Raina has always seen the world through the eyes of an artist. More even than most children, she marveled at Nature’s intricate patterns and was drawn to imagery depicting them. From a very young age she loved to draw and to play with color and demonstrated ability beyond her years. Painting brings her so much joy that she shares it with others not only through her own art but also via teaching art classes. She specializes in empowering beginners and those that consider themselves non-artists.
Raina paints primarily in watercolor or acrylic. Her themes have always been patterns, both outer and inner. Her abstract paintings are open to interpretation. The viewer interprets them according to the lens they are looking through. Some may see clouds where another sees waves, or outer space; and yet another may recognize a mood or emotion. Invariably viewers are moved by the lively brush strokes and vibrant colors.
Influenced in both her imagery and her love of color by her country of origin, India, Raina‘s signature image is the mandala. Mandala means sacred circle in Sanskrit. As one of the first artists to paint and teach mandala art locally, she brought a wealth of experience from her early years when she learned this art from mentors in the various states of her home country. Practiced daily as floor art on thresholds, porches, and the ground, and known variously in different regions of India as rangoli, alpana, kolam, the purpose traditionally is centering and connecting with the indwelling Divine, while blessing the space being decorated.
As a professional artist and art teacher, Raina has with great enthusiasm explored several art media including fused glass and encaustic paint, though watercolor and acrylic remain her regular media. She is proud to be a teaching artist and Artist in Healthcare. In her teaching work with all ages, she has worked since 1999 with a special population, hospitalized children, and she is employed by a children’s hospital to bring in art projects. In her work with seriously ill children she has often been generously supported by the Regional Arts and Culture Council and other grantors.
For the last 20 years, the famed Alberta Street neighborhood of NE Portland, Oregon has been her home. She was privileged to be invited to work alongside some of the early founders of the movement which transformed this area into an artistic enclave and host to a monthly art festival.
Currently she collaborates with her shamanic colleagues Faith Newton and David Lewis by painting, and then turning into necklaces, the exquisite, miniature functioning rattles they make, and with her mentor Karen Hefner by painting the spectacular sacred drums created by Karen. In these paintings, as in all her art,Raina expresses an intuitive relationship with her favorite subject matter. Universal themes and imagery speak of honoring the natural world and recognizing that we are part of it.