We had the good fortune of connecting with Geeta Pattanaik and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Geeta, the decisions we make often shape our story in profound ways. What was one of the most difficult decisions you’ve had to make?
Leaving my Supervisory Job in the public library job where I worked was the hardest decision I have had to make. I have lived in four countries over four continents, so to get the necessary qualifications in education to be able to work was not easy, but I got a Bachelors with Honors degree in English Literature and two Masters Degrees also in English Literature, in two different countries, to which I added a Librarianship qualification later on. It happened with hard work, put in by myself with the help of my family. I worked for 17 years in total in libraries in Britain and in the US. So, when it came to deciding whether I wanted to carry on or give up a job I loved, to pursue painting, which I have loved since childhood, I was not sure. But certain occurrences clarified my mind and purpose really fast. This time I decided to do something which would be meaningful, and not necessarily lucrative, and I took early retirement.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I love to paint in more than one medium, watercolor, oils, pen and ink drawing with a watercolor wash, and water-soluble ink pens. My favorite subjects are still life, architecture and landscapes. Floral paintings are really close to my heart and sometimes I set up a still life with flowers and incorporate other objects I have gathered, to include in the painting. Old architecture makes me want to sit down and do a sketch, taking photographic references of it, and then making a larger studio piece of it later on. Plein air painting is something I do as often as the temperatures allow. I have displayed my artwork in many venues and won several awards since 2007, a year after I started my journey as an artist.

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Downtown Riverside is a place where I paint a lot, and I have sketched and painted many of the older buildings in that area. The historic Mission Inn also draws many of us artists to paint it from different angles and at different times of the year, including at Christmas, when it is bedecked with lights. Another favorite of mine is Fairmount Park, which has a beautiful boathouse and a man-made lake, where there are many ducks and migratory birds. The whole surrounding is conducive to family activities, photography, fishing, boating and of course, painting. In general, there are stunning views around Riverside, because of the hills, valleys and mountains. In the winter, when there is snow on the mountains, every drive is a pleasure, and every shopping trip is a treat, just for the views.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My journey in art started with taking evening classes on and off at the University of California, Riverside’s Extension Center with Temecula based artist David Musser, who has since passed away. For a couple of years, I took classes with him, and he is the first art teacher I ever had. It meant a lot to me also that he saw how eager I was to learn, and gave me pointers now and then. He was also generous enough to critique some of my paintings, which I was working on at home.

Website: https://www.geetapattanaik.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GeetaPattanaikArtist/