Renuka Pillai was born in Kandy, Sri-Lanka. She grew up in East Africa and her artistic career began in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where she joined the Addis Ababa Fine Arts School and completed her undergraduate degree. She travelled to Europe and was exposed to many styles of art. She got her Master's Degree in Art in the University of Montana and has moved to California where she continues to be inspired by the light and natural terrain.
Her work started with realistic renderings from life, later it took on an impressionistic flavor. She took and interest in studying abstraction and currently enjoys painting plein air and does realistic renderings of human imagery from life.
She does commissioned portraits and pet portraits.