About the artist and her work


the artist's biography in her own words

the artist Rachael Hedges

     I am fortunate enough to be living in Roseburg Oregon, and it is here that I pursue my lifelong passion for art. I enjoy working with pastels, both because of their bright and lively colors, and the very intimate and direct feel of the chalks as they are expressed on paper. My technique reflects what I have learned from studying the works of great artists of the past, especially those of Edgar Degas.

   Like many artists, I am multi-media, also painting with oil colors on canvas, especially for larger works. My technique with oil colors is traditional, using methods that were common until the 20th century. There is a quality to this older method that is not matched by the modern practice of hasty and direct application onto the canvas. It has been said that my brushwork and coloring have much the same quality as the pastel works and indeed, I approach both in much the same way. In this spirit of multi-media, I am considering the possibility of doing some sculpture in the next few years. Also, I made the graphics and wrote the script for these web pages.

   My work hangs in many homes, businesses and public buildings in Indiana, California, Oregon, Washington, and in Spain. I have attended and won awards at many important art shows. It is my hope that this body of work will take on a life of its own, even after I am gone, and with its message of hope, contribute in a small way to the healing of the nations.

about the art

   My approach to art is the product of my long time interest in mystical traditions, especially Rosicrucian philosophy, and the use of symbols. This method is called Subjective Realism.

   Loosely related to Surrealism in employing dream symbols and images as well as colors that speak to the emotions rather than just the intellect, Subjective Realism attempts to show not only how the subject looks, but also how it causes me to feel and, what it makes me think of, both ideas and memories. Often times the viewer remains unaware of these symbols, or even supposes that the meaning they see in the picture is only their own perception. But even when someone is unaware of the subtle message, often hidden in plain sight, they will respond emotionally. This happens because a certain part of our minds processes information in just this way, with symbols and allegory rather than words. In this way I can convey a message that might never be possible in words alone.

   For someone who looks with an open mind, not restrained by expectations, the pictures tells a story that could be told in no other way.

   Here are a few examples of how these images are used, and hidden, in the work. With this insight, you can explore the pictures in the Viewing Rooms and make discoveries of your own.

   Invocation was inspired by a cold and quiet night, alone at the beach. When the moon rose from behind the hills, Harbor Seals on the rocks near shore began to bark loudly as if raising their voices in song to greet the great light in the night sky.

   In this painting the musicians and their music represent the symphony of the seals calling out in the night.

   In my paintings musical instruments generally, and violins in particular, represent the harmonic rhythms of nature, and the bright light suggests inspiration. The dark night and vaguely threatening sea, the rocks and tree branches, say something about my mood before the light came.

greeting the moon
reaching for the beach

   The first inspiration for Ocean View 13 was the big waves coming in due to a storm at sea. Then, as I watched the sea in its grand mood a thought came to me, so I included it in the picture. Watching the waves, I recalled a 19th century poem in which the writer spoke eloquently of the struggle to find meaning in his life. I also remembered a figure in Greek mythology that, having offended the gods in some way, was condemned to eternally pushing a bolder up a hill. His struggle was futile because as soon as he reached the top of the hill with his bolder, the stone rolled back down the hill and he had to start all over again.

   Think of the restless sea as being locked into an eternal struggle to reach the land, where the water might rest quietly in pools and salt marshes. Now notice the shape of the grasping hand in the wave as it reaches for the shore, grasping at the beach, only to lose its grip and slide back down the beach, returning to the seabed from which it came.

   In a certain Traditional Lodge there is a ritual ceremony that includes a search among the ruins and the discovery of a lost word. Hidden Spring plays on the dual meanings of the word spring to convey an idea.

   The desert represents one's personal quest, and the search among the ancient ruins represents the quest for knowledge in the ancient writings, as well as those of the great thinkers of more recent times. A spring then, whether the beginning of the year, water bubbling up from the ground, or even a fountain, represents the personal renewal that comes with success in one's quest. Trees represent ancient wisdom, and the green fern is a symbol of rebirth in spring.

   Barefoot figures represent spirits - not elementals, but rather in the sense of the spirit of a certain song, or place. Stones, and especially white stones, are symbols of memories.

the search among the ruins

   I hope these few examples will help you to understand the language of symbols so that you can discover other symbols in the various works, some obvious, others subtle, and read the hidden stories that the paintings tell.

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© 2012 Rachael Hedges, Permission is granted for copying these images for private use, but copy for commercial use is expressly forbidden.