“Check Out Rachel Brask’s Artwork.” Boston Voyager. July 9, 2018.http://bostonvoyager.com/interview/check-rachel-brasks-artwork/
Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Brask.
Rachel, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I have always been obsessed with color lots of colors, bright colors, subtle colors. When I was little I would pretend that I could “capture” colors of the world (with my imagination) and stow them in my little magic satchel of colors. Many years later, I use the colors stored in this little magic satchel through the pigments I apply to my paintings. Each painting I create is just another excuse to explore the magical world of color.
I knew from a young age that I wanted to be an artist. I drew and sketched anything I saw with whatever drawing implement I had — pencil, pen, marker. I was particularly drawn to the beauty of nature and landscape. One of my earliest recurring drawings from memory was of hills and a river at sunset.
It wasn’t until I took my first oil painting class early in college that I felt that I had finally found a medium that I could connect with so intuitively. In college I double majored in art and writing, until I had major writer’s block the very last semester of my senior year. It was at that point that my advisor said that up to that point I had always treated art and writing with equal importance — the visual art was becoming more prominent in this ongoing equation. So, I went down that art road, full steam ahead. Now I have my own art studio practice that includes exhibiting and selling my paintings, commissions, art residencies, and teaching art. Along that road were several day jobs, personal challenges and lots of graphic design. It was a long and bumpy road to get to this point, but absolutely necessary.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I call my current series “Abstracted Rainy Moments.” I create contemporary oil paintings that evoke the sensation of looking through windows when it is raining outside, emphasizing the drips and blurry texture of colors and shapes as seen through the water pouring down the glass of a window during a storm. When I look through a window during a rain storm, I study how the sheets of rain pouring down the panes causes distortion of the view outside. The rain flow abstracts the lens through which an observer sees the outside world in that moment. Colors blend together, articulated lines and shapes become blurred, and the motion of the continuing rain makes the scene continually moving.
I have always been inspired by rain. While others may see rain as a gloomy, sad day, I see rain as peaceful, refreshing, cleansing, renewing — sometimes the colors outside on a rainy day even seem a little brighter! Through my paintings, I want people to see the beauty of a rainy day, to see a perspective they may not have contemplated before.
Each of my big paintings take about 24-48 hours of process from start to completion. I start all paintings with a pointillism-inspired composition of colors using thick paint daubs of specific colors placed together deliberately all over the canvas, imagining how the colors may be pushed together later in the process. Then I use a combination of lots of stand oil, a viscous linseed-based product with the texture of honey, and a brush, to smear all the dots on the canvas from the top to the bottom, dragging the colors together as the brush descends the canvas, I will then revisit the canvas every few hours with a smaller brush to blend in and out some of the paint as the drips continue to “rain” down the canvas. After I go to sleep for the night, gravity continues its collaboration on the painting, and often I’ll awaken to respond to a very different painting than the day before. The rain motion continues to move for the next day or two, and I’ll continue to revisit the canvas every couple hour to respond to new drips, until finally the painting begins to form a skin from the stand oil’s top layer finally drying.
What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
As an artist, and as a human, I believe that success is defined by whatever parameters are important to that person. Some measure their success by fame, recognition, or financial milestones. For my art, I will feel successful if someone sees my paintings and thinks about rain in a new and different way from how they saw it before. I will be successful if a person stops and is able to find moment of peace with my paintings in an increasingly chaotic world.
For general success as an artist, in however an artist measures his or her own success, I believe that two of the top traits needed for success are passion and resiliency. A person needs passion for her art, passion to be able to believe in herself and in her artwork, even when the road gets rough.
Resiliency is a necessary characteristic because in any artist’s life there will be rejection, some rejection, and then probably more rejection. This resiliency is able to help the artist absorb some critical and necessary feedback, and then disregard the rest to keep moving forward in her process. Resiliency is not letting the wrong person’s negative comments or not being accepted to a show or gallery completely derail that artist’s vision, hard work, or momentum — it’s using those for fuel to continue to better her art game.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I always enjoy the support of new friends, fans and other artists! I think that as artists, and humans, we all need to encourage one another. People can support my work through purchasing my paintings, prints or products on my website (www.rachelbraskart.com), at galleries exhibiting my paintings, and through attending opening receptions of my work.
I always invite people to follow and comment on my works in progress on my Instagram @rbartworks, my Facebook page (fb.com/rachelbraskartworks) or my twitter @rb_artworks. To keep update on my exhibitions and events, people can sign up for my monthly newsletter on my website or via this link: http://eepurl.com/Grpz I really enjoy working with people on their painting commissions, working together to bring together the reality of the vision they may have for a new painting as a gift or for their home or office. So, commissioning a painting with me in a rainy or abstract style is another way to support my artwork.
I also love helping people to find their inner creativity or to learn art mediums or methods they may not have tried before, so I offer private or group art lessons.
The profile photo uploaded (of artist peaking from behind easel): photo by Tiffany Axtman.
The photo of artist painting in front of easel: photo by Tiffany Axtmann.
All other photos courtesy of Rachel Brask.