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Ravens and Rustscapes: Mixed-media Paintings by Rachel Rolseth

Autumn is my favorite season. I enjoy the dark skies with their cool breezes, the slightly ominous feeling in the air, and everything else that goes along with it. So it’s no wonder that the first time I saw Rachel Rolseth’s mixed-media paintings, I immediately liked them as well.

Rachel is a self-taught artist from Minnesota with a unique painting style that emphasizes iconic elements from the world all around us. Most of her paintings incorporate women, birds, or flowers, but I am particularly drawn to her current work featuring crows and ravens.

Using a mix of acrylic paint, paper, ink and other media, Rachel has begun creating a series of paintings that she calls “rustscapes.” Each rustscape is made with layer after layer of lovely texture, usually centering around a single, mysterious raven. The combination is instantly alluring, slightly dark, and yet incredibly elegant.


In this next painting (which is one of my favorites) Rachel spent even more time on the background, adding in some beautiful patterns in green and gold.

It’s rather subtle, because the focus is still on the dark bird in the foreground, but I guarantee this painting would be nowhere near as captivating without that amazing gold-leaf detail.


As you might have guessed from the name “rustscapes” Rachel enjoys working with colors that bring to mind weathered, tarnished metal. In fact, creating an aged appearance in her paintings is just as important as the subjects themselves.

In this final painting, Rachel took a fairly common scene with two birds on a wire and transformed it with her own style so that the birds literally glow with the outline of a pattern. It’s a simple touch, but it has a big impact.

Two Crows

I invite you to visit Rachel’s lovely website at www.RachelRolseth.com to experience more of her paintings’ mysterious charms.

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Abstract art is a force to be reckoned with, but you either connect with it or you don't. Habib Ayat's acrylic and mixed media images made that emotional link to me through their bright colors and strong forms.

Born in Tunisia, Habib has always been inspired by his Mediterranean roots. The bright colors of that region, from blue rooftops to white. . . read more

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