Q: The first pastel painting you see every morning when you arrive at your studio is “Myth Meets Dream.” It must have special meaning. Would you elaborate? (Question suggested by Marlissa Gardner via Facebook)

August 5, 2023
"Myth Meets Dream," 1993, soft pastel on sandpaper, the earliest painting that includes Mexican figures
“Myth Meets Dream,” soft pastel on sandpaper, 47” x 38” image, 60” x 50” framed, 1993

A: “Myth Meets Dream,” an early pastel painting from the “Domestic Threats” series, is one I have never wanted to sell. It marks the first time I included Mexican folk art figures in my work. In 1992 as a Christmas present, my future sister-in-law sent the two Oaxacan painted wooden figures you see depicted above – the blue winged creature and the red, white, and black figure behind it. The other three figures in this painting are hand-puppets.

Previously, I had been creating elaborate staged photographs in my Alexandria house using stuffed animals and hand-puppets. (The latter were made by a company called “Folk Tails”). I used the photos as reference material for pastel paintings. In other words, rather than work exclusively from life, I mostly looked at these photos while I made the painting. Although I have simplified my process since those early days, I still create pastel paintings using reference photographs.

In “Myth Meets Dream” you can see both puppets and my then new Oaxacan folk art figures. This pastel painting marks an important transition in subject matter and was the start of decades-worth of foreign travel, study, adventure, hard work, and yes, fun. It’s true that “Myth Meets Dream” hangs in my studio and is the first thing I see every morning. It brings back so many precious memories.

Every painting has a story!

If you’re interested to learn more, please see https://barbararachko.art/en/art-market

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