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My Story

Rachael Grad Artist in Colorful Sami Art Print Leggings and Original Abstract Paintings artwork 

Inspired by Color 

Color is the uniting factor in my artwork. Painting and drawing are my main focus but I also incorporate mixed media collage and photography into my studio practice.

Trained to work from life as an observational painter, my artwork combines painting from life with abstract marks of color. Current series include collage mixed media paintings, abstracted flower paintings and meditative abstract color studies. I have often worked from life as an observational painter trying to capture temporary moments and feelings into the permanence of paint on canvas. 

Painting women, especially myself and my female friends, is a subject I can't help but return to year after year. As a mother of 3 young children, my art studio time is treasured and focused. Through the process of making art, I reconnect with myself as an adult and creator, independent of being a mother and wife. The pressures of family and time constraints come out it my artwork, even when I set out to make slow, meditative paintings.

Whether it’s my children’s toys, female friends, travel photographs or Toronto gardens and flowers, color combinations inspire and excite me. I love exploring and observing color in the world around me then trying to capture what I see in painting or drawing.

Painting and Drawing Process

To begin a new drawing or painting, I start by cleaning and meditating in my studio, then drawing a compositional sketch with pencil or paint. In my art studio I work on multiple paintings and drawings at once over many sessions.

With drawings I work directly from life, sketching and drawing from observation. I've experimented with different drawing materials but am mostly using pencils (black and color) to draw. Building up then erasing marks is a big part of my drawing process. You can see eraser marks on the paper. 

With paintings I experiment with different applications of color: washes of paint, bold brushstrokes and palette knife marks across the canvas or panel. My abstract paintings are very colorful and lively. Over time as I apply paint, the image becomes more abstracted. Each artwork has many layers and lots of texture built up over multiple painting sessions.

Rachael Grad Artist Self Portrait while oil painting color art artwork colour

My Background Story

I'm a Toronto artist, mom of three and recovered lawyer who has studied and worked in the US, France, Italy and Hong Kong. In 2008, I left practicing law to study painting full-time in New York City at the New York Studio School then at New York University (NYU).

My artwork has been shown in solo and group shows in Washington, DC, New York City, Venice, Italy, and the Toronto area. I hold degrees from Brandeis University (BA, Honors in Economics & Minor in French Literature), Duke University School of Law (JD) and Sciences Po in Paris, France (Diploma, International Relations). I’ve studied painting and drawing at New York University, the New York Studio School and OCAD.

To see my Resume/CV with full exhibition list click here. I live and work in Toronto, Canada.

Pregnant Self-Portrait Ink on Paper Pregnant Self Portrait #1, Ink on Paper Drawing, 22″ x 30″, 2012