FIELD NOTES

Rachel Sard

Artist in Residence

The Backstory.

In an effort to grow our community and broaden our collaborations, we started our Artist in Residence series with FW17. Our dear friend Rachel Sard, an oil painter based in New York City, answered the call. Over the course of a month we developed a print concept which she executed in watercolor. Below are some thoughts gathered throughout our time working together, both in the studio and out. We’re thrilled to introduce Rachel, the woman as well as her talents, to all of you.

So...oil painting and you. How did that happen?

Well I've always loved to draw. I've been drawing since I was very little. But I was introduced to oils for the first time in an undergrad elective and just fell in love with the medium. It's juicy and luscious and the possibilities are infinite. I also love to take my time, to build up my work in layers, and oil is forgiving in that way...no decision has to be immediate or permanent. That's sort of a blessing and a curse, though, isn't it? I never know when to call a piece finished.

What are some of the challenges and rewards of being a painter/artist?

I think the easiest and hardest part of this career choice is being my own boss. You guys experience the same thing, I'm sure, as entrepreneurs. Without external deadlines, without someone at the studio, or office, noticing or even caring whether you are there on time or there at all, it's tough. It requires a kind of self-discipline that I don't always possess. Having a studio mate helps a lot in that regard. It holds you accountable.

In the studio.

Heavy lifting.

Mixing color.

Does your artistic process evolve with each new work?

There are more technical aspects, like priming a canvas for example, that remain pretty consistent from one work to the next. But as far as the idea for each painting, whatever crazy place that comes from, it can vary quite a bit. And the arc of each piece, from start to finish, is totally different. In some cases I have a pretty clear idea before I begin of what I want the final product to look like. Other times I just see where it takes me. Regardless, it can be a bit tumultuous-- I hate it then I love it then I hate it again and try to destroy it, but then I regret that and try to salvage it, then I give up and hide it, work on something else, and then eventually I dig it up and do all that all over again. That sounds very dramatic! I'm not throwing brushes at the wall or anything. But I do get pretty emotional along the way!

Favorite picture I've taken recently.

 

 

 

I am constantly taking pictures and I have a lot of favorites from over the years. But this one is undoubtedly my favorite from this summer. This was in Quogue, on a walk with my dog, Emmie, at dawn. I love the colors and the stillness of the water.

Photo Credit: Abraham Orsorio

Place I am dying to visit?

Machu Picchu.

 

How would you say your work or the subject matter of your work has evolved thus far?

I'm still experimenting quite a bit. Constantly, in fact. I don't know that there's an obvious cohesion throughout my work, that's not something I've achieved yet, but also not something I'm sure I should be striving for in the first place... at least not consciously. Often it is only in retrospect that I can see the thread. But I'm evolving daily, because I'm learning, and trying to get better, daily. Each painting brings a set of problems you have to solve. I've never managed to do it. Every so often I'll solve one, but then more just pop up. The hard part is forcing yourself to stop, to call a piece done, even if it doesn't have all the answers. That's where viewers come in. You just have to find the audience who likes your attempt at an answer.

Study I made for my print collaboration with wMM.

Details from some of my work.

Aleah Chapin at work.

Who is a female artist you admire and why?

Would have to be Aleah Chapin. I adore her work and I adore her. She is the reason I sought out and ultimately chose the graduate school I attended--the New York Academy of Art. She is living proof of the type of career I hope to have myself. Check her out if you haven’t already!.

Learn more about Rachel and her work.

rachelsard.com

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