பரொபகாராய பலந்தி விருக்ஷஃ
பரொபகாராய வஹந்தி நத்யஃ
பரொபகாராய துஹந்தி காவஃ
For the benefit of others, trees fruition
For the benefit of the others, rivers flow
For the benefit of others, cows give milk
For the benefit of others is this body of yours (mine)
The ancient saying from the scriptures comes to one’s mind while speaking to Mrs Padmini Vasudevan, a guest in our country. Padmini is the sister of our SIS member, Mrs Lalitha Padmanabhan (Paddy). Padmini was interviewed by Mrs Srilatha Vijay, our SIS Committee member.
- Tell us little about yourself and how you started Painting?
I grew up in a traditional South Indian Family in Mumbai. My sister is a dancer. I started learning the Violin from a very young age. My father was a connoisseur of Carnatic music. I moved to Canada after my marriage and started teaching Violin at the Mahalakshmi Temple in Vancouver. I learnt art at the Toronto community College. I did not have any formal training in art. I self- taught myself by experimenting with different colours and various strokes and growing gradually in the process. Though I have had formal training in Music and have taught Violin for many years, I think art comes naturally to me.
- Your Main Area of interest is Wild life Paintings. Any particular reason for this?
I started my painting career as a Portrait painter, I moved on to Wild life paintings after a visit to Algonquin Park wild life exhibition where many renowned Canadian Artists had exhibited their works. I am fascinated by eyes. I think they are the epitome of emotions. I think they are the Key indicators of one’s self . I feel the eyes speak to me when I paint them and prefer the non-traditional way of painting the eyes in the painting first.
- Any Artistes whose style inspired you?
Although I like all styles of Art, I am particularly drawn towards Canadian Wild Life Artists Robert Bateman and Carl Brenders.
- You have been involved in raising funds for various Charities through your paintings. Could you tell us more about this experience?
I have been a home maker all my life but have always been involved in volunteering activities. After I started painting, I auctioned two of my paintings to raise money for Cancer research in Canada. We moved to Chennai about 3 years ago where I started to volunteer for the Chennai Dyslexic School as an art teacher. The school was in a pretty bad shape and needed funds for refurbishment. I decided to raise funds for this through my paintings. I approached the GM of Park Sheraton, who readily accepted to host our Art exhibition free of cost. The Press was also very supportive by advertising our exhibition free of cost. I enthusiastically approached my cousins and nieces who eagerly joined me in this cause and we started Different Strokes. We raised 13 lakhs for the Charity. I am also helping raise funds for the autistic Society in Chennai. I am now putting together paintings for the Kidney Foundation Chennai. Choosing the right charity is also a big challenge, but once you start it is like a Snowball there is no turning around.
- What keeps you motivated when things are tough?
I am fighting Cancer for the second time around. My family has always been my pillar of strength. My daughters are my source of inspiration and encouragement. They are also my critics. I do not think about tomorrow but focus and savour this very moment I am in. Books like Eckhart Tolle’s ‘Power of Now’ have had a great impact and changed the way I look at life. When I am low, I turn to Ramana Maharishi’s Gospel’s which helps to boost my spirit’s.
- Any words of advice for young children starting out as Artists.
Asian Parents, especially South Indians have a misconception that art is only Natural and cannot be taught. We push our children into learning music, dance or an instrument but never take art seriously. Let them experiment with strokes and dabble with colours. Being an artist is only an asset. It has a huge impact on our presentation skills and eye for detail and changes our personality as a whole for the better.
"The bee is more honoured than other creatures not because she labours, but because she labours for others". - St. John Chrysostom.
This is totally apt for describing Padmini who is getting ready for holding another art exhibition at Chennai , this time for a different charity. Paintings of Ganesha are taking prominence in addition to her wildlife collections.
Please join me in acknowledging the extraordinary woman who has chosen to be the Queen Bee devoting her skills and time for the benefit of the lesser beings.
If you want to be a part of Padmini’s cause and would like to contribute towards it please contact her through email@example.com You can learn more about Padmini from her blogs at www.vasudevanpadmini.blogspot.com