New Painting: Black and Purple Rainy Canvas

In April 2021, I decided I would resume my art practice. I hadn’t painted a thing since my father’s cancer diagnosis and experiencing the mourning of his eventual death. It had been a hard year. In April, I picked up my paintbrush again, almost reluctantly, but necessarily.

During his care, I didnt have any desire to paint, only to take care of him to the best of my ability and spend as much time with him as I could, as we could as a family. After his death, my grief snatched my paintbrush from me, and anytime I even so much as walked into my studio, I would be reminded of my father.

When I finally did start to paint again on my first painting, it was a little more difficult than I expected. Not just like learning to ride a bike again, where muscle memory takes over, but learning to ride a bike with square wheels – not going anywhere very fast, even if going through the motions. To loosen up, when I taught one of my adult art students, we did a collaborative painting exercise, in which we would each make paint marks on individual canvases, abstract, and then switch canvases after every 4 minutes and do it again. The quick mark making and timed sessions helped to break down some of my hesitancy to even work with paint again, and it filled my studio with the smells of active oil painting again. This helped.

Over several weeks in March 2021, I kept having a recurring image stuck in my mind, an idea for a painting for when I returned to painting. It was of a canvas transitioning from black at the top evenly to a cool purple at the bottom, in the rainy style, but with a burst of white at the bottom right quarter of the canvas. I couldn’t specify exactly at the time what the image was, but I feel like the darker colors may have been influenced some by the sadness and grief I had been experiencing vividly every day.

So, I chose four colors – ivory black, dioxazine purple, cobalt violet, and white. Keeping my palette simple and my concept simple, I dipped my brush to canvas, and placed thick daubs of paint throughout the canvas, and the image in my head vaguely emerged, final so I could confront it visually and face it. The colors surprised me by how collectively dark they were, as I’m usually a bright-and-saturated-happy colors kind of person. But I allowed my brush to move. I cannot say that there weren’t a few quiet tears that emerged as I painted, it’s just become normal now any time I take a step forwards again.

The emerging image eventually had the feel of a cloudy, almost haunting, cloudy full-moon night over some purple mountains. I didn’t hesitate to use big gobs of black paint, as I no longer will shy away from using straight out black paint, which I had intentionally avoided using in past painting years.

Once the canvas was covered, it was time for me to employ my signature “rain” paintbrush application and smearing of paint using stand oil, pressure and gravity. I dipped my brush in the stand oil, and proceeded to drag the brush from top to bottom, mixing and smearing downwards all the paint from top to bottom, removing much of the paint in the process, leaving a somewhat distorted vision of what was previously painted. It felt good to do this process again. And in a way symbolic. This whole year, and especially the last 6 months, had been looked forward to and planned with some level of great precision, and then the storms of Dad’s pancreatic cancer, just destroyed and distorted all that as my world fell.

I let the canvas continue to drip for a few hours, and I returned to it every couple of hours with a brush to blend in some of the drips, to help others drip further, and to edit out some drips, especially the ones that were encroaching on the white paint, in order to maintain the clarity and impact of that part of the painting. I really loved noticing some of the striations and nuances in the detail of the the mixing, dripping, paint when looked at at close range. After a couple days, the paint stopped dripping, and I was left with the finished painting.

I was a bit surprised by just how dominant the application of the black paint ended up being. I removed some paint towards the bottom of the canvas that helps to show some more of the purple a bit better, but visible only in controlled lighting. In my original vision, the gradation from black to purple was much more even and gradual. I’m thinking of possibly painting this composition again, but this time use less-thick daubs of black paint on the top, and bring the purple mountain “horizon” line up more to halfway. I’m satisfied with how the white “light” kind of feels like a flicker, or a glow, picking up some of the purple around it. Reminds me of a match lit in a dark hallway, a light of hope even in darkness sort of thing.

It may not have turned out the way that I had anticipated or planned (isn’t it rare if anything ever actually does?), but I’m so glad that I’ve picked up the paintbrush again and got it moving again. Stay tuned for more upcoming paintings, now that I’ve started the momentum again of painting.

I’m also in need of suggestions for titles for this painting. Let me know if you have any ideas that strike you!

Interested in purchasing this painting? Click here for more info.

