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Rajita is an award-winning painter living and working in Alpharetta, Georgia. She was born and raised in India, where she was trained as an Electronics Engineer, later moving to the United States where she received a Masters in Finance from John Hopkins Carey Business School, and worked as an analyst. Through all those years, painting had been Rajita's constant companion, until her search for fulfilment led her to become a full-time artist in 2018.

Rajita has received the Merit Award at the Portrait Society of Atlanta Spring Exhibition, Stone Mountain, GA, and was named Juror’s choice “Best in Show” by Next Gallery, Denver, CO. Her paintings have been exhibited across the United States at various cities including NY and Chicago. 

Primarily painting in oils, Rajita concentrates on figurative painting and portraits. Since becoming a mother in January 2019, her little human took center-stage and creating became even more important as she fought to foster her own identity. Rajita is interested in telling stories of strength, courage, love, and vulnerability through each of her paintings. 

Currently a student with Juliette Aristides at the Aristides Atelier, Rajita's oil painting education is also the result of extensive workshops with artists - Alyssa Monks, Nicolas Uribe, Zoey Frank, etc. She is most influenced and inspired by her mentor and teacher Mia Bergeron at Townsend Atelier in Chattanooga, TN. 

Read more about Rajita's work on her website.


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In the age of graphic design, why do you consistently choose to paint and draw the old school way? As an engineer, I'd imagine you can easily adapt to using tech to make art. What attracted you to oil painting?


Any visual that’s appealing to the eye is about good design. Sometimes, I do wish I’d studied graphic design or architecture or anything related. I know now I’d have eventually found my way to Fine Art because my ultimate goal is to tell a story, to make you feel things. And representational art is probably the oldest form of expression. I definitely use tech in my practice and I plan on using it more as the tech gets better. But, anything handmade is about to become even more valuable (thanks to *cough cough * AI) and I love the tactile feel of the thick buttery paint on my brush as I take it to my canvas. It feels like delicate sensory play. You won’t find that richness anywhere in hue, chroma or texture like you would with oil painting. 

You're the sort of painter who loves the process of painting. Often, you spend many hours preparing the paints, the canvas, your studio, etc. (and share your journey on social media). Can you tell me why the process matters so much to you? Is the process a zen sorta experience for you? 


Absolutely, the process of creating a 3 dimensional feel on a 2 dimensional surface is exhilarating. I feel a high, because painting is f*ing hard. So, it’s highly satisfying when it works. The act of having your hands/brushes/tools do what your mind wants you to do is at a whole other level. You have to love the process, the process is what you’re involved in 90% of the time. The payoff is very short lived. Honestly, I prefer it that way! And I am in zen mode. It is my form of meditation. All the noise cuts out and I’m playing. You see why I do what I do! 

When we last spoke, you told me how you always lay out your palette in the same way - same colors in the same order. Why do you do this? Do you ever feel the need to include more colors into the palette? Or mix them all up? 

Color has become such an interesting thing for me lately. I think learning about color and harmonies will be my new focus. I lay my palette out the same way to make things easier for me. 

The process of painting is hard enough, the least you can do is create a kind of muscle memory of where each color is. I rarely ever use color right out of the tube. One can get those subtle transitions in a painting only by mixing your own colors. So when I’m painting my hand automatically reaches for the hues I need to mix the color I want. 


I definitely have guest stars and they sit on the side and If I like them enough they make it to the permanent line up. Mostly though, if you have a red, a yellow and a blue along with white, you are set! Most others are what you call convenience colors. 

How do you decide on your subjects? Do you paint whatever inspires you or do you have an image in mind that you seek out in reality?


I’m on the verge of creating something that’s been brewing in my mind for quite a few months now. I have the whole image in my head and I’ve even made sketches of it. Can’t wait to develop it, to make it come alive. I hope it turns into a whole body of work. 

I started out painting things that caught my attention every few months to now seeking out things to paint everyday, to want to create to tell stories. I’m loving my journey. My first love would have to be portraits and figurative work. I want to be able to capture the essence of the person in front of me as realistically as I can. Also, I love florals. Roses have a special place in my studio. I love getting to paint the nuances of each petal and leaf. 

Speaking of reality - how would you categorize your art? Is it impressionism, expressionism, realist, surrealist? I suppose you don't have to categorize it one way or another. Don't answer this if it makes you uncomfortable!


I’d call myself a naturalist painter. My intention is to make you want to touch it and experience it like it’s real. I guess that would come under the umbrella of realism with influences from Impressionism where a lot is said with little. I don’t mind the labels really. 

Looking Up, 2022, 9x12, Oil on Linen

Tell me about all the ateliers you have painted at, and some of the painters who've inspired your work.


