Rachel Brask at Paradise City Arts Northampton Oct 9-11, 2022

WHEN: October 8-10, 2022 (Saturday-Monday)

WHERE: Three County Fairgrounds, 54 Old Ferry Rd, Northampton, MA

SHOW HOURS:

  • Saturday 10/8: 10a-6pm
  • Sunday 10/9: 10a-5p
  • Monday 10/10: 10am-4pm (Columbus Day)

TICKET INFORMATION:

Rachel Brask in process of creating a rainy oil painting

Rachel Brask has been selected as an artist to exhibit in the Paradise City Arts Festival fine art show in Northampton. She will be exhibiting oil paintings in Booth #303 (see map below for booth location). Brask will have a range available of her signature rainy window paintings, including several brand new ones from the “Montana Rains” collection. She was recently included in Paradise City Art’s listing of “New Faces.”

Paradise City, founded in 1995, produces award-winning, highly competitive shows of contemporary craft and fine art.

The Paradise City Arts Festival Northampton, with its unique indoor-outdoor ambiance, brings together an extraordinary selection of artists and makers, from fresh new talent to artists with national reputations.

“We are thrilled to welcome everyone to New England’s most extraordinary show of 220 of America’s finest artists and makers. Stroll three airy buildings filled with the best in fine art, craft and design. Enjoy sensational food by local chefs, craft cocktails and music in the Festival Dining Tent and a sculpture promenade. This fall our Silent Art Auction benefits the Chamber of Commerce of Northampton. Held at the peak of fall foliage season, this event features three days filled with a breadth of exhibitors and activities that will keep everyone enthralled and entertained. So worth a special trip!”

Follow Paradise City Arts Festival on Facebook and Instagram and on ParadiseCityArts.com website to view complete listing of artists, locations, directions, and more. Flip through the digital version of the Paradise City Guide, highlighting artist and events of the weekend.

* If you have any questions, email rachel@rachelbraskstudio.com or call/text 401-400-0418

Rachel Brask at Boston Int’l Fine Art Show Oct 19-23, 2022

WHEN: October 20-23, 2022 (Thursday – Sunday)

WHERE: The Cyclorama, 33 Tremont Street, Boston, MA

SHOW HOURS:

Rachel Brask in process of creating a rainy oil painting

Rachel Brask has been selected as an artist to exhibit in the 24th Boston International Fine Art Show, one of just two independent Rhode Island artists juried into the Emerge Salon of this fine art show. She will be exhibiting oil paintings in the Emerge Salon (front space by entry stairs), Booth 4S. Brask will have a range available of her signature rainy window paintings, including several brand new ones from the “Montana Rains” collection. The other RI artist juried into the Emerge Salon is Nick Paciorek, a talented Fauvist painter. This fine art show features 40 galleries and 15 juried artists. Learn more about Rachel Brask.

THURSDAY 10/20, 5:30-8:30pm: Opening Night Gala Preview:  This is a 21+ event, cocktail attire, valet parking available. Enjoy exquisite an evening out with fine cuisine, fine wine, and live jazz music and be the first to select from the dazzling array of artworks.  Gala tickets includes show catalog, and readmission throughout the weekend, and all special programs & speakers. Gala Ticket information here.

Friday 10/21, 1-5pm: Emerge Free Passes: Enjoy free entry to Friday afternoon’s opening afternoon to celebrate the Emerge Salon, a special selection of juried individual emerging & mid-career artists. A link will be provided closer to the event for these special free passes just for Friday afternoon admission. Follow Facebook pages @FineArtBoston or Rachel Brask Studio for early access to the link when it becomes available.

Saturday & Sunday: Seminars & Panel discussions throughout the weekend, check here for schedule (some sessions require registration, but is free with admission)

Event Weekend Passes: $15/pass advance or at the door, Weekend passes include readmission for two (2) people, complimentary catalog, special programs and re-admission. (Ticketing Info Here ) Valet & discount parking available. Each artist has a limited number of free weekend passes, contact Rachel Brask if interested.

* If you have any questions , email rachel@rachelbraskstudio.com or call/text 401-400-0418

Rachel Brask at Seekonk Open Studios 2022

Rachel Brask will be participating in Seekonk Open Studios 2022. She will be providing live painting demonstrations throughout the weekend of October 1 & 2, 11am-4pm Saturday & Sunday. She will be located at the stop at 49 Perrin Avenue, Seekonk, MA, along with two other demonstrating artists, Beth Goulet and Rachel Chevrette.

