INTERVIEW WITH @rachaelwhyteart
I have followed Rachael’s work for some time now and I own three beautiful watercolours painted by her, these take pride of place in my entranceway. I was immediately drawn to Rachael’s work the moment I saw it. It is a pleasure to learn more about her journey as an Artist.
Firstly can you tell me a little about yourself?
I am an artist, wife to my high school sweetheart husband, and mum of two beautiful girls. We call the Redlands home, which is a little city situated along the coastline about half way between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Watching the sunrise over the bay while walking our dog is something I’m fortunate enough to experience nearly every day. When I’m not in my home studio creating, you might find me googling clean eating recipes, practicing yoga, stargazing or listening to music or a podcast.
How does photography influence your work?
Photography influences my work in a big way. I am a realist painter, so details are an important part of my work. Whether it’s the colours in the sky or the lines on a shell, photographs help me refer back to these details. I find so much satisfaction in dissecting an image then putting it back together on paper or canvas. I paint mostly from my own photos but also rely on the work of photographers when painting something I can’t capture- like a wild animal, aerial or underwater shot.
What inspires your creative vision?
I am inspired by the want for a better world. I believe that we are all connected and are equals and wish that everyone felt that way. My creative vision is to present the beauty that I see around me in a way that others can connect with. Caring for our environment and helping others to do the same is very important to me. Art is my way of communicating these ideas with the world.
The first piece of artwork you ever sold?
I’m very fortunate to have always had supportive friends and family around me who were my first collectors years ago- and still are! I think the very first time I was paid for my art might have been when I was about 15 and one of my aunties commissioned a painting of a topiary tree in a pot. My first sale to someone I don’t know was very exciting- it was a copy of my ‘Pacific’ print which now lives on the other side of the world in Austria! I always feel so humbled when someone loves what I’ve created so much that they’re willing to part with their hard-earned money for it.
Do you have a favourite piece work?
That’s a difficult question. Every artwork I complete becomes my ‘new favourite.’ I would have to say the one I am most proud of is ‘Wash.’ I painted it from a photo I took while holidaying at Palm Beach on the Gold Coast at Christmas 2017. My sister and I went down to the beach at 4:30am to watch the sun come up and, as always, I took a million photos. There was something about the colours and the white wash- I just had to paint it. The original hangs in my parents home.
Which Artists have influenced or inspired you?
I am inspired by so many artists for so many different reasons. I’m in awe of the work of Joel Rea and Scott Listfield for their insane realism and thought-provoking subject matter. I also love Reisha Perlmutter’s portraits. I’m not much of a portrait painter but it’s something I want to practice. Reisha is not only ridiculously talented but I love that her work also celebrates female strength and beauty in all its forms.
Did you study art or are you self taught?
Apart from high school art class, I am self-taught. However, I have started studying a Bachelor of Fine Art this year. I don’t believe a degree is completely necessary to be an artist- if you have the talent and the drive, you will make it happen. However, for me, I felt a longing to immerse myself in art and part of doing that is exploring and learning all that I can.
Do you have any projects you working on right now?
Apart from working on painting commissions I do have a fun project coming up in the not-too-distant future which involves painting on the floor of a friend’s yoga studio. Looking to the future, my dream project would involve my love of eco-friendly products and nature, possibly a collaboration, who knows? I’ll just be over here manifesting…
What is the most challenging aspect of being an artist?
Showing vulnerability can be one of the most challenging but also the most rewarding parts of being an artist. My art is very much my form of communication and creating it is like baring my soul to the world. I feel I owe it to myself and my art to let it tell my story. Something else that every creative struggles with at times is good old artist block. It can be difficult to find your flow sometimes, especially when you feel like you “should” be creating all the time. When this happens I give myself time, get out into nature, read about things that interest me and try to be patient knowing that inspiration will return when it’s ready.
Do you have a favourite art medium and why?
I paint mostly in acrylic and watercolour, sometimes with ink and gouache. Acrylic has always been my go-to medium, I enjoy its versatility, fast drying time and easy clean up. I only really started painting with watercolour in the last 2-3 years. I initially started as I didn’t have much space and my husband was getting sick of me taking over the dining room with my easel and canvas’s. Painting with watercolour is a great way of creating on a smaller scale as it can be easily packed into a box and kept handy. I find watercolour a very forgiving medium, you can manipulate it easily but it’s also nice to let it take on a life of its own and see where you end up. It’s also a great medium for kids and beginners to experiment with.
Where can people buy your work?
At the moment you can purchase by contacting me through my Instagram page or via email- I aim to have my website up and running very soon! You can also find my artwork at Starfish Studio on North Stradbroke Island.
Finally do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
Just get started. Whether your goal is to sell your artwork or just put it out into the world to be seen, start creating right now, where you are with what you have available. Don’t listen to that voice that tells you that your work’s not good enough yet, or that you need to have a website and business cards or expensive art supplies.
Your journey is sure to evolve but there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from starting it today. My other piece of advice is- stay true to yourself. I know it sounds cliché but it’s something that I live by. I make decisions based on their alignment with my values because these values are my compass and will ultimately keep me on my path.