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Meet Rachel Avenia

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Avenia.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
My art story started as a kid, I remember falling in love with some fat, multicolored crayons in preschool. They were teardrop shaped crayons that didn’t roll away and fit perfectly in small hands. I had all the colors in one big, amazing crayon. They were so luscious I wanted to eat them! In retrospect I think the thrifty preschool must have made DIY recycled crayons. But that started my love affair with juicy colors and tactile materials. I’ve been playing with paint and color ever since.

Please tell us about your art.
Along with beautiful materials – sticks of pastel, tubes of oil paint or fine paper – I am drawn to the incredibly color of light in New England. The light here is unmatched anywhere else. I travel frequently and I can honestly say that no other place I’ve been to has the gorgeous light we have here – especially on Cape Cod. While any time of day is beautiful, I especially love the golden hour when everything glows and the blue hours very early in the morning and after dusk.

I paint coastal landscapes and work primarily in pastel and oil. I enjoy painting en plein air (outdoors) but I also work in my studio on larger pieces or in less than ideal weather. I only paint places that I find special. Often that specialness is transient – a certain quality of light as a result of a passing storm or that brief, brilliant green flush of the new grass poking through the marsh in late spring.

The act of painting a place is a way for me to get to know a favorite location better–to trace the shape of the coastline, the edge of a dune or the path of an inlet. The places in my painting are places I’ve spent lots of time at – many are near my home in East Sandwich – or they’re places I’ve returned to year after year. It delights me that viewers often recognize the locations in my paintings. For me, painting is like writing a love letter to a place – a way to note a beautiful but fleeting point in time. I can look at my paintings and remember the weather, the sandy patch of ground I set my easel on, or the wispiness of the clouds when a cold front moved in. These moments resonate with me and I hope my paintings lead viewers to connect with and recall their own memories of the Cape.

What do you think about conditions for artists today? Has life become easier or harder for artists in recent years? What can cities like ours do to encourage and help art and artists thrive?
Artists have so many choices now. My husband (my cheerleader, roadie, bookkeeper and all around amazing guy) recently gave me an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil and it’s an incredible tool–infinite colors, textures and brushes available with a click – anywhere, anytime. The only downside of digital – for both creating and sharing – is that it’s reducing the time artists and viewers spend in front of physical art. As great as digital art is, it isn’t a substitute for interacting with an actual painting. Paintings have texture, scale, depth and presence that can only be experienced in person. I encourage artists to embrace in person opportunities – openings, art events, studio tours – anything that physically brings the art and the viewer together.

Communities have an important role in encouraging and fostering interaction with art. Public spaces for exhibitions, funding for visual art programs and public art opportunities are all key to keeping art accessible and helping artists interact with viewers in real time. I love local events like the annual Plein Air Paint Out in Sandwich and the Chatham Sharks in the Park public-art event.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
My work is featured in several Upper Cape locations:

Bobby Baker Gallery, 1403 Route 28A, Cataumet, MA 02534
(508) 566-8922,

The Spotted Cod, 53 Main St, Sandwich, MA 02563, (508) 888-8263

Furniture Re-born, 685 MA-6A, East Sandwich, MA 02537, (508) 221-7709,

Hillport Gallery, 91 MA-6A, Sandwich, MA 02563, (508) 888-0565

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All images copyright Rachel Avenia.

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