She is a very busy lady, and ages ago I asked her if she would be willing to be interviewed for a news article. I was thrilled to have her "story" in my notes at the weekend. Here it is..
Short Biography of Rachel Anderson
I've been doing art since before I can remember. My parents were not really big on tv, so I definitely learned to use my imagination and creativity at an early age. They were also very encouraging as far as my art went, so I guess you could say they got me started.
My husband is a musician, and my aunt and uncle on my mother's side are both artists. My mother did some art when she was younger, though she mostly writes now. My older brother is an artist and was a big influence on me when I was younger.
I took some art classes in high school where I think I learned quite a few of the fundamental skills to build on. I went on to spend a few years at a small liberal arts college with a very small (and poorly funded) art department. I enjoyed the classes I took, but didn't learn much as far as what I am doing now goes. So I would say that I am basically self taught when it comes to digital painting.
I don't consider myself a full time artist, my full time "job" is raising a family. So I definitely do not make enough off of my artwork to support myself, or my family for that matter. My income is just a supplement at this point.
Influences and Inspirations
William Bougereau, Waterhouse, Herbert Draper, and François Boucher are some of my all time favourites. As well as current artists like Brian Froud, Kinuko Craft, and Tony Diterlizzi. I am not sure if there is any visible influence in my work, but they certainly are a great inspiration for me.
I'm inspired mostly by nature, music, books, and even movies. Just about anything can spark my imagination.
I definitely prefer fantasy over anything else. It's how I like just about everything in my life. Nothing plain or ordinary. Fantasy is much more interesting to me than reality.
I use Adobe Photoshop CS, Corel Painter 8, and a Wacom Intuos tablet. It's hard for me to explain my painting process without pictures, so I wrote up a few tutorials that might be of interest. [link]
Twilight Shimmer. My favourite artworks are generally ones where I feel like I made an improvement in skill. Especially because I am so critical of my artwork, and therefore rarely feel that I have improved much. In this one I feel like I made a breakthrough in painting cloth. I have always struggled with making clothing look anywhere near realistic, and still do. But I think I made a fair improvement with this one. I also love the colour scheme. When I look at this painting I feel a sense of calm and peace that I don't really get when looking at any of my other artworks.
Lily of the Valley. I usually end up frustrated with my paintings half way through painting them. I tend to leave the hardest things till the end and then I don't have the motivation to finish. But this painting just sort of fell into place. Each element did what I wanted it to, which is very rare for me. I generally look at my older work and see flaws that I wish I could go back and fix, but with this piece I am fairly satisfied when I look at it.
Sapphire. I feel like my artwork lacks a sort of emotional dynamic. My goal when I began this piece was to create a very gripping and emotional "story" between two characters. The characters are my creation, I know their names and their story. But I want others to create their own stories as they view it. I loved reading the different interpretations of this piece.
Advice for other artists
This is probably going to sound annoying, but practice really does make perfect. How cliché right? But it's true, the best way to improve is to keep working at it. Learn to be critical of your work, and to accept constructive critiques. Get involved in an art community, read tutorials, and...practice!
And the Future?
I am not really the planning type. I tend to just go where my inspiration takes me. Although I would like to focus more on relationships between characters, and incorporating more emotion into my work. I want to engage the viewer and draw them into a story. Not that I will ever stop painting pretty girls with wings
Here is a small selection from Rachel's Gallery
I hope you will enjoy Rachel's work as much as I do and go and visit her gallery
Here is a stamp for anyone who has been interviewed by me to use on their journal or shoutboard if desired (this will help spread the word that you have been interviewed here at dA)...
I have carried out quite a few interviews in the past. If you have never seen them, they are all listed in my journal page HERE