Giveaway!

My Story.
www.rachelalvarezart.com

Watercolor U.S. Map

 

I think my favorite part of being a small business owner is having the power to really bless people. Whether it’s adding a little something extra to their package, or sending them an unexpected discount, it’s really fun to surprise my customers!

Today, I decided it’s about time to have a giveaway 🙂

Head over to my IG to enter (it’s super duper simple) www.instagram.com/rachelalvarezart

You could win your very own 11×14 US map.

Winner will be announced Sunday morning in my feed!

Want a larger size, or an individual state print? You can find those here: shop.rachelalvarezart.com

 

watercolor United States map - 50 state paintings celebrating America the Beautiful. by Rachel Alvarez

summer’s breeze is a blowin’

My Story.

I can still remember it like it was yesterday… ripping up tiny pieces of a 3×5 card and shoving them into the pages of a book that I had just bought called “America’s Most Beautiful Road Trips”. I was in college, and my best friend Danny and I had decided that we were going to spend the summer of our freshman year of college sleeping in hostels and finding beautiful places to get lost.

He bought a new truck.  I wrote the list of what to bring.  We had a great plan.

With almost 2 months before we needed to hit the road, I picked up additional shifts at my waitressing job…stashing away the loose change and singles that I used to count on the living room floor of my parents house after I got off of work, making their house smell like one big pepperoni pizza.

The countdown had begun. The plans had been finalized. The cigarette-lighter-operated-cooler had been purchased.

Then, the most totally unexpected thing happened. It was catastrophic, and sudden. There was no way to get out of it. It was a sign of adulthood. It was a real dream crusher.

Danny had JURY DUTY.

….seriously?! Are you kidding me?

nope.

He had jury duty.

I couldn’t laugh about it then but, as an adult, it makes me giggle now. What terrible timing for something that probably everyone in the world dreads- well, maybe not EVERYONE, but probably not the kind of people I would be planning a cross-country road trip with.

When I was in my 20s I travelled as much as I could afford. Well, that is, after going to as many concerts as I could afford first. I never did get around to doing that cross country trip, but I did get around to painting it.

www.rachelalvarezart.com

Watercolor U.S. Map

For over five months I day-dreamed about where I would go if I could finally make that journey as I painted 50 states. I flipped thru the pages of that same “best road trips” book and made another, updated, list of mental notes.

Last month, my husband and I were driving across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on our way home from Annapolis. It occurred to me that nearly every 3rd car on the road had a Maryland crab sticker plastered on the back. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Maryland- and, I love eating some blue crabs but, I just don’t want a crab on my car. I decided then and there that I would somehow figure out how to make decals out of my watercolor state paintings.

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thank you for the cool pic, R&M

 

I started with Maryland (only natural), and then moved onto the others- releasing about 10 new states every 2 weeks:

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About a month ago, I was nearing the end of formatting them all and I had a thought: “what if there are people living in places all over this beautiful country that would like to participate in my “virtual” adventure?” By going to places in their local states and taking pics of one of my decals, I could live vicariously thru their travels and, shoot, maybe they’d even have a really fun time exploring, too.

Last week I received the first pic- taken on a coastline in Maine by Ranissa Finch of A&H Photography:

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Next, I received a pic from Melissa, a customer who was traveling thru the mountains of North Carolina:

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Finally, I was tagged in a post over on instagram (@rachealvarezart) with this awesome pic taken by Libby Hackett Photography in Wooster, Ohio:

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To date, I have shipped decals to 10 states but I am planning on doing all 50. It will be so fun to see how each local wants to celebrate their home state for this project.

Wanna get in on the fun? Follow me over on IG, and send me a PM here. We c an talk about where YOU live and where you wanna go on your adventure.

You could say that painting has become a fun way for me to explore- even if that only happens from my studio desk, painting during my kid’s nap-times.

I’ll take it.

#priorities.

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I’m leaving’ on a jet plane…

My Story.

This past month has been so fun in my little world of watercolor.

I am now 80% done with a project that I have faithfully worked on, daily, for the past 4 months. Over 150 hours of painting and endless hours of sketching, planning, scanning, editing- repeating.

I still have a ways to go but, in the process, I have visited some of the most amazing places in my wanderlust imagination:

South Dakota

Massachusetts

Indiana-coming soon

Missouri

Kentucky -coming soon

Nebraska

Oklahoma

Illinois

Lousiana

Ohio

New Hampshire-coming soon

 

This project has afforded me the opportunity to be increasingly astonished with the amount of natural beauty that I have within road-trip-travel-time of my home. My mind is swirling with daydreams of a summer cross country trips to all of these amazing places. I’m using this project as a virtual bucket list for my vacation plans. So, in reality, I am not painting- I am handwriting a HUGE map of places I’ll go – but with a paintbrush instead of a pen.

Someday world, someday.

Interested in seeing the rest of this series or some of my other work?

Please check out my website www.rachelalvarezart.com

Why I do landscapes.

My Story.

I started thinking the other day about why I have always enjoyed painting landscapes. In school I had to try every subject: abstract, still-life, nude.

I have a vivid memory of writing my first artist statement and presenting it to my painting instructor. It said, “I like to paint pretty things.” My teacher firmly suggested that I change my statement to something more insightful or intriguing because this sort of declaration of self would never “fly” in the art world. It really bothered me, and still does, that in order to do anything “meaningful” in the arts you have to be bizarre or even repulsive.

As far back as memory serves me, I have always enjoyed being outdoors. I remember hiking thru the woods at the end of our street growing up- getting lost until I was a little nervous I’d never make it back. Even as a child I discovered color and texture and value while getting my hands dirty.

There have been times, in my travels, when I saw something with my eyes that didn’t even seem real. How could it be so perfectly beautiful? There I would stand in awe of the immaculate design of my surroundings and be reminded, once again, that there is a God-an amazing creator that is the most talented artist-and my primary inspiration.

I’d like to take you to some of these places.

When I was in my twenties, some of my very best friends and I decided to go to the Grand Canyon. We couldn’t just do it the conventional way. Instead, we decided to drive thru the night and get there just before sunrise. We ate leftover spaghetti at 5am with our feet dangling off of a 4,000 foot cliff.

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Or, there was the time that I stood at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico and thought: “the fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.” I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. I know that not everyone feels the same. But one cannot deny that we have been given a true treasure to enjoy.

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When I lived in Baltimore I resumed my solo hiking. Sometimes I’d stumble upon a special moment in nature that seemed like it was designed just for me to enjoy.

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So, as always, I am perfectly happy painting pretty things. I think that by doing that, that maybe just maybe, I’ll inspire someone else to think about something bigger and more awesome than them self.