I was fortunate to meet Rachel in person at the Wild Nevada exhibit during Reno’s Artown.
My biggest breakthrough came when… It was very recently. I think it came when I realized that my artwork was unique. I thought for so long that the paintings I created were generic and in an artistic style that was no longer in vogue. I recently went to a local salon to show my work in consideration for an upcoming show. I was very nervous about showing my work since I never see anything like my paintings in local coffee shops or salons. My paintings were received quite well and I will (hopefully) be having a show at the end of 2017. The gal that organizes the shows told me that she had never seen anything like my paintings before and loved how different they were. Since then, I have begun to embrace my style of painting and work to share the landscapes and birds of the Great Basin and eastern Sierra that I love so much.
Cedar Waxwing-R. Micander
Who are your heroes in real life? I have always had a hard time defining heroes in my day to day life, but I would have to say that my parents are two people who have always taught me to do good and whom I look up to. My mother shared her artistic talent and love of nature with me and my father shared his love of sports cars, his calm demeanor, and rationality, making me the person that I am today. Also, my husband, Gary, who always supports and encourages me in anything I try to tackle and is a constant rock in my life. I have a great appreciation and respect for John Muir – he fought for what he believed in and I am so thankful I am able to enjoy the wilderness, mountains, and the beautiful western landscapes because of what he worked so hard to protect. After all, “none of nature’s landscapes are ugly so long as they are wild” – John Muir.
How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your creative pursuits? Recently, I have found that after a long, sometimes monotonous, and stressful day at work, the best thing for me is to decompress at home with painting. I find that if I have a project going at home, it helps me through my day, and I have something completely different to tackle when I am home from a 10-hour day at work. It’s not always easy, but I find that if I leave my unfinished work on the kitchen table I am drawn to return to it at some point.
What are your other passions? I love topographic maps, compasses, and old-style navigation. I am also a geologist by training and love the Great Basin in all its beauty and
geological interest. I have a love of European sports cars and motorsports (thanks dad). Last year I competed in the inaugural Rebelle Rally, the first all-women’s off-road rally in the United States. My best friend and I competed in this seven day, off-road excursion with no GPS or cell phones through the Great Basin and Mojave Desert. She was my driver and I was her navigator. I have always wanted to compete in motorsports (again, thanks dad), and this rally made my dream a reality.
What’s next for you? I hope to continue painting the beautiful landscapes of the Great Basin and eastern Sierra. I would like to learn how to make prints of my art so I can keep some of my favorite originals. There are quite a few paintings I sold early on that I wish I still had. I also hope to begin creating stationary, and maybe one day, design wedding invitations.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? I believe that anyone can be an artist. If you want to create something, don’t let self-doubt hold you back. This is something that I have struggled with for a long time. If you love painting then you should paint.
To learn more about Rachel and her art -check out the following link: