Rachael McCampbell’s Creative Days
Her canvases fill the rooms of the 100+-year-old house near Brentwood, adorning the walls with stories captured in acrylic and oil and told with tenderness and talent. Meet Rachael McCampbell, painter, writer, teacher, sculptor, master practitioner of the fine art of persistence. Each day brings visions and revisions in a creative life dedicated to manifesting the aesthetic essence of things, from a humble leaf floating upon a winter’s creek to the surrounding fields and forests succumbing to money and mansions.
Not that Rachael has chosen an easy path. Art is effort. Lots of effort. And obstacles to overcome. Once she was afraid to paint, “frozen by fear” as she puts it, too intimidated by the fine art of her roommate. However, during the ’90s, the traumas of an illness, a divorce and the death of her father compelled her to put brush to canvas, an artistic catharsis which helped her through a troubled time.
“I started painting from my heart,” Rachael says. “They were disturbing, figurative paintings. I thought it would be good for healing, and the work began to get lighter and lighter as I got lighter and lighter. My art began to sell.”
These days, Rachael has found her rhythm. Working from her home, an artist’s dream space with uneven, wooden floors, old, creaky doors, and green, gorgeous gardens, a home recently made much livelier by the addition of her new husband, Curtis Stewart, and his sweet dog, Sugar, Rachael is on a roll, making art each day while leading others on their own artistic paths.
“I’m kind of a perfectionist,” she admits. “But that really gets in the way for an artist. Working from your head will stop you, so I try to get into my body and paint from a childlike place of play—that’s when the magic happens.”
Much of Rachael’s current magic focuses on the stream that borders her backyard.
“I’ve been moving toward more abstracted imagery in my ‘Creek Series,’” she says.
She is also interested in environmental issues and is working on a series called “Encroachment,” representational studies of the impact of development on rural Williamson County. That, of course, is in addition to framing her paintings, marketing her work, delivering and shipping to galleries, writing articles on art, teaching workshops, and planning trips to England and Italy for interested writers and painters with her company, Artistic Adventures Abroad.
The inspiration and security afforded by Curtis, a landscape architect, is a big factor in Rachael taking on even more.
“I’ve never had support,” she says. “To come into a relationship with someone who understands what it is to work for yourself and the many hours it takes is huge. We’re even collaborating in England this summer. He’s going to lecture on English garden design while I lead the painting part of it.”
“I continually try to push myself by experimenting with materials and subject matter,” she says. “I am also blessed to be a recognized Gamblin Workshop Instructor with Gamblin Oil Paints and a Golden Acrylics Artist Educator as well. That sort of support by such revered art supply companies helps push my art and teaching as well. My style is constantly growing and emerging, a process helped by a strong work ethic and sticking to a daily schedule.”
For more information about Rachael McCampbell and Artistic Adventures Abroad, visit RachaelMcCampbell.com