Rachel K Schlueter b.1960 Chicago, Ill.
Growing up in Chicago shaped my artistic vision, and living in California for 40 has nurtured my art spirit.
Chicago public schools taught me the importance of art, community and culture. Art was a big deal back then and even though I was just a kid I knew art was my first love. My first group art exhibit was at the Art Institute of
Chicago when I was four! 1964 was an important year for me. That was the year we ushered in the Head-Start program with a focus on art, and children got to paint, exhibit and feel connectedness. And for those destined to be artists it was a glorious start. Thank you, Chicago!
I was lucky to grow up in a multicultural neighborhood. I fell in love with cultural beauty in it’s myriad forms. I wanted desperately to relate my experiences through the art of portraiture. I still have that desire. I tend to get sidetracked because I fall in love a lot. When I was eighteen I got accepted to the American Academy of Art, where I studied figure drawing just long enough to know I had some talent. Soon after I got swept away on an adventure to Mexico. Life is so weird. Just when your most precious dream comes true another precious dream comes true and you have to pick. And live with that choice forever.
Cat worship also began in Chicago. Stray and feral cats were elusive creatures. Kittens emerged from the darkness like Tulips in spring. As a child I was always after them, I would go anywhere just to catch a glimpse. Their existence and survival was important to me. I wanted to help them. Being part cat artist has enabled me to do that. I’m happy to say I’ve raising money to help cats via the art world.
Last but not least, and not in Chicago, I discovered landscape painting. When I was thirty, I took a weekend workshop in Redway California that had a profound impact and led me to believe my destiny was to become a landscape painter. I wasn’t far off, but it would have to wait because my other destiny was calling. Which was figure study. Long story short, a great group of artists invited me to their drawing group where I ended up studying from a live model for ten whole years! Making up for that lost time in Mexico.
Ten years after the initial landscape painter epiphany and when my two sons were teenagers, I met Stock Schlueter, a handsome hardcore plein air painter, who turned my life upside down...in a good way. He introduced me to the very finest in Northern California wilderness. Now we travel a lot and share the bounties of love. It’s pretty epic. We’ve had some truly amazing adventures. I conclude, Plein air painting is the hardest and most rewarding work I can think of and it stretches me the most.
For some karmic or cosmic reason my art life is really dynamic, it has never been settled, the ground shifts under my feet and I find myself in new situations, needing or wanting to change direction, but always inspired by what comes. I’ve never known exactly where my art should go for very long. The pattern of my art life resembles a beautiful kaleidoscope and I go where it takes me.
The process of art making is so far-out to me, that I'm on my knees before I start.
It’s that humbling because creating is a gift I never take for granted.
I am eternally grateful to all who have helped me on this path. Thank you!
Rachel works in Eureka California, she lives with her husband Stock, three cats and one dog.