We created our Artist Fellowship Program to help creative people find the space and inspiration they need to bring their ideas to life. At the end of last year, we hosted painter, Rachel Allen, at Getaway Piney Woods outside of Dallas. Here’s what she had to say about her creative process, her relationship to nature, and her Getaway:
Although I am a proud native Texan, my family spent three years in Kenya when I was very young, and I believe those years were extremely formative. Those were the years that I explored everything, was constantly barefoot in the red dirt, and my mom would have to convince me to come inside for lunch because otherwise I would have stayed outside until the sun went down. Spending the rest of my childhood in a smaller Texan town was not nearly as exciting, but I think it aided in my imagination and ability to see wonder in the mundane. In high school, I realized my love for art, went to school to be an art teacher, and have made my own art ever since. After college I did go back to Kenya for a couple years, and my time there continues to influence me and show up in the work that I do today.
I have always loved a grandiose view. But since views like the Grand Canyon or Yosemite Valley are not always accessible, I have also grown to love the small, intricate beauties of nature that can be found if you stop and look close enough. Whether it’s the pattern of leaf veins or colored speckles on a rock, all these little details catch my attention as I stare in awe. It’s such a great reminder of how as human beings the real gold is when we take time to see these small treasures in others and ourselves, instead of expecting a perfect and majestic presentation as a whole. This spills into my art as well as I try and guide people to the beauty found around us. Whether it is colors or shapes or even just my interpretation of a known view, my goal is to use my art to help others see and appreciate the beauty that can be found in everything.
I loved my experience at the Getaway. It was nice to take the time to focus on the beauty and details in front of me. So much of my work – especially during COVID – has been inspired by past travels, so it was nice to get to express beauty as I was experiencing it. More than anything, I had time to just have fun and step outside of my usual work. Encouraged by Christian Watson’s doodles in Wildside, a book I happened upon in the Getaway cabin, I was able to do my own little leaf doodle of my cabin view. While admiring the view from the driveway of our cabin I looked down and noticed some beautiful red dirt. I picked some up, mixed it with water, and added it to my sketches – inspiring me to seek out my own foraged pigment and paints in the future!
You can follow her work on her Instagram and her website.
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