3 Things Today Reminded Me Why I Love What I Do as an Artist

I recently experienced a day in my working artist’s life that was just so simply wonderful and fulfilling that it reminded me why I love what I do, enough to keep on doing it despite hard days, so I thought I’d share here.

Wednesdays are usually the most jam packed part of my week, some days dashing from teaching one art class in one state, then quickly hopping the border again to teach a private art lesson in another state (mind you, we only live a stone’s throw from the border). Between that are various meetings, virtual and in-person or on the phone, researching connections and following up leads for the business of being in the art industry.

All in one day I got to: 1) start a collaboration with an artist, 2) teach kids art lessons, and 3) share my passion for working with clients on painting commissions.

I started by meeting with a fellow artist for tea at my studio, and discuss a collaboration we’re both very excited about (more info to come about that at a later time!). Her ceramic work and my rain paintings could easily have a conversation across the room together, and it was so refreshing and restorative to chat with another artist friend and brainstorm ideas for our collaborative exhibition. We discussed how we can plan our respective artworks to respond to artworks by the other artist, sharing our stories and touch points behind our work. We have loosely mentioned in passing, “we should exhibit together sometime,” but to actually get it the ball rolling on it was motivating! I left the meeting hopeful, inspired, and honored to be able to work with this other artist on this project. Having this collaboration conversation started gives me some goals to work towards already for next year.

After that, I met a friend for lunch at a local joint that also happens to have my paintings on the wall. It was nice to catch up and laugh and reconnect after the stresses and chaos of the holidays and more.

In the afternoon, I teach private art lessons after school for a 3rd grader, followed by private art lessons with an 8th grader. I’m always amazed at the wonder and high energy level of the 3rd grader, who is super exuberant and engaged with every single art class we have. If there was an Energizer Bunny of art students, this is the one — I wish I had her energy level sometimes! With my 8th grade art student, our art lesson vibes are much calmer but more in-depth. I was super proud of my 8th grade student this week as we worked to help prepare her portfolio for application to a high school with a strong arts-focused program, talking over concepts and strategies for expressing a cohesive message in her art, in addition to showing skill in the portfolio samples. Seeing her light up when talking about how important art is to her life reminded me of why I love teaching art with kids and teens gearing up for their artistic futures (Edit: I later found out she got accepted to the program! Proud art teacher moment! 🙂 )

After these art lessons, I tidied up my studio for a Zoom chat with a couple who were interested in commissioning a painting, after seeing similar paintings of mine hanging in their local coffee shop. Our video chat went really well. I was so excited to hear this couple share stories about the meaning, memories, and feelings that they had tied to a particular location they wanted me to paint– where they had hiked up a very challenging ascent and took in the extraordinary view from the summit. I get very passionate about painting commissions — they’re one of my favorite aspect of the myriad of art-related things I do. I get animated when talking over painting commissions because they enable me to channel the commissioner’s love of their subject and bring that vision to the canvas through paint, and in my signature style incorporating rainy days.

This is an example of a commissioned rainy triptych painting I did for a family.

At the end of the workday day, I closed my day planner of completed checkmarks, switched off the light to my art studio, and turned in for the night feeling inspired, highly motivated, and fulfilled. There are many, many days when I wonder, “Why am I even bothering to make my art my profession?” There are days of failure and rejection. But THIS day was a reminder of all the things I love to do as part of my job: collaborate and connect with other artists, teach and inspire young people to pursue art, and to talk with folks who want to commission a painting and the excitement of anticipating bringing that vision to life on canvas.

People ask me why bother being a professional artist. Days like today provide the spark I need to remind me of why I love my job being an artist.

Thinking on Hearts Lately

I create paintings of rainy days — essentially skies, land, and water scapes. If you can imagine a landscape, I can imagine that same landscape as a rainy vision on canvas.

This February, I was out for a walk in the woods nearby my studio. I usually walk on most days, but this one was pretty cold and I almost slipped on ice a handful of times. Normally when I’m out on my walk, that’s the time when I get to clear my head before tackling any of the day’s painting production, marketing tasks, communications, or any other general business obligations for the work day.

I’ve been thinking about the heart a lot lately. January 31st was National Inspire Your Heart with Art Day, and I’ve probably been rolling in that thought process ever since. As I was walking a tiny thought popped into my head — what if I used the simple form of a heart as the inspiration for a rainy-method painting? My mind brought up two very specific compositions, which I hastily sketched out when I returned home from my stroll.

The first was a simple pink heart, light pink, floating in a field of dark purple, lighter purple at the top of the background grading into a dark red-purple at the bottom. The second was almost the inverse of the first sketch, a deep purple colored heart floating in a realm of light pink descending into red, each heart with a slight shadow under the bottom point of its heart. Valentine’s Day was right around the corner, so I thought, why not have some fun trying something different?