I’m proud to say all of my teachers and my biggest influences have been incredible women artists. Mia Bergeron has been the very reason I believed I could actually become an artist. I studied with her at Townsend Atelier in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and felt a different kind of magic every time I stepped into that space. I learnt it is important to be a good human to be a good artist. They always have the bestest instructors in the world wanting to come over to teach and the energy rubs off. 


My first ever workshop was at New York Academy of Art with Alyssa Monks in 2016. She was someone I knew of way back when I was in India. She was making her presence felt across the globe, I felt like I was meeting a rockstar, and I found such a humble real person. She taught me my most important lesson of letting go. In art and in life! Letting go of my preconceptions and beliefs about what art is. I still can’t believe I had that experience so early on.


I’m currently studying with Juliette Aristides, an incredible force living in Seattle. She has been instrumental in training some of the biggest names in the art world and ran the Aristides Atelier for almost 23 years before she brought it online. She has an unquenchable love for learning and teaching, and beautifully weaves art history and philosophy into academic training. I’m learning how to see and interpret in a whole new way.


Does painting in studios alongside other painters help you focus more or give you a sense of community? 


It really does! And in this digital world it almost becomes essential. The artist life is kinda lonely (which I enjoy), but, when you meet another artist going through the same things, it makes it easier and keeps you going, because you’re not alone. However, an artist has to go through a lot of inner work to create the paintings they want to make. So a little bit of solitude is essential too.

You have displayed your work at various galleries and spaces. Could you name some of them, and what you loved about sharing your work with a wide audience. Do you like talking to art enthusiasts about your art (or do you hide away)? 


I’ve had my work displayed at Abend Gallery in Denver,CO, I've been a part of several shows at Alpharetta Arts Center, Portrait Society of Atlanta, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and a few others in Chicago, IL and New York. I love being a part of these shows, because you get to meet other artists, see other perspectives, and most importantly, you get to see art in person like it is intended. Art wasn’t meant to be consumed on the phone for 10 seconds while you scroll away to other things. I’ve come to realize that each painting has a presence, it has an aura that can only be experienced in person. It has the power to bring out feelings in you, to move you in ways you didn't think were possible. It feels like magic. 


I hope that’s inspired you to go seek out a galley near you!


I love talking about art. I want to inspire more and more people to draw/paint. Art has a healing function. 

Reading in the Park, 2022, 8x10, Oil on Wood

As a plein air artist, you often spend hours outdoors, painting. Can you explain why this is rewarding to you? Why not paint from your imagination or from a photograph? Surely, it cannot be fun to paint outside on super hot/extremely cold days. 


I don’t paint outdoors in extreme weather, but I love being out in nature. I love the quiet. It feels meditative. As a mom I definitely crave it more than ever before. I just finished a 5-day plein air event called Paint the town Alpharetta. 


The best part is I get to paint from life. I’ve spent the last 2-3 years consciously painting from life and I think that has drastically improved my art. I’m able to better interpret the colors and tones, the light and shadows, and improve my compositional skills. A photograph flattens everything and has already been composed for you (Even if I paint from photos, I’ve learnt to use multiple references rather than rely on just one). 


On behalf of closeted painters - how did you get over your insecurities? You started painting professionally in your late twenties/early thirties. I know you're not a competitive or attention-seeking sort of painter. Still, did you/do you feel the pressure to display/sell your work? 


Honestly, I didn't think I was very creative growing up. I really thought either you’re born an artist or you’re not. I'm so glad I eventually realized that just like with anything else, art is a skill you can learn and get good at. You have to nurture your creativity. Inspiration is all around. All you need is the interest to do the work. 


Another thing I had to get over was mainstream society’s conditioning that I was smart/successful only if I was doing something in the corporate world. I realized quickly, being an artist is like running a startup. It’s a one woman show for me. I run my own website, I do the packaging and shipping, and I do my own admin, social media and marketing. I apply to different events/competitions/shows. I’m not attention-seeking and there’s absolutely no pressure, but I definitely function like a professional, i.e., I show up even if I don’t feel like it. My intention is to sustain my studio and make it financially independent (cuz art supplies are crazy expensive). I put no monetary pressure on myself to sell paintings anymore (I did in the past), because they take on a life of their own. They have their own destiny. So, I will put in the effort to make sure they get the opportunity to be experienced by as many people as possible. That’s all I can do.

The Nap, 2023, 9x12, Oil on Paper

Finally, for anyone thinking about painting - what's your advice?  


I say go for it. It is the most spiritually satisfying act. Art has the power to move our hearts and quieten the mind. Find a teacher you admire and study it. Make it a life long endeavor. 

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