This Bengaluru artist's paintings of heritage homes is helping preserve the architectural legacy of the city

Bengaluru-based artist Rachana Mahadimane works on watercolour paintings centred around heritage structures to raise awareness on preservation

author_img Sanath Prasad Published :  11th April 2022 07:19 PM   |   Published :   |  11th April 2022 07:19 PM
Rachana Mahadimane’s watercolour paintings

Rachana Mahadimane’s watercolour paintings

Rachana Mahadimane spends her early morning on the streets of Bengaluru riding a bicycle. She rides from her home in Jayanagar to Mekhri Circle and back. The morning rides definitely help check-off her fitness goals, but at the same time also assists her in finding subjects for her watercolour paintings. From heritage homes and temples in Basavanagudi to the Raintree bungalow on Sankey road, the morning cycle rides have piqued her interest into the lesser noticeable landmark locations in Bengaluru. Not just Bengaluru, she is now working on a collection called ‘Ode to Mysore’, a series of watercolour paintings chronicling heritage houses and cityscapes of Mysuru, including S Radhakrishnan’s bungalow, Devaraja market, among other places.

The 31-year-old is a trained architect who graduated from the M S Ramaiah School of Architecture. However, she quit architecture in 2015. “Architecture was stressing me out. I had to be on site most of the time, including Sundays, which took a toll on my physical and mental health. That is when I decided to quit and do what I loved the most- travel journaling. I extensively travel with my husband and document my travels in a sketchbook. Travel also fuels most of my artwork and that is when I decided to work on watercolours – which has been part of my life since childhood,” says Mahadimane, who also sells her original watercolour artwork on request over Instagram. 

Mahadimane picked up plein air painting (the art of painting outdoors) from Bengaluru-based watercolour artist Madhu Kumar over a 10-weekend workshop course. After which her cycle expeditions in Bengaluru in the last two years became a source of inspiration for her creations. “It is very challenging to do plein air painting in Bengaluru because of the bustling crowds. Although sketching heritage and colonial buildings are not difficult, a lot of caretakers at these buildings do not encourage painters to do their work,” says Mahadimane, who carries a pocket sketchbook and art palette to do plein air painting. 

Some of her works in watercolour paintings include a temple in Basavanagudi, the Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple, Bowring Institute, Venkatappa Art Gallery, Mayo Hall, and also paintings of mundane activities in the city. “Unlike painting with acrylic or oil paints, watercolour is a one-brush stroke, where you cannot undo mistakes. This is what excites me the most. Plein air painting is another character that captures the right light and atmosphere when you are painting live. I spend at least an hour and a half at the spot to finish the painting. This method has instilled a lot of patience in me over the years,” says Mahadimane, who is also mulling over the idea of a heritage book documenting lesser-known heritage sites in Bengaluru through watercolour painting. “I grew up around a lot of heritage sites in Mysuru. I want to raise awareness and highlight the importance of preserving such heritage structures through my artwork,” adds Mahadimane.