Holiday Maker Crazy

Anyone who works in retail or is a maker understands what a crazy time the Holidays are, even more so than they generally are. 2018 has been no different but I have started some new routines to try and help ease some of the chaos, including “clocking in” to the studio and tracking my time, what I”m doing with it and how long each piece takes, thanks to a handy app on my phone. This has been a really handy tool that I really like, being aware of how much time I spend in the studio verses how much time I’m actually painting. As well as how long I spend on each piece really gives a new perspective on my work.

I “only” had 10 commissions this year, mostly dog portraits a few license plates one one big kahuna! I’m officially done with all of my must finish pieces with days to spare, that feels good! The big piece I did was from an acquaintance’s husband sitting on his horse while it drinks from a creek in a very classic Eastern Montana scene. I also turned a black and white photograph into a color’d painting. I really wanted this to be something special, showcase my skill in acrylics. I put in a lot of hours, for me on this piece and it shows I did the photograph justice and created a beautiful piece of Western art. When I was about an hour from being done I got up to walk around and get fresh eyes, when I returned to look at this painting I got chills. That’s never happened before, I like most of my work and really really love under 5 of my paintings. I was filled with such accomplishment and pride that I made myself work extra hard to create something I wasn’t sure I was good enough to do. This piece will be a new shifting point in my work, even if its just for a few pieces it will forever impact my body of work, it ranks among those very few pieces that showed me I made the right choice to pursue my artistic career.

Today was a good day, for that I’m thankful. Happy Holidays and here’s to a kick ass 2019!

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Kira Fercho Gallery

2018 has been a huge year of growth and personal/ artistic accomplishment! By far one of the biggest events in my career has been getting represented by Kira Fercho Gallery in Big Sky, Montana. I’ve followed and been a huge admirer of Kira’s work for years and to have my work shown in her Gallery feels like a dream come true. Make sure to swing in and she her space if you’re ever in Big Sky!

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Seva Show
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I was recenlty asked to be the first artist showing at Seva Kitchen for their rotating Artwalk shows. Seva hosted a wonderful event on October 5th and it was a treat to hang my work in this wonderful downtown Billings restaurant!

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After recent events I felt this was very important

I was recently contacted by an artist that I've known for years about some specific details in a small portion of my work. Though I have used each of these elements in previous pieces, the combination of some key components and timeline for these specific paintings left this artist feeling completely and understandably ripped off.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I don't agree I think it feels terrible to have your work copied. I was gutted to know that as I've worked to build a wide and diverse body of artwork unique to my abilities and style I could be viewed as someone who syphoned another artists ideas and hard work, that I hurt this person unintentionally.

This was an unfortunate coincidence, hard to believe in our digital age, but I stand by my work past and current and believe that even with the parallels our styles separate us. I'm happy to discuss my process and how I've gotten to where I am in my work with anyone who may have questions.

I truly appreciate this artist for coming to me about something we're so emotionally invested in as artists so we could discuss and move forward, I have the utmost respect for what they do. I plan to continue to push myself into my work, to grow as an individual artist and support all of the creative arts and artists.

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And I thought 2017 was crazy....
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Well here we are three months into 2018 and my life has gotten amazingly more amazing! We took the plunge and moved to a little town at the base of the Beartooth Mountains.  This has been our home away from home for a few years and now it's permanent! I'm painting full time and spending so much time outdoors I have a hard time believing this is real life sometimes.  Our yard is constantly the walk through for turkeys, deer, moose and the occasional bear.  The ol snooze hound is getting to use her winter wear to its fullest possible potential and loving our long and close to home adventures.  I'm still in the process of getting settled and not too sure if I'll be able to do a lot of show this year but I'm painting like crazy and have a stack of commissions I'm working on so I don't know how life could get better! I'm so thankful for all of the support I've received in the past and on this current adventure and I look forward to all of the exciting things my new future holds! Stay tuned a lot is happening!

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Helena MADE Fair

well yikes I got super behind! In December I was a part of Helena's first MADEfair! This popular event started in Missoula as a one day Montana Made item buying wow-vent! This year they added a two day show in Helena.  I tell you what I had a blast! I got to meet and trade with some of my favorite Montana artisans and spend the weekend with some of my favorite people all while selling and sharing my art! Helena was a wonderful platform, more western style but with the friendly atmosphere of Missoula.  I feel it was a great success and hope to go back next year! Shout out to Pete's Prints LLC (and Kim) Miles Glenn and Roadie the Ranch Dog (Scott) for making great connections and awesome art trades <3

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Market Place Magic 2017-First Indoor Show!