I aimed to keep the shapes simple as I applied a plethora of very thick daubs of paint all over the canvases. Lately, Tuesdays and Thursdays I’ve assigned as my designated painting days. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I will start a rain painting. I don’t aim to “finish” a painting on either of these days, as my rain paint process dictates when a painting is “done” only after several days. I started the pink heart on Tuesday, the purple heart I started on Thursday.

I have been working on smaller canvases since restarting my art in January, after just about a year-long absence from the studio. In order to warm up to painting again, I’m choosing small canvases 8×10 and 12×16 inches to create and feel achievable without being overwhelming, and I’m gradually moving up into larger and larger canvases, until I get back to my “show pony” gallery exhibition size of 30×40 inches.

To say I was putting my heart into these two heart paintings would be a bit a little too literal, but it also wouldn’t be too far from the truth. After an intense couple of years in which my heart was broken or mourning from pain, grief and loss, just to paint something like a happy, healthy, brightly-colored heart was a measure of progress in itself. I was even worried that people might think my painting a heart would be too tacky, corny, or off-putting from my usual nature-inspired rainy landscapes.

I was pleasantly surprised by how well received these two little “heartspiration” paintings were by friends, family, and social followers of my artwork. When they were finished, the first painting was a prize for a fun giveaway, and the second went to a spontaneous decision to whomever had the best offer out of the first three to bid on it. I’ve never actually done that specifically with my paintings before, but it was a fun exercise in just letting go of my hearts and having some fun in connecting with people. The hearts were more popular than I had anticipated, because I had to evaluate them at first by timestamp because the offers came in at the same time!

In conclusion, this February has been a small exercise in putting my art “heart” back out into the world, to be open to new things, be vulnerable, be hopeful, and embrace light and the goodness of people.

Rachel Brask Art at The Burgundian: More Info

ABOUT RAINY PAINTINGS

While many see rainy days as gloomy, I see rain as necessary for new life, pause, and renewal. I paint rainy impressions to show new perspectives on finding tranquility and beauty in stormy seasons. I see how sheets of pouring raindrops distort scenes beyond, blending colors and shapes together to drip down glass. Colors seem more saturated in rain, and the storm interrupts everything. After I create detailed pointillism landscapes, I use gravity and stand-oil and a brush to wipe them out, leaving a flawed and different outcome, that I then reshape into something embracing imperfect beauty and tranquility. I take on the changes that come from working intensely on editing and blending the remaining drips and paint smudges. In today’s increasingly chaotic and uncertain world, I want a person to be able to look through my rainy day “windows” and find a peaceful, contemplative moment, to take space to breathe and reflect. Our experience in the storm deepens our experience of sunny days.

Rainy Moment 08 Forested Mountain Rain ($1266 – Click Here to Buy)
Rainy Moment 20 Rainy Autumn-Foliaged Mountain Sunset ($1266 – Click Here to Buy)
Rainy Moment 18 Elysian Pond Rainy Reflections ($1266 – Click Here to Buy)

ABOUT THE ARTIST
RACHEL BRASK

Rachel Brask is a contemporary abstract/impressionist painter originally from the greater Attleboro area. Her current work explores the sensation of looking through windows during torrential rains. Through these “Abstracted Rainy Moments” paintings, Brask seeks to show people a fresh, hopeful perspective on rainy days. She has exhibited in solo exhibitions and juried shows around New England and in private collections in the UK and Italy. She has developed her work at artist residencies in Maine, North Carolina, and Cape Cod. Rachel earned a B.A. in art from Houghton College. When Brask is not painting, she spends her time designing, marketing, communications, photography, and sharing her love of art through teaching community classes and private art lessons. Rachel Brask Studio, LLC is located in East Providence, RI.

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Valentine’s Day Giveaway

For Valentine’s Day I’m feeling like trying something a little different. I’ve created a small painting in my rainy style of a heart in the spirit of leading up to Valentine’s Day. Since this doesn’t fit my normal style of painting content, I thought I’d give away this painting!

This oil painting is 8×10 inches on stretched canvas, freshly created this week and ready to dry and be sent to a new home filled with love! This painting, valued at $100 could be yours for FREE if you win the drawing!

All you have to do is:
1. Follow @rbraskstudio on Instagram; or Rachel Brask Studio LLC if you only have Facebook
2. Comment on any “heart” post with #LetLoveRain2022 and tag 2 friends that you love. They tag 2 other friends to also be entered.
* Bonus entry if you share the post to your Stories!
3. Click on the link in bio to sign up your email for the giveaway!
* Entries open until February 13, 2022 at midnight PST (USA) *

The winner will be chosen and announced via email on February 14th! The painting will be packed up shortly after and sent to the lucky person to rain a little love on their heart ❤