On Buzzing and Bacon

On Buzzing and Bacon

I inhaled one or two times. I’ve gone through phases where have polishing off the better part of a bottle of wine at card night was taken for granted. but I have never understood real addiction until he started playing with watercolors in earnest.

Now I understand that addiction keeps you up all night, encouraging you to blow off your daily schedule so you can do it again the next night. It clouds your judgment so the paint on the paper right in front of you looks like poo. Which is generally why I wait until morning to decide if the paintings going to make it onto the blog or into the bookmark pile.

I used to throw away a lot of drawings and paintings – when I was young, it seemed vain and pointless to save my own work. Now I even keep the rough drafts so I can remember what I’ve learned from mistakes. 

The rough draft usually turns into bookmarks when the final copy is framed, But even the bookmark is a reminder that mistakes can be pretty too.

Some paintings end up in the bookmark bin, not because I wasn’t happy with the piece, but because, at the end of a late night watercolor-induced fugue, I’ve developed a nasty habit of falling to sleep with the brush in my hand. Which usually results in the odd dark green dot in the middle of an otherwise dramatic sky or a bright red dot in the middle of the lawn.

At one point I thought about hanging onto the paintings of blemished skies and calling the dots your photos. Today, at breakfast, however, a friend had an even better idea to save or even show the botched paintings under the theme “Head Case” (my head and brush usually hit the paper simultaneously).

Which brings me to two observations about addiction. The first, watercolor  addiction is real, and if you insist on doing it all night you will have the munchies, and they can only be managed with bacon, preferably cooked by somebody else. Second is that cleaning house (or your painting inventory) while under the influence of a watercolor buzz is a bad idea (let’s face it cleaning house is always a bad idea) because even a dark green dot in the middle of a vivid blue sky may actually be a happy accident.

An Early Spring

An Early Spring
Springs First Kiss, 9x12 Watercolor, $80, Matted and ready to Frame
Springs First Kiss, 9×12 Watercolor

The lack of significant snow has produced some dramatic, and, in some cases, romantic mountainscapes this winter.  There is more green than white reaching up to the sky, and the bits of snow that remain at the top of the mountain make Mother Earth look as if she’s sleeping, waiting for spring.

I was going north on VT 7, decending from the highest elevation when my favorite perspective of the Equinox came into view. I had sped down to Bennington to get groceries, and the sky was still pink and orange, the clouds leaning over Mother Earth for what seemed to be an early spring kiss.  I’m waiting to see if she decides to awaken early.


To purchase the original, contact me at rachel@rachelbarlow.com.  You can purchase cards and/or prints here.


Wave Runner, Watercolor 12x16, Matted to 16x20
Wave Runner, Watercolor 12×16, Matted to 16×20

A few weeks ago an aunt who had been a huge influence in my creative life passed away. Her encouragement was felt even when we didn’t see each other for years.  She and her sister were (and are) not willing to listen to their nieces and daughters downgrade their work or trash their talent, and her words of encouragement are with me every time I pick up a brush.

I found an old black and white picture of her running on the beach where our family has spent the last 80+ summers.  She was so full of joy she looked like she could fly.  Officially I’ve heard that people can’t fly, but my theory is that, instead of keeping the secret of flying all to herself, she shared her joy of life with everyone in her life else so they could soar.

I’m just figuring that out now, and it’s helping me get closer to the secret of flying, of joy and the sharing of it..

$80 Matted Ready to Frame. To purchase the Original, contact me at rachel@rachelbarlow.

Card and Prints of this painting are available here.

Back to the Drawing Board

Back to the Drawing Board
E is for Embarrassing Elders

It was a whirlwind weekend of art and creativity and more art.

My weekend started Thursday night an opening reception at the Equinox Village Gallery in Manchester, VT. It was my second solo show and the first one that featured an opening reception, and it was fun to let the atmosphere go to my head for an hour. 

Saturday morning I had short story class, and dinner with creative group friends wrapped up the day. there was a lot of encouragement and talk about creativity, but it was the second day without any drawing.

it was OK. Getting ready for the show has had me up late nights for the last month (to be fair, I’m usually up late night painting), but by last night I had the nagging feeling that the sketch book was beginning to get dusty. 

My weekend ended this morning with an interview on WBTN AM Bennington about the show at Equinox, and it was a great way to wrap up a great weekend. A friend had connected me in the interviewer, and while up until 5 minutes before the spot began I wasn’t sure that I had anything to say that anybody would want to hear, I was determined not to let fear keep me from moving forward.

I talked with Thomas Toscano for the better part of an hour about my art, about creativity in general and being true to your creative spark. The conversation reminded me of how far I have come from the place where I try to push art out of my life. it also reminded me of forest want to go, and how important it is to get back to the drawing board tonight.