Here I was back in August after my last show thinking I had alllll this time until my next show, what a great break I'd be able to get so much done! Ha! fooled myself.  I've been busy this whole time with hardly any breaks and ya know what it's okay. It's sure taking some time to adjust to this being my life, the constant busy thing, but it's going really well. I'm doing more and more shows I sold five original paintings during this show and I've received multiple commission requests.  Tis the season!  Meeting other vendors has probably been my favorite part of this new venture into the art and craft show life, I've been so fortunate to meet some of the most wonderful people from all over the place, that alone has kept me hooked.  Knowing I'll have people I already know at different shows makes the anxiety and pressure dissipate almost completely.  Putting a show together and getting it all into my little KIA soul is an adventure in itself and I'm so thankful for all of the fun I'm finding along the way.  Next show is the two day MADE fair in Helena in December, I think I ready....

2017 Market Place Magic Booth set up

2017 Market Place Magic Booth set up

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Summer Artwalk-DBA
Seen in the wild at Big Dipper Ice Cream!

Seen in the wild at Big Dipper Ice Cream!

Well this was a new and exciting adventure in my artist ways! Virginia from the Artwalk contacted me a few weeks before the August 5 event asking if I'd be interested in the space. I initially balked after just finishing Summerfair, closing my Powell show, preparing for Roots Fest and having a full summer of adventures and travel.  I quickly stuffed that all away and decided why yes I should add this to my plate as well! Thankfully I did.  In about a week and a half I did 10 original paintings 5 of them quite large. 5 bits (the metal that goes in a horses mouth on their bridle) I had 5 from my Powell show. And 5 new paintings a series that had been brewing; Rocinante.  I'll write another blog on that later.  I decided to take the original paintings I had done for my DBA signal box project as well.  After submitting my images for the press release I was blown away to find my painting chosen for the Big Sky Journal, Visitors Guide, Lively Times, The Enjoy and I spotted it a few other places online in regards to the summer Artwalk event. Something I've been working so hard for these last few years, it might not seem like much to a lot of people but it's been a huge deal for me.  The whole atmosphere downtown was very new and exciting,  people milling about in and out.  Getting to see so much of my work on the walls, solo was electric. I had wonderful feedback and truly enjoyed the night. Everyone at the DBA was so wonderful and having my work there for a month was worth the stress I put myself through to bust out that work! This has been a summer of chaotic completion and achievement.  To get myself through it I kept says after August it will slow down, just Make it to September.... I have a feeling this is my new constant, I'm accepting that and working towards embracing it for the wild ride it is. 

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River City Roots Festival
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Missoula, what a weekend and place! We were really lucky and the smoke from all of the fires burning was pushed down by some rain on Thursday. I had such a great time meeting and talking with so many great artists and shoppers! Missoula has to be one of the friendliest towns in the country.  The ol man was busy with work and couldn't take time off so I got to take my sister along for my booth helper! We had the best sister trip and enjoyed every second of our time. The weather wasn't too hot and the sales were good. The background was full of great music and I got to trade some artwork for some artwork! 

My amazing older sister Nicole and I coffee'd up and hitting the road

My amazing older sister Nicole and I coffee'd up and hitting the road

From Pete's Prints LLC in Missoula. His Grandmother took this photo and he did a transfer to wood.&nbsp;

From Pete's Prints LLC in Missoula. His Grandmother took this photo and he did a transfer to wood. 

Cutest little magnet, also from Pete's Prints LLC

Cutest little magnet, also from Pete's Prints LLC

A beautiful Citrine wire wrap pendant I traded for! I need to find where I put his card so I can list his info here for you all!

A beautiful Citrine wire wrap pendant I traded for! I need to find where I put his card so I can list his info here for you all!

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Gestalt Studios @ the Polar Plant

Gestalt Studios is a hidden gem in a small Wyoming town. Just off a main route to the tourist town of Cody, WY stands a white, half cylinder shaped building.  The old Polar Meat Packing Plant of Powell.  Behind its front door is a total shift from small town America.  The front portion is an art supply wonderland.  Showcasing unique and progressive art products, the staff is happy to let you try before you buy and experience some innovative items.  The walls are high with tracks to hang shows and hidden art desks.  Creativity resonates through the walls and the repurposed materials from the old plant.  Erin, the owner,  is a little beam of proud passion and kindness in her space.  The entire staff is constantly creating and trying new things, willing to help and just generally wonderful.  The front alone would be enough to make it one of the coolest places but through a side door lays a huge room with a unique coffee bar that could almost be from an old saloon (where they serve the best cup of coffee, no joke!) Regularly hosting musicians and open jams fills the space with even more magic.  I had no idea what to expect showing here and I'm so thankful I was given the opportunity.  I'll be making lots more trips for coffee, creative inspiration and to spend time with some exceptional people!