Rachel Brask’s CT debut in “Collective Environments”

OPENING APRIL 16TH 7-10PM SHOW RUNS UNTIL MAY 22ND

Collective Environments art exhibition

The upcoming exhibition at Hygienic Art Galleries, Collective Environments exists to reveal the wonders of the world outside of our digitally infested homes and discovering the treasures of nature and its experiences. Selected artists for this group show are Rachel Brask, Rebekah Church, Ron Bence, and Suzy Sholly. This will be Rachel Brask’s debut in the state of Connecticut!


These four artists have been inspired by the current state of our Earth’s environment and have assembled to bring awareness to reusability, consumerism, industrialism and natures beautiful moments through found and natural materials, or painting and collage.

Opening Reception Night is April 16th from 7-10pm and the exhibit runs through May 22, 2021. Hygienic Art Galleries is located in New London, Connecticut at 79 Bank Street. Gallery Hours are Thursday – Sunday, 12-7pm.

Art For All Juried Exhibition accepts paintings by Rachel Brask

Gallery Night Providence launched their very first Juried Exhibition, titled “Art for Everyone.”  Amongst the accepted artworks art two paintings by Rachel Brask, both inspired by rainy moments along the Maine coast. The jurors for curating this exhibition are: Donna Parsons of Dryden Gallery/Providence Picture Frame, Munir Mohammed, Elena Calderon Pantino of RISCA, and Kate Kraczon, curator of David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University.

A Grand Opening & Gallery Night Kickoff event is scheduled for Saturday, February 29, 2-6pm at Sprout CoWorking Gallery, Providence, RI. Award winners from the juried show will be announced. A second reception for March’s Third Thursday (March 19) will also be held at Sprout CoWorking Gallery 5:30-9pm.

The complete list of accepted artists in this exhibition:

Emmett Barnacle
Ellen Biegert
Linda Bonaccorsi
Rachel Brask
Kelly Starspangled Brown
Suzanne Buchanan
Michael Collins
Jessika Davis
Kevin Donnelly
Robert Easton
Eran Fraenkel
Ann-Marie Gillett
Michael Guertin
Harold InDelicato
Michele Keir
Karen McCann
Zachary Prosser
Jane Robbins
Sarah Samways
Angel Smith
Kate Wilson

 

Rachel Brask teaches paint party at Harvard

Rachel Brask recently worked with Chabad Harvard to lead a paint night themed for the Jewish Tu B’Shvat holiday. Rachel created a custom painting that incorporated many fruit-bearing plants highlighted as part of the annual celebration of trees: fig, date palms, almond, olive trees.

About 25 people received step-by-step instruction on how to complete the design on a canvas of their own, that they could take home at the end of the night. After demonstrating each step, Rachel would walk person to person to assist each individual with any questions about the painting process, clarifying steps up close, offering encouragement, and helping to “fix” the parts that guests asked for assistance with to stay on course.

 

Rachel Brask exhibiting at Gallery175 Paint! exhibit with Jim Bradley and Mary Casale

Paint!: Rachel Brask, Jim Bradley & Mary Casale
Gallery 175, Pawtucket RI

This exhibition explores how each artist uses paint for intriguing effects. Rachel Brask’s work incorporates transparent veils of color within a vertical format. Mary Casale works with lots of thick textures and patterns. Jim Bradley’s art conveys the fluidity of running paint.

Opening Reception Sunday, May 8, 2-3:30pm at Gallery 175, located in Blackstone Valley Visitor Center, 175 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI. Free parking for gallery. Gallery 175 website

Exhibition runs May 7-April 30, 2020. Gallery hours open during Blackstone Valley Visitor Center Hours

Cashmere Bistro walls brightened by colorful art of Rachel Brask

The newest restaurant in Seekonk MA is excited to have large, colorful and bright paintings by Rachel Brask  to adorn its newly renovated walls for the opening two months of its new business.  See 7 large paintings from Rachel’s “Abstracted Rainy Moments” series while getting a drink or dinner in Seekonk’s newest bistro and tavern! Show closes March 30, 2020.

 

Cashmere Bistro & Tavern is located through the lobby at the Seekonk Ramada hotel, 213 Taunton Ave, Seekonk, MA, open daily 4-10pm.

Rachel Brask Offering 2020 Calendar – Vote & Preorder

Vote for your favorite 12 paintings of Rachel’s Rainy Days to be included in a 2020 Wall Calendar!
Voting is open until Sunday, October 13 at Midnight EST.

