MMoA Artists Share: Lavanya Shubhakar

We are thrilled to welcome and introduce Lavanya Shubhakar to the MMoA Education team. Lavanya comes to us as a teacher and administrator from the Groton Montessori School with an extensive background in childhood education coupled with her passion for art.  We look forward to seeing all the amazing art she has planned for our studio programs this year!



“As a teacher, I believe that it is important for children to develop a positive attitude and appreciation towards other cultures. Among the varied art techniques that I teach my students are art-forms related to culture from around the world such as Rangoli, Henna, Madhubhani Art, Kundan art, Meenakari Art, Dot Painting, Mandala Art, Mosaics, and Tinga Tinga Art.”



Art Projects with Lavanya

Lavanya shares with MMoA projects that kids and families can do from home.

Scroll down to watch these project videos!



The Hawaiian Plumeria


“Plumeria flowers, also known as Lei flowers grow on small trees that are native to tropical regions. They are fragrant flowers that come in multiple colors like white, yellow,red and pink. These bright and bold flowers stand out among the large green leaves of the tree.”


Majestic African Sunset and the Mighty Elephants

Step by step in oil pastel:

Step by step in acrylic:


Baby Yoda


Celestial Vibrance – Fireworks in Space


The Decorated Peruvian Llama

“Llamas, the animals that are native to Peru and other South American countries, are related to camels and have been domesticated for thousands of years. During the Incan civilization, they were used as resources for food, clothing, and fuel, and also as pack animals! They are still used by the locals in Peru in the same way.
Llamas are gentle creatures, social by nature and can easily be trained. They are used to guard livestock such as sheep from predators. Llamas can form bonds with such animals.
Long neck, large eyes, and curved ears are some distinctive features of a llama. Their hair color varies from black, white, gray, brown to red and grow from 3 to 8 inches in length.
In Peru, llamas are tagged with bright colorful tassels on their ears and around the neck. These tassels are used not just for decoration, but also to distinguish male from female llamas, and which village and owner the llama belongs to.”

Lavanya created this lesson with one of her favorite students in mind – Lilie who loves llamas!


Paisley Peacock

“Paisley, an iconic motif that originated in Persia and India centuries ago, has different symbolic meanings in different cultures. It represents different objects such as mangoes, cashew fruit, sprouting date palms, almonds and flower buds. It also represents harvest-time. The paisley design is often seen incorporated into the weaves of beautiful Kashmiri shawls, Indian sarees, and painted on decorative showpieces. It has been called by different names in different regions- bootar in India, bota in Netherlands, palme in France, and peizuli in Japan.

Paisley Peacock is a mixed media artwork of the fusion of two beauties, the peacock and paisley. It is a combination of design drawing, water color techniques, dot painting as well as Kundan technique.”


Rangoli Art & History

“Learn about the history and cultural significance of Rangoli, a beautiful floor art of India that has existed since the ancient times. Learn how to create simple traditional Rangoli as well as some easy tricks and cheats the children can use to create their own designs at home.”



Click the links below to watch the video tutorials:

Rangoli Cultural Art Lesson Part 1

Rangoli Cultural Art Lesson Part 2


Multicultural Cooking for Children

“Here is a cultural lesson as well as a cooking lesson video I made for my Montessori children at school. I thought I would share it here as cooking is an art too. If you are looking for a simple cultural recipe to make with your child or for yourself, please feel free to download the video and try it!”


Creating a Padma Mandala: Free Art Tutorial

“Here is a step by step art lesson that I put together as part of a series of my multicultural art lessons. If you are looking for a cultural art lesson for a home-bound child or if you want to create your own art and experience some peace, please feel free to download the video or share it with friends. Please leave any questions you may have in the comments and I will be happy to get back to you with answers. This lesson is suitable for children ten years old to adults, but can be easily adapted to suit younger children.”



About the Artist

“I am a teacher and administrator of a small Montessori school in Groton, an artist, art instructor and a mother of two beautiful daughters. I have been passionately creating art since I was a child. Whether it was when drawing the features of a plant cell in biology class, or when drafting in the engineering drawing class, or when painting murals on walls as a teenager, one thing was always evident- the feeling of joy and satisfaction that art ignited in me. I am a self taught artist, learning through trial and error while exploring and refining techniques and styles with a variety of mediums. My biggest artistic influence was my dad, an engineer, an architect who specialized in town planing. He would tell me about how he was inspired by a boy, the son of a bill board painter in Bangalore, India, who sat next to him in school and sketched beautiful designs and fancy 3D letters. And now, I tell my girls how I was inspired by my dad watching him create city plans and beautiful artwork. For the past 30 years or more, honing my artistic skills has been a continuous journey for me. 

I create customized art that captures treasured moments in time. My goal is to help the viewer not only visualize the moment, but also feel its emotion. I try to pour life into important subjects and objects by playing with light, texture, scale and focus. I work with a variety of art media, use a variety of art techniques, and at times combine media and techniques in my artworks.” 


Photo above: Recent painting on canvas entitled The Wheel (24″ x 36″)

“This artwork was inspired by the architecture and the ornate wheels of the Konark Sun Temple of Odisha. Hundreds of hours of work has been poured into this piece. Intense detailing and texturing give it a three-dimensional effect. You could call it a cross between painting and sculpture.”