Summerfair 2017

Last year was exciting as it was my first Summerfair, this year though, wow. I was lucky enough to meet some amazing people, sell original artwork and a ton of prints.  I worked hard and took notes from last year to make sure and improve my experience and that of the people visiting Summerfair.   They did a three day event this year, starting Friday evening.  I was a big fan, it was slightly cooler and the music made for a great atmosphere.  Saturday and Sunday were hot, really hot some people half ran through the rows of booths.  Thankfully so many great people stopped in and chatted with me about my art and bought little and big.  All in all this year was an incredible success and I'm still so thankful to be a girl who grew up going to this event and now being a vendor here, pretty much a priceless experience that shows on that big cheesy smile.  If you haven't been, try to make it to a Summerfair some year, it's worth the heat :)

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Mountains <3
Custom Beartooth Pass Palette made at Gestalt Studios in Powell, Wy. Painting of Mystic Lake

Custom Beartooth Pass Palette made at Gestalt Studios in Powell, Wy. Painting of Mystic Lake

Summer, summer, summmer time! We did a three day backpacking/ camping trip into the Beartooths over the 4th of July weekend and stayed at Mystic Lake. While my husband practiced his side cast on the thick tree lined shores I got to break out this amazing little palette and do my first plein air watercolor (first plein air ever!) Needless to say I'm hooked, unlike any of the fish we tried to catch ;)  The Mountains and woods refresh my soul and recharge my arts. Getting to paint while relaxing and really taking in nature was super special and I'm really looking forward to the next time!

me and my bestie Bruiser &lt;3

me and my bestie Bruiser <3

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Happy Heart(Depot Gallery Show)
Carbon County Arts Guild and Depot Gallery Red Lodge, Mt

Carbon County Arts Guild and Depot Gallery Red Lodge, Mt

The last few months have been wildly stressful for me, but the growth has been beautiful and I'm thankful for that. Everything is a learning experience with the right attitude and I tend to be painfully positive.  Putting on my Montana show for the Depot Gallery has taught me so much about myself, what I need to improve on and showing me that I'm doing alright.  This show pushed me to create so much new work in an amount of time that should have been plenty... I'm learning time management skills...or at least aware I need them now. I've created new favorite pieces for myself and started to embrace black.  It was something I've avoided, color was too important, everything needed to be bold and bright with no black. I've started a new body of work with black backgrounds and more muted colors, these are paintings of the prairie; cactus, antelope, yucca plants, small birds.  I'm looking forward to the rest of my shows this summer and continuing to push myself and what I do. There was such a huge pressure on myself, by myself for this show and now that it's up I feel so light. The crew that put it together did such a beautiful job, reception turn out was great and I had some absolutely wonderful feedback.  My husband has been a patient and kind rock during these hard times and I am forever thankful to have him with me through this journey!

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Check out this nice Blog interview :) make sure to visit www.therachelroach.com!

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT

“Great Horned Owl” by Lee Walker

BY RACHELROACHTHEARTIST@GMAIL.COM | FEBRUARY 17, 2017

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Guys!

I’m about as giddy as a school girl today. I am THAT excited about today’s feature. This artist is FANTASTIC and certainly one of my favorites thus far.

Those who know me, know that I’m an absolute sucker for colors. So when I meet an artist that can manipulate color in such a unique and arresting way I HAVE to have them.

I want you to meet Mrs. Lee Walker.

 

Take one look at her website and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. The very front page a testimony to a veritable mastery of exciting vision. Proving yet again that you don’t need to paint something picture perfect in order to achieve something beautiful and accurate.

Somehow in use of a range of unusual colors she is able to convey a motion and EMOTION to an animal or subject matter that gives life in ways that subtle color changes simply can’t. The interview process only proved what I had suspected.

What inspired you to paint this particular piece? What inspired you to use those colors?

