Artist Statement 2019

Rachel K Schlueter b.1960 Chicago, Ill.          

Growing up in Chicago shaped my artistic vision, and living in California for 40 years has nurtured my art spirit. 

Chicago public schools taught me the importance of art, community and culture. I learned art was a big deal, 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, for your diversity! I was lucky to grow up in a culturally diverse city. All my friends were from different parts of the world, and I saw the beauty and sensed the adventure in just what a person could learn about other cultures. Kids are naturally smart and kind and respectful especially if they're guided toward truth and honesty. 

When I was eighteen I applied to the American Academy of Art, where I studied figure drawing just long enough to know I had some ability. Soon after my accepted to the Academe, 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 decision forever. 

Cat worship also began in Chicago. Stray and feral cats were elusive creatures. Kittens emerged in spring like Tulips in spring like tulips. As a child I was always after them! I would scale any fence just to catch a glimpse. Their existence was important to me. I wanted to help them. Being a cat artist has enabled me to do that. I’m happy to say, I’ve raised 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 which 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 over ten 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 from Humboldt County, who introduced me to the very finest in Northern California wilderness culture. Now we travel a lot and share the bounties of love and art. It’s pretty epic. We’ve had some amazing adventures. I conclude, Plein air painting is the hardest and most rewarding work I can think of, and it's my greatest teacher. 

For some reason, my art life and regular life have been super dynamic, the ground shifts under my feet and I find myself in new situations, looking in new directions, but always inspired by art and motivated to do it. Event hough the subject matter continues to change, oil paint is my greatest love. I've been painting in oils for over 20 years and I've become friends with the medium. We belong together. 

Art making is so far-out to me, that I'm on my knees before I start, because it's a gift I never take for granted.  

I am eternally grateful to all who have met me on this path. Thank you!

Rachel works in Eureka California, and lives with her husband Stock, three cats and one dog. 

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