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Rachel Austin

Rachel Austin

Hey little explorer! Grab your tent, fishing pool, and camping gear and what ever you do - don't forget your MAP! We're heading outdoors on a camping adventure with the very talented artist: Rachel Austin. Her art is not only fun and adventurous but it's super cute, friendly, and it also comes with a touch of "homeyness" for that extra sense of coziness and warmth. Our recent adventure with Rachel allowed us to get to know her a little bit better and this is what she had to say:

 

GB: Has art always been your focus or did you just stumble upon it?

 

RA: I did grow up in a very creative family but I guess I did just stumble upon it. In college I majored in business management and finance but I took a drawing class as an elective. My art professor told me that I had a gift for drawing and that’s what I should be doing! I then changed my focus and went to an arts & crafts college to possibly work at a museum. I took more art & design classes and started painting and the rest is history!

 

GB: You have a very unique style of layering and tone. Without giving out any top secret information - can you explain your technique to us?

 

RA: Thank you! I wanted to capture a very encaustic look with my paintings, which means the painting look they are covered in a layer of wax. For my process, first I glue down a map that I’ve selected, cover it with acrylic, and use a thin coat of oil paints. This tends to soften the busyness of the map. It normally takes me about a week or two to complete a piece because of the time it takes for the elements to set.

I had a job at an art supply store and I was able to learn a lot of different techniques. So pretty much anything I conceive or want to do – I can because I know the right tools to use.

 

GB: In a few of your pieces, such as Lower River and Erwin, you show a nature scene that uses a map as a backdrop. Does the map suggest the location for the scene taking place?

 

RA: Haha – no! They are separate elements and not really related at all.

 

GB: You collection with Oopsy Daisy is very nature and outdoor-sy focused. Did you go camping a lot when you were younger?

 

RA: (Laughing) Not so much as a kid but I did more as a teenager. I really love camping because it’s so relaxing. It’s the only time I feel like I’m really on vacation since it’s a break from technology.

 

GB: If so – have you been to Mud Lake as well as Beaver Lake?

 

RA: No (laughing) – I just picked the maps because I liked the way they looked. I guess one day I should though! It’s funny because when I go to the map store, here in Portland, they always say to me “I guess you’re not going here” hehehe!

 

GB: Camp USA is such a happy and delightful piece, can you tell us where you found your inspiration for this one?

 

RA: I wanted a happy piece that was bright and homey feeling. The concept of home is really important to me.

 

GB: Do you have any funny or scary camping stories for us?

 

RA: Oh you put me on the spot! Let’s see… I was in college and it was one of my first camping trips and we were having trouble getting a fire started because the forest was so damp. So we decided that it would be a good idea to dump a bunch of lighter fluid on the wood to get it started. Well it did get going but the smell from the damp wood was so awful!

 

GB: Lastly, where will your next artistic adventure be taking you?

 

RA: I feel like I’m in a transition phase right now and I’m trying to figure that out. I’m thinking about doing a children’s book, starting a note card company, and I’d like to possibly start working on a new series that might involve plants and water colors!

 

View all art by Rachel Austin for Oopsy Daisy here!