Rajalakshmi Padmanabhan describes a hobby as something that gives one great joy.
A Tanjore painter, Rajalakshmi added her first stroke to a figure of Ganesha in 2008. She says, “After spending over 25 years in a joint family, we moved into our own house in 2008. I had a lot of free time and wanted to spend that doing something meaningful. Every time I paint, I get a lot of happiness and peace of mind.”
She believes that everyone must take time out for their passion and for this, planning is very important. She explains, “I plan my activities the previous night. My day starts at 5 am, which makes it easier for me to finish my household chores by 11 am. This gives me a lot of time to engage in the activities that I like.”
Apart from devoting her time to Tanjore paintings, she also likes gardening, playing the ‘veena’ and experimenting with stitching. But it is her paintings that are garnering maximum attention, whether it is through word-of-mouth or social media. “I started painting initially because I had a lot of free time.
But over the years, painting has become a part of me. The thrill I get when I start a new painting and the joy of completing it are inexplicable. I want to make this passion permanent, and share this experience and art form with people who are interested,” she says.
She adds, “I have started participating in exhibitions recently. This gives me a lot of exposure and I can build a lot of connections with people of similar interest. I have received a lot of positive feedback at some of these exhibitions, which keeps me going.”
Speaking about what motivates her, she proudly says, “The suggestions and feedback that my husband and sons give me really help me improve my artworks. They have always supported my creative side.”
Adding an anecdote, she explains, “I remember the time when my sister-in-law and I bought a Tanjore painting as a gift for a family member. As I was looking at it in admiration, my mother-in-law asked me if I wanted to join classes, and that she would pay my fees. Till today, I remember her words every time I start and finish a painting.”
With her family’s constant support and her strong will to continue working on her passion, Rajalakshmi now strives to share her bit of knowledge about this artform with others so the beauty of it stays alive.
“I have recently started taking classes on Tanjore painting and have two students as of now. I want to share my experiences with people so that this historic artform never dies,” she says.