Hi, I am Raka Mittra from Kolkata, India. Travelling is my passion and painting, an obsession!! I have been dabbling in art ever since the age of three and I haven’t EVER stopped!!
When I was a kid, I participated in all kinds of art competitions. I won prizes, and I represented my school, and later college, in various art events. The recognition that I got made me realise that art was my true calling.
I am now working as an Art Instructor for children of various age groups and nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing them weaving dreams and creating magic on paper with their little fingers!! And that’s precisely the point I’m trying to make – let children doodle on, let them give wings to their imagination, teach them some technical skills and, hey presto, you’ve got little artists in the making!!
Coming back to me, my passion for travelling has helped me to see the world with new eyes. I see magic in the littlest of stones, leaves and buds, I see magnificence in the changing colours of the sky, the shape of the clouds and the strength of a mountain.
Georgia O’ Keefe and Van Gogh have been my greatest inspirations. Something overpowers me when I see these sights. They take over, and I become the vehicle of expression, almost like a spiritual experience. I mostly paint places I have travelled to –places that have had an impact on my senses.
I try to hold onto the memories associated with these places through my paintings. I don’t restrict myself. I paint in all kinds of mediums: oil pastels, soft pastels, acrylics, charcoal, colour pencils, pen and ink, etc.
But , watercolour remains my first love! I love the transparency and fluidity of the medium and the absolutely delightful, unpremeditated, accidental effects it creates when the colours blend into one another. I use Artist’s Quality Camel watercolour paints . Of late, I have also started experimenting with Camel waterproof drawing inks and find the colours extremely versatile and fun to work with. I use them like watercolours by diluting them with lots of water and love the way they spread and create amazing patterns on the paper.
I also use Fuji Film Colours to add that extra vibrance to my watercolour paintings. I often work in mixed media where I use watercolour as an underpainting and paint over it with soft pastels or acrylics.
In my underpaintings, I often sprinkle salt over wet, runny paint and leave them to flow and dry overnight just so that they can create amazing textures and mottled effects that I wake up to! I then compose a painting that looks suitable over the underpainting . This painting below is an example of that process.
I mostly derive the subjects of my paintings from my own reference photos or travel pictures. Sometimes a photo taken many years back seems to ignite a spark in my mind and fuels my imagination and soon I’m ready to get going on another new painting!! It is almost like a journey, an ongoing process, and I cannot rest until I’m done with it! Sometimes, I end up overworking my painting and that is something I have to be really careful about!
At the end of the day, I can only conclude that I love my art, love the process and try to put in at least half an hour everyday to sketching, doodling, jotting down my memories on paper or creating worksheets for my students.
Sometimes I make quick little colour layouts in my sketch book so that they act as references for my future paintings. For these layouts I use Winsor & Newton watercolour pencils or sometimes Camel Oil Pastels.
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Thank you, Charlie O’Shields, for featuring me on Doodlewash and for giving me the opportunity to write about my creative process. You can check out more of my artwork and paintings at the links below!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!