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Like many artists, Vanaja started painting while working a full time job. She was always artistic, but it was not until 1995 that she started painting in earnest. After overcoming a serious accident in November 1996, she resumed her efforts to enjoy fulfilling her aspirations in 1998.
A Toronto/Mississauga artist, Vanaja received her foundation in painting from Douglas Purdon, and through portraiture classes at the Ontario College of Arts and Design.
Most of her work is a visual narrative inspired by her extensive travels. All this is reflected in her paintings in the wide array of subject matter capturing those moments, or in capturing nature and the brilliance of forests and flowers. She also paints pet portraits for charity, after adopting Spooky, a rambunctious kitten, in 2021 from the Mississauga Humane Society.
Her paintings have been exhibited in a number of juried group shows. She has also undertaken several commissions for portraits and landscapes.
She is a member of:
· The Art Guild of Scarborough (on the Executive as Exhibition Chair since 2016)
· Arts on the Credit (AOTC)
· East Central Ontario Art Association (ECOAA)
· Central Ontario Art Association (COAA)
· Oakville Art Society
Her many awards include winning the 2023 Third Prize at the Ellora Plein-air Festival, and those for “Best Oil”, “Best Acrylic”, “Special Merit”, “Honourable Mention” and “Award of Excellence”.