha

    Load of love, luck and wishes always....bhagya.

  15. Hello Jayashree,

    It is an amazing post. Each creation is beautiful and it shows the students' dedication and passion towards art. I would say that these students are just lucky to have you as a teacher.


  16. Vibrant & Colourful post Jayashree!! Breathtaking artwork by your Shining Stars and words flowing straight from your heart.....You are such a lovely person:))

    ~Rajul (Bianca's mom)

  17. Congratulations, Jay, on yet another stellar piece of writing combined with some vibrantly colorful pictures. Congratulations to your students too !


  18. Each piece of Art shows the Talent, Dedication and Hardwork of your students. Keep filling colors in everyone's lives:)


  19. Spell bound with the whole blog!!! The dedication of the students, the guru shows through in their works of art and most all the talent and love for the art.... So touching! I loved the quote...."If not now, when?"

  20. you struggle with your Sundari today we celebrate the small gods in our is a testament of life and its colorful and terrific ways. Life is truly as beautiful and colorful and full of stories and memories and drama as your art, your passion and these stunning creations! You touch not only these beautiful young minds and fill their moments with color and history and tradition but you touch each one of us. To realize the potential and power in these young minds, in their sincerity and their realize that they love what you speak the same language and share in this beauty...I can only imagine how rewarding and gracious you must feel. Live and dream on....because if not now, then when?

  21. Loved the post. Enjoyed all Art pieces.Congratulations to the teacher Jayashree & all the students for the great work.

  22. Loved the bright colorful art and the the artists. Really liked the way the whole content has an inspirational note. Jayashree you are very inspiring and am glad that I met you.

  23. Dear Jay,
    Kudos to your effort in teaching guiding and also creating this lovely blog.It seems you were destined to meet these young artists and inspire them to display and create the art which was hidden within,that also miles away from Mother India.The patience with which you taught& inspired them to bring out the best amongst each of them speaks miles about the dedication of the teacher and pupil.With your help this art I am sure will flourish in USA,our blessing are there for you and your pupils.

  24. Jayashree....... I have to say that this has gotta be one of your BEST Posts!! Not saying this because I'm in it :-) But because this post is coming Direct Dil Se!! I can see & feel your passion. You're so lucky to have such a talented and dedicated bunch of students and they in turn and lucky to have you as their teacher. A teacher who is more a friend ....... someone they can relate to and have fun with and in the process create beautiful pieces of art. I loved each and every piece and realized that there is so much to learn and that's exciting and I'm so glad I joined this fun group :-)
    Loved the quote by Rabbi..... so powerful and something I can totally relate to and something I believe in!!
    The pictures have come out superb! Who would believe that we were dealing with tornado, rains and windy situation that day. It was fun.
    All in all a very fun, colorful and inspiring post!!


  25. It's so humbling to see so much talent and passion in you and the fact that you are inspiring it in others as well. Great work, Jay.

  26. I loved this post Jayashree. You're lucky to have a bunch of super talented young people. So much creativity and so much passion for art in these kids is very overwhelming to see. All the best to you and your 'Shishyas'.

  27. My Teacher...full of energy....passion for art,beauty,fashion,food.....dedication and lot of hard work....lot of patience...
    Amazing !!!!!!
    All the best to you.
    Lekha Eswar

  28. It's amazing to see what you were able to bring out from these kids. It really reflects your passion, dedication and talent. Kudos to Guru for those lovely pictures of the kids and the artwork. Madhu is lucky to have you as a teacher within the neighborhood and she looks forward to the sessions with you.

    Anu & Prakash

  29. Jayashree, Loved the blog. It was mindblowing to see the artwork brought to life by your students (both young and old). May you bring joy to many more lives. Like you, I was inspired by the quote too. While the first line in human instinct or key to survival, it is the second line that requires cultivation and reinforcement. And you are living it, girl!

  30. Hi Jayashree, This is what we call " Bombastic".. Your Passion and Dedication are admirable and contagious keep the post going.. The people who saw the Padma Vyuha were mesmerized needless to say it came from you .

    Rohini and Ravi

  31. Most amazing! I have not seen anything like this in a long long time.
    -Dr. Nag Rao

  32. Most amazing! I have not seen anything like this in a long long time.
    -Dr. Nag Rao

  33. Beautiful form of Art!. Excellent work by Jayashree and her students. Really Commendable. No doubt you all show lots of dedication and passion for this extraordinary work.
    Surely, this blog and the artwork has kindled an interest for this Art in my 8yr old daughter!
    Congratulations to Apsara on her perseverance and the award!

  34. Fantastic Jayshree!! No words to express truly beautiful work!!

  35. It is wonderful Post. Salute your passion and dedication towards Madhubani Art. Jay you are an asset to all people around you. I am quite impressed with the art work of you little shining stars. Kudo's to all of them. Your writing skill are simply superb Jay. All your students are truly blessed to have you as their art Guru. God Bless you with loads of success in every thing you work at. I am one of your biggest fan.


  36. WOW, Jayashree, hats off to your dedication! I truly enjoyed this blog, infact my daughter loves artwork and so I shared it with you. When she saw me talk about this for minutes, she was like, "don't you wish we lived there so we could do this together?" She said this because the two of us take Kathak lessons :-) What a wonderful way to share? You are doing an amazing service to these kids! Kudos!

  37. Hi Jayashree, firstly I would like to congratulations for your splendid art work.....!!! Its excellent and the students are very lucky to have you as a teacher. I saw all the art work, each one is excellent and it has its own taste, creativity and so much of hard work gone in this. Please continue the art work you and your students have a great future and value for this work...All the best.....-:)

    Apsi (My Cousin) Congratulations dear!!!....Keep up the good work...

    Bindu Venkatesha

    1. Hi Bindu Thanks for the lovely almost crying ....have a spicy veggie nooooooooooodle in Sinagapore.

  38. I am speechless!! How beautiful! your students are such a talented bunch!! you must be one proud teacher. Kudos to you for doing a fantastic job of teaching them the finer nuances of madhubani. I will share this with my 9 year old who is an art enthusiast. If ever you decide to go the skype way, please let me know. We stay in VA and would love to be your students :).


  39. OMG it's been 5 days ......GURU your photography is amazing , your index finger is faster than krissshhh, Thanks for the beautiful ,.capture and i treasure these images forever ;) ~~~~~~~~~ h&k to Parvathi UMBRELLA MAN

  40. Jayashree,
    My name is Banu. I am Madhu’s aunt (Anu’s sister). I would like to take this opportunity to commend you on the excellent job you have done in bringing out the talent in these kids. Although I have not met you, I see the passion and zeal you have for arts and for your students. They truly are blessed to have you in their lives.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    I always knew you could do anything because you always give your fullest in everything you do. You proved me right with these art works! Your art work, along with other kids’ leaves me speechless.
    I am looking forward to seeing you continue to achieve great things in life. My best wishes to you.
    God Bless!

  41. Jay,
    Great job!
    I want to take a class.
    I will write to you.