To Vote, choose any of the following methods:
1) Send an email to rachel@rachelbraskstudio.com with the numbers of your favorite Top 12 paintings
2) Comment on this post on Rachel Brask Studios LLC Facebook or Instagram pages with your top 12 favorites.
3) Share or re-gram the social media post to get 6 extra votes! (If there’s 1-2 paintings you really like, you can put extra votes on those paintings!)

Calendars are available now for pre-ordering! Limited quantities, so purchase your calendars soon! Preorder pricing ends October 21!

Rachel Brask in Seekonk Open Studios 2019

On October 5-6, 2019 the Seekonk Artist Network presents 20 artists at 8 convenient locations in Seekonk, MA, to open their studios and share their art with the public during Seekonk Open Studios! Rachel Brask will be located at 116 Read Street with live painting both Saturday and Sunday 11am-4pm.

116 Read St :
Rachel Brask – Paintings & Live Paint Demos each day
Phil Gruppuso – Fine Woodworking
Tim McCarthy – Assemblage Art

60 Hope St :
Dianne Burns – Paintings, Drawings
Guest Artist, Stephanie Stroud – Fiber Art, Paintings

32 Read St :
Mark Holme – Wire Sculpture, Paintings
Lars Grant-West – Fantasy Illustration
Alex Dunwoodie – Paintings
Maria Holme – Creative Consulting

21 Tompson Dr :
Dawn Campbell – Pottery
Norm Bowlin – Paintings
Bill Clark – Photography, Calligraphy

11 Cleveland St :
Elaine Petrasky – Sea Glass Jewelry
Bryan Bzdula – Photography

104 Walker St :
Mary Jane Andreozzi – Wood Paintings, Fiber Art
Deborah Baldizar – Sculpture
Ann-Marie Gillett- Mixed Media

128 Walker St :
Sarah Jane Lapp – Cards, Puzzles, Paintings
Rick Lescault – Skyjelly, Live Music

128 West Ave :
Tony Lunghi – Fine Woodworking
Ken Moore – Paintings

Rachel Brask to exhibit in Frosinone Italy, June 21-30 2019

Artist Rachel Brask has been invited by internationally acclaimed curator Alfio Borghese to exhibit in Italy June 21-30, 2019 at the Galeria Villa Comunale di Frosinone in  Frosinone, Italy.

Rachel’s first foray into exhibiting in Italy was in a cross-cultural group art exhibition in December 2018 in Rome, Italy, also curated by Alfio Borghese. During her trip to Rome in December, Rachel and Mr. Borghese got to talking and the possibility of exhibiting a larger show of her work in Italy was a possibility, and then it became a reality.

Rachel Brask is inspired by the colors and textures of rainy days, and captures contemporary abstract impressions of landscapes and seasons as viewed through a rainy window. Brask’s oil paintings portray rains as a contemplative, renewing, and colorful contrast to the perception of rain’s gloomy reputation. Brask maintains her art practice, Rachel Brask Studio, LLC, in Rhode Island, USA.

Rachel Brask Solo Exhibit at Sprout Warren, Reception 2/15/19, 6-8pm

Rachel Brask will be the featured artist at Sprout Coworking Warren Gallery for February 2019. Her bright abstract impressions of rainy days will be up Feb 1-28. An opening reception will be held on Friday, February 15, 6-8pm. Free and open to the public, come on out and meet the artist, enjoy light refreshments and take in the art!

Sprout Warren is located on 489 Main Street, Warren, Rhode Island. The gallery also includes sculptures by Neal Personeus and Ed McAloon.

Brask to show at AS220 Main Gallery Nov 2018

Rachel Brask and Jennifer Gervais will take over the AS220 Main Gallery with an exhibition of each of their respective works. This exhibition will be on view November 3-24, 2018, with an opening reception on Saturday, Nov. 3rd 5-7pm. 

Rachel will exhibit a selection of oil paintings from her Abstracted Rainy Moments series of paintings inspired by the view through a window during a rainstorm. This exhibition will include the first public gallery showing of 10+ paintings created during her art residency in Maine this past summer. Many of these paintings are inspired by the changing daylight reflected over the harbor in sunrises and sunsets, and through photos she took while exploring Acadia National Park and the harbor.

 

Rachel Brask Artworks soon to be Rachel Brask Studio, LLC

Rachel Brask Artworks will soon be evolving to become Rachel Brask Studio, LLC. This change comes as the next step in the development and direction of the varied creative practices of artist and graphic designer, Rachel Brask. “Calling my creative practice Rachel Brask Studio LLC vs. Rachel Brask Artworks is really about opening the definition of studio,” states Brask. “This will better provide a one-stop hub for my art studio, graphic design studio, photography studio and teaching studio.”

