Rajendra KC: A Professional Artist from Nepal
by Michael Potashnik
Rajendra KC (Raj) is one of Loudon Sketch Club’s most accomplished artists. Born and raised in Nepal, Raj came to the US in 2007 and settled in Falls Church with his wife Shanti and his two children. Over the past 16 years, Raj has become an outstanding plein air artist, winning many awards for his paintings and receiving invitations to participate in plein air art shows and festivals around the country. Most recently he was invited to a plein air show in Texas where he was voted “Best New Artist.”
Raj’s achievements are especially noteworthy, as they did not come easily. Growing up in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, Raj showed a keen interest in art at an early age but the opportunities to study art were limited. After high school, and with the support of his parents, he developed his skills as an artist attending the Sirjana Contemporary Art Gallery where he studied drawing and painting. In his first job while working for the government, he spent weekends travelling to different parts of the country where he painted landscapes en plein air. Reflecting on that period, he fondly notes: “Nature was my first art teacher.”
As a young man, Raj was unsure he had the talent to become an artist. However, his younger brother helped him come to that realization through serendipity. As he tells the story, when Raj was in high school his brother signed one of Raj’s paintings as his own and entered it into a competition where it won first prize! According to Raj, that “ opened my eyes “ and convinced him that he had talent for painting which he later pursued with the hope of becoming a professional artist. And we are glad that he did.
With a visa of the “DiverstyVisa Program” in hand, which he had won in the lottery, Raj came to the US in pursuit of a career as an artist But it was by no means an easy undertaking. In fact, according to him, the first five years were very difficult ones for him and his family. While he had little time for painting, he was able to start selling his art at the Falls Church Farmer’s Market. And, soon thereafter, he began teaching watercolors and later plein air painting at the Falls Church and Great Falls art centers. He also began entering numerous shows where he won prizes for his paintings.
Raj is primarily a landscape painter and has developed a definite style to his paintings. They are noteworthy for their light, freshness, and lively colors. He is a master at composition and an excellent illustrator. He is an admirer of Van Gogh for his use of light and creating mood in his paintings. He also acknowledges learning a great deal from other talented master artists. He has also benefitted greatly from his membership in the Loudon Sketch Club which he joined in 2018.
Raj continues teaching painting in Falls Church at the Falls Church Gallery and in the Art School in Great Falls. He is a wonderful teacher who gives a great deal of personal attention to each student, helping them to improve their painting skills. To quote Raj he “teaches to create, not to produce.” His approach to teaching is mainly through demonstration, showing each student how to paint the particular picture they bring to class. He will often take over the painting of a beginning student’s picture to show them how to define a light source, values, and colors of their painting. He is very encouraging and provides very positive feedback which students appreciate.
While still in the early stages of his career, Raj had his best year ever as an artist in 2022 receiving numerous awards and selling many of his paintings. Looking ahead, he is sure to continue with his highly successful career as a plein-air artist and teacher.
Raj is available to answer any questions by email: firstname.lastname@example.org