Painter Rachel Brask reimagines rainy days into colorful experiences through her abstract art. See more of her vibrant work by visiting her website.
Looking through windows of pouring rain outside, observing the distortions of landscape beyond caused by the running texture of raindrops, my artwork takes new spins on rainy days. These oil paintings fuse semi-recognizable landscape, abstraction, and expressionist celebrations of texture, color, and material.
I’m inspired by all things rain—smell, splashing, saturated colors, and rooftop rain tapping. For me, rain has always been calming. I want to evoke this contemplative sensation for others through my work.
When I first painted these compositions, it was my personal mission to showcase the brighter, joyful side of rainy days. I chose this rather than stereotypical gray gloom. Through saturated, bright hues, and palettes I evoke seasons and sunsets. If someone thought differently of rainy days, I had done my job.
During the pandemic, so many things about the increasingly chaotic world were overwhelmingly beyond our control. I shifted my rain intention to create space for people to breathe. This allows them to find a quiet moment of beauty, and imagine the rain washing clarity over their thoughts.
I love working with oil paint because of the long, slow drying time. My process is about tension between releasing control while trying to regain it. I create a tedious impasto pointillism painting. Then I effectively “destroy” that through my brush, stand oil, pressure and gravity. I smear the painting evenly from top to bottom, creating the viscous drips that move down the canvas as raindrops. These are paired with modifying drops every few hours over several days, resulting in a striking transformation from its original form.
After experiencing the loss of my father and my father-in-law within a few months of each other, I didn’t paint for a while during this double mourning. When I returned to the canvas, my paintbrush felt like lead. My arms felt like bricks. I didn’t know what to paint again, but I knew it was necessary to my grief to get the brush moving again. Painting was necessary for healing.
I worked on a personal, vulnerable series of paintings expressing memories of skies associated with places in my fathers’ journeys—reclaiming those milestones and memories, with rain as the medium of expression of to seek hope and beauty still in the darkest, stormiest times. The collection was called The Skies Cried as my Fathers Died.
After this series, I explored the physically darker and moodier tones of dusk and night. It resulting in a body of work exploring the piercing blues of dusk reflected off raindrops and the surfaces of water. This collection is called Pluvia Nocturnae: Rain Journeys to Twilight.
Lately, the focus has shifted more to the internal and physical process, the need to constantly let go of my original expectations of the painting — what the composition was or could’ve been. Instead I find peace with new dimensions revealed in the shifting liquids and hues of new and final paintings. It’s hard letting go of control. But when the storms of life come through, we can be pleasantly surprised at what beauty can emerge when we do.
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