Rachel’s work has been featured in two editions of Live Ideas, and was the cover art for the October 2019 edition.
In this oil painting done on canvas, I capture a flock of snow geese grazing the fields of the Kansas plains. During the winter months snow geese migrate through Kansas in an abundance. As they make their journey south they make stops across the various farming fields across Kansas. As an artist, living in Kansas my entire life, it was easy to become invested in and connected to the land. Painting the land and sky is important to me because our connection to nature is important and a part of who we are as inhabitants of this Earth. By using various mark making, application and hues, I present an authenticity of how I see the land and what I recall. Capturing the simple beauties and everyday life in the Kansas plains is what I seek to accomplish in not only this work but all of my works.
I have a desire to express how I see the land around me. Prioritizing the characteristics of place, memory, and atmosphere within rural America with an emphasis on Kansas – my home. Burn Season is in the Air represents my memory and vision of prairie and field burns across Kansas. With oil paint on canvas I create a prairie burn fire out in Kansas during the burning season. During Kansas there is a distinct fell and smell of prairie burn season and I capture that with the use of strong colors and a foggy haze in the field. Growing up and living in Kansas all my life, I have become accustomed to burn season. I have a personal connection to field burns due to my mother’s involvement in the local fire department and issuing burn permits to residents and farmers.
Clean Wind Energy is an oil painting done on canvas combining different techniques of painting to create an atmospheric feel. I capture my vision of air pollution across the Kansas plains filled with wind turbines. I use representational marks in the land to show wind turbines off in the distance, just as you might see in western Kansas.
I have lived in Kansas all of my life. Growing up in Willard, a town of about eighty people, I spent hours along the banks of the Kansas River, the historic Oregon Trail, and the harvesting crops and fields. With so many forms of nature just outside my front door, it was easy to become invested in and connected to the land. This relationship has had a tremendous effect on the art I create.
Taking artistic inspiration through the art movements of Post-Impressionism and Contemporary Art, I begin my oil paintings on canvas with a vision / memory or a reference photo of where I have been and what I remember. I anticipate each mark, each color, each layer of paint, reinforcing both macro and micro findings, while subconsciously placing bold and strong marks across the canvas to reflect my interpretation of the place and atmosphere.
Being a musician as well as an artist, there are plenty of similarities between music and my art. For example, jazz music is based off improvisation and how you are free to do what you want but still be within the set parameters of the music. I use that same concept as a part of my process. While painting from memory and experiences, the artwork paints itself, and I respond to it accordingly, being conscious about aspects, such as direction of light or placement of objects.
My land and sky paintings capture a place, memory, and atmosphere. Each painting has a sense of movement, showing how landscapes are never truly static. Some feel fast paced because of how fast the memory flows, and others feel delicate and slow because of how hard I’m trying to recall the place and all its details. In my paintings, I have a desire to express how I see the land around me. Prioritizing the characteristics of place, memory, and atmosphere within rural America with an emphasis on Kansas – my home. Painting the land and sky is important to me because our connection to nature is important and a part of who we are as inhabitants of this Earth.