This family-friendly self-guided tour of artist studios throughout Seekonk, MA features 8 stops and 21 artists! Meet the artists, learn about their processes, in some cases see their actual workspaces, and see art in the making!

Beth Goulet is able to capture the feeling of magical moments of nature in her pastel paintings.
See what Beth is working on by following her at Beth Goulet Art on Facebook.

Rachel Chevrette works in the mediums of printmaking and floral artistry! She is joining Seekonk Open Studios for the first time this year. Enjoy her garden inspiration and hear about her creative process. Follow @rae.chev on Instagram.

Rachel Brask is a Seekonk roots member. She grew up in Seekonk and still connected in the community. Rachel will again this year entertain guests with demonstrations of her personalized style of painting rain and share the sentimental love that goes into each one. You can check out more of her works at Instagram via @rbraskstudio or Rachel Brask Studio on Facebook or @rbraskstudio on Instagram

Follow @SeekonkArtistNetwork on Facebook for most updated news, features & any weather updates leading up to Oct 1 & 2, 2022. Visit this webpage for full listing of artists, map and information on all the art stops.

Rachel Brask Art at New Harvest Coffee: Sept 2022

Rachel Brask’s Rainy Paintings Exhibited at New Harvest Coffee September 1-30, 2022

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.

Available paintings in exhibit on New Harvest Coffee & Spirits, September 1-30, 2022. To inquire on price, purchase or availability of a print, email rachel@rachelbraskstudio.com

ABOUT THE ARTIST
RACHEL BRASK

Rachel Brask is a contemporary abstract/impressionist painter reimagining landscapes. 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 invitational 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.

Posted in all

Recapturing That Coastal Feeling Commission

The clients had purchased several rainy-style oil paintings by Rachel Brask, and wanted to curate them together in a collection in the dining room that felt like a triptych. They commissioned a third painting inspired by an earlier piece, but wanted to see the direction of the land mass and ocean swapped horizontally from the original painting, completed years ago. After taking time to match the colors used in the original painting from years prior, the painting was created, and installed in their living room, completing their triptych of coastal rainy paintings.

“Looks great! So lovely!”

~ Alan S.

Installation shot with original paintings

Steps in the Process of Painting

Exhibition Photos from “RI Abstractionists”

Photos from RI Abstractionists exhibit reception at the Pitcher-Goff House Gallery, May 2022

Midwest Grains Rain Triptych

Aaron H. commissioned Rachel Brask to create a triptych as a gift to his wife, inspired by one of Rachel Brask’s other paintings of blue rainy skies melding with the golden and amber waves of fields of wheat or corn. Growing up in the midwest, this was a color and texture combination familiar to Aaron’s wife, so he worked with Rachel Brask to have her create a painting fitting the size and budget parameters. They hung their newly commissioned painting by Rachel Brask in the horizontal wall space above their bed frame.

“This is a great addition to our home and really warms our space. Most everything in that room is grey or white, which gives a nice clean look, but the triptych adds enough color and texture to become a focal point. ” — Aaron H.

Rainy Rainbow Painting Commission

“Rachel was able to quickly grasp exactly what I wanted to convey through the painting. It was a very effortless process. The result was a beautiful representation of exactly what I had visualized.”

–Marci Martel, PhD

Rainy Tree Sunset Triptych

My husband and I commissioned Rachel to create a piece of art for our new home a few years ago. Our street is Sunset Drive and we love how the sun sets right over our rock wall and through the trees. We wanted a piece that celebrates the beauty of our land. She/we decided on a 3 piece canvas. At first we had it placed in the living room but we decided it looked best in the dining room where the lighting is perfect in the day and one window looks right out to the actual rock wall and sunset views. Also the wall with the white trim frames it naturally. We chose this piece as our house warming gift to ourselves while knowing that this will hopefully be a piece of art that follows our family through the generations to come.

“…this will hopefully be a piece of art that follows our family through the generations to come. “

Heather M.

Thank you Rachel for helping our vision to come to life. You were incredible in working with us from start to finish and we appreciate your periodic check ins to see how we/our/ your painting is doing.