I’m very fond of birds, birds of prey in particular. I find them absolutely fascinating. Owls are so interesting visually, and expressive with their eyes. They’re basically sky cats, they seems to possess the same sass as felines and have a similar face. I just love color, I use a lot of color in all of my work and so I tend to more focus on the value of the color than the color its self to get the desired look from my paintings.

How were you intending the viewer to feel when you looked at the painting?

I wasn’t really thinking about the viewer when I painted this piece, I just really wanted to paint an owl. We’d recently visited a wildlife refuge and there were quite a few there for various reasons and I spent most of my time observing them so they were in the forefront of my mind.

How did you get started as an artist?

I’ve always been extremely art driven and creative. I was teaching my classmates how to draw horses in elementary school and it just never quit. Art is something that I find a lot of peace in, it helps slow down the chaos of life and helps me stay centered and focused. I’m fortunate to live in an area where my style and subject matter is popular so getting started wasn’t very difficult for me.

Did you always want to focus on wildlife?

Animals and nature have always been a very important part of my life, so being I spent a lot of time learning and observing those I was also really drawn to creating artwork of animals. Most of the time I just think of something and wonder what it would look like if I put it on canvas, what my brains interpretation might end up like!

Thank you Mrs. Walker for meeting with me and we look forward to keeping up with your career!

To keep up with more exciting art news and artists be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page and follow the blog and social media options!

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Hockey wife, hockey life.

Generally I'm in the stands cheering and chirping but we've had a great cold winter so I've been on the ice with the ol' man and my silky mitts ;) It's been a heck of a winter as far as snow accumulation and cold goes.  Getting some cabin fever but I've been doing a lot of paintings and projects.  I have a big show in June I'm getting ready for and can't wait to show off all of my new pieces!

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Wait, it's 2017!?

Bursting out of the starting gates of 2017 already have one painting done and so many more started! I can't believe another year has come and gone, 2016 was kind of a long one. There were a lot of hurtles for me, a lot of being told no and struggles to keep going when I feel like I'm not progressing as much as I should.  BUT I also had some amazing experiences this year and so many big yes's and firsts! I finished up the year with two events at the Holiday Artwalk and getting my Logo ready.  I had a great holiday season full of wonderful commissions and customers. I'm thankful 2016 is complete and 2017 is starting a new! 

ArtWalk at Beyond the Box, super cool venue!&nbsp;

ArtWalk at Beyond the Box, super cool venue! 

First phase of my logo! Sending it off to my super talented Graphic Designer friend to have it cleaned up!

First phase of my logo! Sending it off to my super talented Graphic Designer friend to have it cleaned up!

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DBA Signal Box Project!

After a few busy months and lots of excitement, my signal box has been wrapped! The Downtown Billings Association works really hard to beautify and bring exciting events to our downtown area. One project they've been working on is the Signal Box Project in which they wrap plain ol' signal boxes with a special vinyl wrap that is weather and vandalism resistant.   They put out calls every year and 6 new artists are chosen to put their artwork on one of these boxes.  I love my hometown and I love being a part of the work being put into making downtown a vibrant art filled place! If you're out and about in Billings, Montana stop down at 32nd and 2nd to check out the beautiful job they did applying my artwork! 

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Painted Ponies

Came home from a camping trip on Sunday afternoon and decided I needed horse sweater pins for work on Monday. Got unpacked, showered and settled for the night and painted these matching grays sitting in bed.  Felt good to have 4 days in the mountains and come home and paint.  Spent a few days touring Montana ghost towns Coolidge, Bannack, Virginia and Nevada City.  Feeling full of history and love for the Wild West I knew I had some horses to paint.  As I walked down the main streets of those towns I longed to be on Patriot, to experience these towns horseback, to see it from the perspective of so many from that time.  So I left with a list of books to read on the times and the image of some matching grays to wear about and keep the memories fresh. 

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Montanafair!

I'm very proud to share that the two pieces I entered in the Professional Division- Contemporary Surrealism won 1st and 2nd place! This is the first art show I've entered since I was in school and am looking forward to entering more shows in the future! Make sure if you're in Billings over the next week and to to the fair to head to the art barn and vote for your favorite piece of art!

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Beauty Mark, when basic isn't enough.

The stylists and nail techs are truly artists in their crafts and it shows in their decision to go above and beyond the typical window painting.  I'm thankful they've hired me twice and allowed me to get creative and have so much fun with their advertising. The salon is unique and fun environment with a wonderful, talented staff. 

 
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