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Love birds for Valentine's Art Walk: new work by Rachel Austin

Rachel Austin has been a house favorite here for over a decade. We've featured several different bodies of work from this Portland artist who first won our heart with her Map Painting series, which she's returned to for this show.

Rachel mounts maps on wood block panels that she hand makes, then applies a thick layer of clear acrylic and paints sweet scenes of birds, flowers, trailers – even cats or a boat on occasion. The maps she chooses are often intriguing in their own right; some of the ones she's chosen for this show include historic maps of our area that predate the completion of the city grid or dredging of the Duwamish, others show the bathymetric features of our waterways.

February Art Walk falls on Valentine's Day Eve 5-8p. Any of these pieces would make a sweet gift for someone you love! 😍

What have you been up to since the last time you were at Click?
This last year was busy with shows and opening up my own little retail space inside of Urbanite (a collection of designers, vintage sellers and makers) in Portland. I’m really enjoying having a little shop and doing smaller series of new paintings and other crafty things. It’s a nice to have another creative outlet in addition to painting.

Do you find that your work processes change with the seasons, and if so, how?
I am always inspired by the seasons and plants and colors. I get more focused in the winter months to be in the studio and try to paint and work on new card and print designs then. Summer distracts me with all that outside fun, camping and adventures. : )

Has there been a big “oops” moment you’ve had while creating? What was the outcome?
I love those moments in art because they challenge your thinking and usually lead to new and interesting things. The map series was one of those moments - I kept playing around with different materials and techniques and was so pleased to have it look like encaustic, but not be. This series has been my most popular since starting in 2005!

Is there an easter egg in any of your pieces? A detail that you particularly love that others may overlook?
I like to make simple things in my paintings interact with each other. Be that two birds gazing at each other, trees slightly bent toward each other, or flowers crossing stems. I like to do this in all my series.

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