~ Heather & Paul M., Rhode Island

A Recap of My Art Residency at “The Artist Life”

I packed up a few art supplies, several sizes of canvas, and set up shop to use a shipping container as my art studio for a week. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to create that week in terms of finished paintings, or if I’d just to aim for more exploratory color compositions and sketches for later use. I looked forward to meeting the other artists and to working with artist and curator Nick Paciorek during the residency stay.

I hadn’t painted at an art residency since 2019, before covid and before the traumatic ordeals with my father’s and father-in-law’s deaths. Since January 2022, I had begun painting again after taking time off from all that, and I was painting fairly productively out of my studio again. When I heard about “The Artist Life” experience at the Pitcher-Goff House, I thought it would be just what I needed to work in another space for a change of scenery, and to hopefully open me up to some new ideas or new approaches to my work.

When I arrived, I was assigned a shipping container to work in. The shipping container studio included electricity, lights, studio easel and plein air easel, a large storage cabinet, and a table. One end of the container doors opened completely to provide light and fresh air, and a really amazing view over the hill and into the downtown below. An additional sliding glass door installed in the shipping container provided more than enough light and airflow. Since I was there in late April, the weather was perfect (for me), in not still being too cold or too warm. Later in the week the wind kicked up and the temperatures dropped a little, so I turned on the provided space heater to keep the space cozy and warm while painting. There are four shipping containers arranged around a central courtyard area with patio chairs and tables, all oriented to take in the view.

One of the features of any art residency is the ability to work with and bounce ideas off the other artists. Upon checking in with Nick, I discovered there were two last-minute cancellations, making this a solo experience for me. That actually worked out as a perfect way to ease back into my art residency flow, and it ended up opening the way for me to have a much more personally tailored art residency experience.

It was really refreshing to be encouraged to create without any worries of making a mess on the floor or walls. I had planned on bringing a drop cloth with me, but Nick said not to worry about it. In my home studio, space is much tighter and I’m more aware of attempting to keep paint off the floor and walls.

DAY 1: MONDAY

I began Day 1 with painting a small composition inspired from a spring kayak trip in pond the day before, with lots of greens, aqua, and earth colors. I brought several sizes of canvas, but started small as a warm-up before hopping to larger canvases. By the last day of the residency, I had painted on a 24″x48″ canvas for the first time in two years!

DAY 2: TUESDAY

For the start of Day 2, I worked on a new painting inspired by the colors and composition of the newly-greening buds just barely visible on the tips of the trees within view from the end of the shipping container, contrasted with a blue and cloudy sky. I worked on both paintings simultaneously at different phases, applying dots and daubs to one while adapting and editing the drips and raindrops of the painting’s application the day before.

Between painting sessions, Nick and I took breaks to chat about the broad range of topics related to a working artist life over coffee and lunch: testing markets, work/life/art balance, shipping, art shows, and even how grief and mourning affects an artist’s process. We talked over our inspirations and challenges, and Nick took a genuine interest in getting to know the ins and outs of my rainy oil painting technique, asking critical questions on if I had tried using a particular tool, substrate, or subtle change in how I moved my paintbrush. All week he asked great questions that challenged me about how I approached or thought about my “Abstracted Rainy Moments” body of oil paintings.

View of the courtyard during a coffee break, with one of my favorite creative mugs by Lisa York Pottery

DAY 3: WEDNESDAY

In the morning of the third day, the sky was an interesting combination of being both cloudy and also being very blue and clear at times, so following the inspiration, I created a 18×24 painting examining just the clouds and sky, and anticipating how my rain technique, when applied, would affect the painting outcome.

On Wednesday afternoon, Nick challenged me to take one of his own oil paintings, with his distinctive color palette and the composition of a city scene, and to apply my rain drip technique to it! At first, I thought he was kidding, but he was completely serious. I have never been invited to touch up another artist’s painting with my own paintbrush, let alone a world-class international artist inviting me to apply my own technique to the whole painting. It was exciting and intimidating all at the same time. What if I messed up his painting?!

