Henna in Watercolor

I have completed 13 watercolor floral design pieces over the last year and a half for my AP Portfolio. For every piece, I know exactly what to do, I have every step engrained in my mind.

First, I measure and cut the watercolor paper. 14 inches by 18 inches, always.

Second, I transfer my pencil drawing onto the final watercolor paper.
Finally, I go through the whole piece and fill the leaves and flowers with vibrant watercolor and intricate henna designs.

On every piece, I draw the henna designs in colored ink pens and color the flowers/leaves with watercolor paint. Most of the floral elements are filled with watercolor and occasionally some are filled with henna ink designs.

On my 13th and final piece, I created a garden with hundreds of jasmine flowers and a bush of azaleas. I was working on the small details of the hundreds of jasmine flowers. I had the finest paint brush, it was almost like a needle. I had such a regimented sequence of steps to paint each of those tiny flowers.

But then, I came to the azalea bush, still in the mode of the fine watercolor work from the jasmines. I then found myself using a paintbrush to draw the henna designs. It took me at least 5 minutes to realize that what I was doing was totally wrong and would ruin my piece since those flowers were meant to be filled with henna ink, not watercolor designs. I have never made henna designs in watercolor before.

Once I realized my mistake, I stepped back to observe my error. When I stared at that little part, I thought to myself that I had destroyed my final piece.

But, when I looked at the part as a section of the piece as a whole, I realized that it did not look all that bad. I learned that changing my ways from what I am accustomed to can have a positive effect in the end.

I am going to move forward with an open mind to make changes to things I am so used to. I will ultimately benefit from this undertaking.

— Avani Bansal, ‘21