Introducing Artist No. 96, Rachel Austin

Rachel Austin has always enjoyed making things – art, crafts, furniture, food. “Painting started as a side hobby for me and grew until it became my focus. I think I have a good understanding of materials and what I can do with them – that helps me figure out the best ways to turn my ideas into real pieces. I am a self-taught artist with an education background in management and finance. Art has turned out way more fun for me and I love being able to spend my day painting and creating.”

“I’ve been on the Portland Open Studio tour in past years, but never with this series. The Shadow paintings are a newer body of work that I’m excited to demo and share. The paintings are of plant shadows in watercolor and acrylic. I love the modern and peaceful feel to them.”

Rachel has been a full time artist for the last eleven years and feels very fortunate to be able to create art for a living. “My paintings, cards and prints are found in 40+ shops across the country in addition to my own website. I do a lot of custom paintings for individuals and businesses these days. I recently finished a hotel refresh with the Marriott in Seattle and have my artwork in all the guest rooms. My paintings are also on the sets of The Mindy Project, Portlandia, Grimm, Man with a Plan, and Parenthood.”

She does all this from a simple studio in the basement of her 1925 bungalow, “which is flooded with light and has lots of room to make a mess. My eight year old daughter is able to come down to hang out, create or read whenever she wants. I love getting to work at home and finding a balanced life between art, family and other creative pursuits.”

Her greatest inspiration these days it is gardening. “Gardening is a relatively new hobby for me that I’ve become obsessed with. I volunteer a few hours a week at the Garden at Elk Rock in SW Portland, tend my own garden and help others plan out their spaces. I love reading about gardens and plants and visiting other gardens whenever I can. I think of gardens as an amazing slow growing sculpture. The shadow series is completely inspired from time spent in nature and abstract beauty of the shadow in the garden.”

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