After overcoming the fear and trepidation of messing up his composition, I moved forward with generously applying stand oil, and using my paintbrush to drag color drips down from the top down to the bottom using pressure and a vertical motion. While I was in the beginning phases of using a blending brush to feather and edit the drips into one another, Nick entered my studio and mixed some stand oil with pigment. When I turned away from the canvas to clean my brush, Nick leaned into the canvas and began applying more globs of pigmented stand oil in bold strokes on the dripping canvas in a wet-on-wet technique. This is not my usual modus operandi! So as soon as he paused to clean his brush and mix colors, I frantically started trying to blend the new blobs of color into the overall rainy texture of the painting, holding my breath most of the time. What ensued after that was a dance in which each of us would alternate in pivoting back to the canvas and making or editing marks in the paint. I truly had no idea which blobs he’d add where on the canvas, so I was really shaken out of attempting any control whatsoever of this painting, so I just went with the flow by responding intuitively with where I edited the paint next. An embedded video Reel below shows a fraction of the transformation.

The result was a beautiful dripping rain-looking painting but with a much more abstract, urban contemporary feel. I worked the rest of that afternoon on editing, shifting, and modifying the drips of that painting. Since there was way more extra stand oil on the paintings, the drips shifted much more quickly than my standard rain-painting process, and the majority of the rest of the day was my constant battle of painting the rapidly-moving paint drips upwards against gravity, while blending and adapting the painting. You can see just how much the painting changed and shifted from its original in the before/after slider image below:

Click and drag the slider back and forth to compare the before & after

DAY 4: THURSDAY

In the morning of the fourth day, I spent most of it continuing to paint and edit drips and surface texture of the three paintings I had created yesterday, and in the days before. Despite tilting my easel on an obtuse angle to slow the overnight drip progress of the collaborative painting, there was still significant changes to the imagery and texture.

After lunch, Nick showed me a color exercise which which now I can’t not think about Essentially, over several rounds of selection, I had to narrow down color swatch cards from 100 down to 20, then down to 15, down to 10, down to 5, then 3. Then choose the ONE color I would want to be stranded on an island with for my remaining days, as he dramatically phrased it. Then I was to pair this final color with its opposite swatch until I could sense the “color vibration” on my eye’s cornea.

These final two colors, and a third, completed the “color world in which I live.” Essentially these are the colors I’m drawn to in life, in my paint palette, what I wear and choos. Anyone who knows me wouldn’t be surprised to know that my number one color ended up being a shade of an emerald/aqua/turquoise/blue-green, and its opposite was a very warm red-orange; my third color was a warm purple. These three colors actually were featured as my wedding colors over a decade ago!

In discussing colors for color’s sake again, I challenged myself instead to abandon the landscape-rain trail I had been taking earlier in the week, and instead went non-objective abstract again with full abandon, but still with the rain/drip element that has become my signature style. I created a very simple grid concept using these three colors to see how it would look when each color dripped into the next color as part of the rain. The results were quite exciting and I found it intriguing, looking to observe which small sections of the painting included elements where the colors caused cornea vibrations when adjacent to one another.

At the end of the day, I was treated to the panoramic views from the rooftop of the Pitcher-Goff House, a 360 degree view of Pawtucket and into Providence. In addition to the color exploration painting, I continued to use Day 4 to still continue to modify and edit the drips of the collaborative painting that Nick and I had worked on the day prior. Because it was still really wet, the colors and textures continued to drip significantly.

DAY 5: FRIDAY

Day 5 was to be my last day. I felt like I was just finally warming up and opening up to broader possibilities! My focus for today’s painting was continuing to stay in the mindspace and motivation of continuing this abstract streak. In discussion with Nick, I chose to continue to ride the wave of abstract and color. My idea for the biggest canvas was to do a sheer color exploration of the second-tier hues discovered from the color exercise (which were essentially related to my top 3 chosen ones).

Instead of making thousands of tiny dots as is usually my custom in starting these pointilism-turn-rain paintings, I use large brush strokes of white paint, diagonally across the canvas. Then on the opposite diagonal, I made long and short dash strokes of thick paint of some third-tier colors: a mint green, a darker red-orange, a cerulean blue, coupled with my original three colors of warm purple, turquoise and red-orange. When each stroke crossed paths with white, the color shifted lightly. I applied my stand oil and rain technique and sat back to watch what would happen. I even challenged Nick to try out the rain technique I’ve used, so he tried it himself to my painting for a couple of strokes.

