An Endless Pursuit to Describe the World in Watercolor

An abstract series of peach, green, and blue brushstrokes on a white background.
Alexa Grambush, Fruit in your Oaxacan Bowl, 2022. 12 in x 16 inches. Acrylic on cold-pressed paper. Courtesy of the artist.

I am sometimes asked, “When did you decide to become an artist?” 

I don’t know that I ever did.

I know that I am moved by subtlety and season and the smell of jasmine. I know that it is important to me to be honest about myself to myself, to bear difficulty with humility and patience, and to draw ever-nearer to love and grace and truth. 

I know that I love sitting in the sun and reading fiction, or nonfiction. I know that I want to try to be a good daughter, a good friend, and a good sister. I know that I am oftentimes not. 

I know that I like to journal and remember and pray. I know that I am humbled by the people who have trusted me. I know that I love to laugh! I know what it feels like to be really listened to, and I know that I want to really listen.

I know that I am not as generous as I want to be. I know that, in so many ways, my heart is broken and, in so many ways, it has experienced healing. I know that I will die, and I know that makes so much about living very precious and important.

I know that I have had experiences so profoundly moving, so breath-catchingly painful, so quietly wonderful, and so sincerely miraculous that I felt compelled to carefully, reverently record them. I know that painting gave me a language to honor that they happened at all.

I know that I can’t distill the richness, the ache, or the longing into one earnest moment. I am gently reminded of the profound abundance of it all, altogether. I don’t know that I ever did decide to become an artist, but I know that as I try to fit it together as faithfully as I can, it looks, most times, like watercolor.

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