Artist Rachel Evans Grant Inspired By Clouds, Landscapes For ‘Natural Engagement: Where Earth Meets Sky

"Natural Engagement" is on view now in the Circle Gallery at the UGA College of Environment and Design through April 15.
"Natural Engagement" is on view now in the Circle Gallery at the UGA College of Environment and Design through April 15.
Credit Rachel Evans Grant

The south of France meets the southeastern United States in paintings by Rachel Evans Grant.

Clouds over landscapes are a reoccurring theme in her work on view now in the exhibition “Natural Engagement: Where Earth Meets Sky.” It’s located in the Circle Gallery at the University of Georgia’s College of Environment and Design through April 15.

Grant joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes via Zoom to talk about her works.

Interview Highlights

How her interest in painting clouds came about: 

“I was able to study in the south of France, where many great landscape painters, impressionists and post-impressionists created their work. And it gave me a love for plein air painting, which means painting in the opening air. I noticed something interesting happening in my work … I started really focusing on the clouds because I was so intrigued about the physical act of capturing them on canvas because they’re so transient in nature,” said Grant.

She continued, “You can’t capture a cloud exactly as it is because it’s always moving, so that became a really interesting challenge for me.”

Her painting of the 2017 implosion of the Georgia Dome: 

“It was right at sunrise, and it was a beautiful, clear morning. So, when the implosion happened, the building folded in on itself and created this cloud of debris and smoke. Because it was at sunrise, the clouds created a beautiful pink and orange because it was reflecting that sunrise light. I thought it was an interesting event in our city, and I was also intrigued by the idea of not just the natural cloud, but a man-made cloud.”

What she wants viewers to take away from her artwork: 

“I do think about where my art goes and its life after my studio. It’s important to me that I put beautiful and optimistic work out into the world. I am inspired by current events and news, but I choose to not portray clouds that may be linked to something that I would consider to be too sad or non-optimistic.”

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