Rachel will be working on rebranding some of her identity materials and logo, and will be reconfiguring how her website works. She plans to officially launch and celebrate this new business name sometime between November and the new year. Stay tuned!

Rachel Brask in Seekonk Open Studios

Rachel Brask will be participating in the Seekonk Artist Network’s Seekonk Open Studios, a two day event featuring over 20 artists in 11 locations throughout Seekonk, MA on Saturday & Sunday Oct. 13-14, 11am-4pm each day. Brask, an alumni member of Seekonk Artist Network (SAN), will showcase her recent paintings from a residency in Maine along with LIVE painting demonstrations all day on both days at 116 Read Street,  Seekonk MA.

The following is the complete list of locations and artists also participating in Seekonk Open Studios:

60 Hope Street: Dianne Burns – Painting, Drawing; Dawn Campbell – Pottery

32 Read Street: Mark Holme – Wire Sculpture, Painting; Lars Grant-West – Fantasy Illustration; Seth Holme – Photography, Film; Zachery Holme, Photography

112 Read Street: Bill Clark – Photography, Calligraphy; Beth Goulet – Mosaics, Painting

116 Read Street: Phil Gruppuso – Woodworking; Tim McCarthy – Assemblage Art; Rachel Brask – Painting

11 Cleveland Street: Elaine Petrasky – Sea Glass Jewelry; Bryan Bzdula – Photography; Debbie Moody Shard – Oil Pastels

92 Walker Street: Bob Desrochers – Sculpture; Pottery

104 Walker Street: Mary Jane Andreozzi – Wood Painting, Fiber; Deborah Baldizar – Sculpture; Ann-Marie Gillett – Mixed Media

128 Walker Street: Sarah Jane Lapp – Cards, Puzzles, Painting; Rick Lescault – Skyjelly Live Music

128 West Avenue: Tony Lunghi – Woodworking; Ken Moore – Painting

399 Central Avenue: John Mitchell – Pottery (Pottery Wheel Demonstration)

46 Coleman Street: 7:00 pm SATURDAY only, Patti Dalton hosts a folk concert by Jim Trick


 

 

Rachel Brask accepted to Practice/Practice at AS220

AS220 has announced the list of artists and arts organizers accepted to its Fall 2018 session of its arts administration professional development program, Practice/Practice. This four-day conference for those involved in the arts will provide participants a forum for learning best practices in the arts administration field — networking, community outreach, public art, increasing accessibility, marketing and more.

Brask is an abstract artist best known for her current body of oil paintings evoking the impression of viewing rain on a stormy day. She is also involved in several area arts organizations. For Art League Rhode Island, Brask is a board member, secretary, and co-chair of the Communications committee. She is also involved with the Pawtucket Arts Collaborative, Seekonk Artist Network, and East Providence Arts Council. Brask hopes to apply what she learns over the course of this professional development program to her involvement in these organizations.

The 4-day residency program consists of a series of workshops and discussions, presentations by participants and faculty, a tour to visit partner arts organizations, hands-on making sessions in AS220’s Industries and a party. Workshops will include presentations and breakout sessions with AS220 staff and expert visiting faculty, and will allow plenty of time for discussion and debate. In the spirit of Practice//Practice, some workshops also involve working sessions, bringing theoretical discourse into the practical realm.

Summer 2018 Art Festival Lineup

Rachel Brask is pleased to announce the lineup of summer and fall festivals and open studios in which she will be exhibiting her artwork. Links for more general information about each event has been provided below. Since some of the festivals aren’t for several months, check back to the links occasionally, as each organizer will be updating their event’s info as details are finalized for each event. 

July 15 (3-7pm): EP Heritage Days Festival, Pierce Field, 201 Mercer Street, East Providence, RI. Rachel will be at the HeARTspot Art Center booth.
More info…

August 11 (11am-6pm): Looff Arts Festival, Crescent Park, 700 Bullocks Ave, E. Providence (Riverside), RI.
More info…

August 18 (12-5pm): Attleboro Expo for the Senses, Attleboro, MA.
More info…

September 8-9 (11am-5pm): Slater Park Fall Festival, Slater Park, Pawtucket, RI
More info…

October 13-14: Seekonk Open Studios
More info…
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Above photo by Eric Johnson