My idea for these next experimental painting is to let the first stand-oil/paint layer dry (I left a few blank areas in order to allow transparency through the next layer) and then to paint another stand oil /paint layer over this one after it’s dried and see how the layers contribute to the feeling of depth in the space of the painting.

With some paint finally on the last canvas on the last day, I felt accomplished but also bittersweet that this brief residency experience was coming to an end. Working with Nick Paciorek during “The Artist Life” residency helped me to push some creative limits of my artwork, and to consider and experiment with new ideas, concepts and approaches, all still tailored directly to my own style and essential subject matter of artwork. Throughout the residency, I made a list of the many different things I want to try in a future pursuit of continuing to evolve my oil paintings of rain. Now the big question is: should I get started right away on trying this new direction, or let it simmer awhile?

Rachel Brask Included in “RI Abstractionists” show at Pitcher-Goff House gallery

I am very pleased to be invited to exhibit at The Pitcher-Goff House gallery for “RI Abstractionists” May 6 to June 10, 2022. Several of my more abstract rainy oil paintings are included in this upcoming group show of 11 artists. Here’s the description from the gallery website:

“An art show by Rhode Island’s best abstract artists will be hosted by Nick Paciorek at The Pitcher-Goff House gallery. We will be kicking off the show the first weekend of May with a VIP reception Friday night (May 6th, 6-8pm) and a free show on Saturday (May 7,th, 4-7pm).”

If you are local to the region, you might recognize that The Pitcher-Goff House is “where the old Children’s Museum used to be,” visible from and easily accessible from Route 95 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The gallery address is 58 Walcott Street, Pawtucket, RI.

**Tickets are required for both art receptions.**

To purchase tickets ($25/each) for the Friday 5/6 VIP Reception (6-8pm), click here.

To download FREE tickets to attend the public reception Saturday, 5/7 (4-7pm), download your free ticket here.

This exhibit features the work of eleven artists:  Frank Gasbarro, Kevin Gilmore, Anthony Salemme, Jane Andreozzi, Robert Rustermier, Michele Aucoin, Theresa Girard, Eveline Luppi, Bob Rizzo, Linnea Lemming, and Rachel Brask.

If you can’t make it to the opening events, you can schedule a private showing with artist & gallery owner/director, Nick Paciorek via this link.

Additional details about The Pitcher-Goff House gallery and exhibits can be found at this link.

Posted in all

5 Reasons Why Rachel’s Rainy Art Umbrellas are a Must-Have for Spring

Recently Rachel Brask launched limited-time preorders of umbrellas (until 4/14/22) featuring her artwork printed with colorful designs from her collection of oil paintings about rainy days. So here are a few reasons why these umbrellas are so awesome.

  1. Day Brightener:
    Umbrellas with the colorful designs of Rachel’s Rainy Days brightens up a typically gray rainy day when out and about and in use. The 42-inch canopy is wide enough to provide sufficient rain protection and to show off your sense of style and color. 
  2. Conversation Starter:
    These colorful umbrellas become a conversation starter – on the sidewalk, in line, at the bus stop, at the family soccer game that should have been canceled because of rain but wasn’t…yeah, you know the one we’re talking about. You’ll be the envy of every soccer parent because your Rachel’s Rainy Days Umbrella will stand out as the one person who remembered to bring rain cover.
  3. Sunburn Protection:
    These umbrellas don’t just have to be used for rainy days – bring one to the park or to the beach on a particularly sunny day (especially if you get sunburned quite as easily or as intensely as the artist does). The bright sun will illuminate the colors of the artwork, making them appear even brighter than they already are. 
  4. Convenience:
    These umbrellas feature a quick-open button to get you dry from the rain quickly. A wrist loop to keep your umbrella nearby in case it rains while you’re out getting your coffee. And they have a handy closing strap, so when the passing storm yields to blue skies, you can just wrap it and snap it, and take your umbrella with you. 
  5. Supporting a Local Artist:
    These designs are an extension of the artwork of painter Rachel Brask. By pre-ordering one or more, you are helping to support a local artists and a small business. Your investments in the artist will be appreciated for years to come, and will also give you exclusive access to special art studio events, programs, and sneak peeks of new artwork.

If you’ve been looking for a stylish way of keeping dry for spring showers, click here to browse 18 designs of Rachel’s Rain Art Umbrellas, open only for pre-orders until April 14, 2022.

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.