This Bengaluru artist’s heritage house paintings help preserve the architectural heritage of

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The watercolors of Rachana Mahadimane

Rachana Mahadimane spends her morning on the streets of Bengaluru riding her bike. She rides from her home in Jayanagar to Mekhri Circle and back. Morning walks certainly help her check her fitness goals, but at the same time also help her find subjects for her watercolors. From the heritage homes and temples of Basavanagudi to the Raintree Bungalow on Sankey Road, morning bike rides piqued his interest in Bangalore’s less visible sights. Not just Bengaluru, she is now working on a collection titled “Ode to Mysore”, a series of watercolors chronicling Mysuru’s heritage homes and cityscapes including S Radhakrishnan’s bungalow, Devaraja market, among others.

The 31-year-old is an architect by training and graduated from MS Ramaiah School of Architecture. However, she left architecture in 2015. “Architecture stressed me out. I had to be there most of the time, including Sundays, which took a toll on my physical and mental health. That’s when I decided to quit and do what I loved the most: keeping a travel diary. I travel a lot with my husband and document my travels in a sketchbook. Travel also fuels most of my artwork and that’s when I decided to work on watercolors – which have been part of my life since childhood,” says Mahadimane, who also sells his original watercolors on request on Instagram.

Mahadimane discovered plein air painting (the art of painting in the open air) from Bengaluru-based watercolourist Madhu Kumar during a 10-weekend workshop. After which his cycling expeditions in Bangalore for the past two years became a source of inspiration for his designs. “It is very difficult to do outdoor painting in Bengaluru because of the busy crowds. Although drawing heritage and colonial buildings is not difficult, many caretakers of these buildings do not encourage painters to do their work,” says Mahadimane, who carries a pocket sketchbook and an art palette for painting outdoors.

Some of his watercolor works include a temple at Basavanagudi, Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple, Bowring Institute, Venkatappa Art Gallery, Mayo Hall, as well as paintings of mundane activities in the city. “Unlike acrylic or oil painting, watercolor is a one-shot brushstroke, where you can’t undo mistakes. That’s what excites me the most. Plein-air painting is another character that captures the right light and atmosphere when painting live. I spend at least an hour and a half on location to complete the painting. This method has given me a lot of patience over the years,” says Mahadimane, who is also considering the idea of ​​a heritage book documenting lesser known heritage sites in Bengaluru through watercolor painting, “I grew up around many heritage sites in Mysuru. I want to raise awareness and emphasize the importance of preserving these heritage structures through my works,” adds Mahadimane.

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