(Painting by Rebecca Baldwin)
Rebecca Baldwin takes vacations in places that lend themselves to the landscape painting she is known for. This fall that was biking the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes in Idaho, a 73-mile long paved trail (a former railroad route) that passes through forests and marshlands and skirts Lake Coeur d’Alene and the Coeur d’Alene River, providing stunning views that she will ultimately paint. There were a lot of stops to take photos of scenes she may recreate on canvas. We will have to wait a while for her to paint those but her current work is showcased in November and December at Red Chair Gallery
Central Oregon landscapes are usually the subject of Baldwin’s paintings but she finds visiting other scenic areas inspires her work. “Just being in a different environment can spark new ideas,” she notes. Another way she keeps motivated is to “switch up my painting styles,” she says. “One day I might feel like painting a foggy forested landscape with muted soft colors, the next a loudly colored impressionistic sunset.” The key to evolving and growing as an artist is to experiment and try different ways of working, she believes.
Baldwin did not always paint landscapes. She started her art career at Portland’s Saturday Market in the 1980s, selling brightly colored drawings and paintings of whimsical animals. She augmented this by creating tee shirt art. Her most popular designs were coffee-related, sold by the burgeoning number of coffee stands popping up everywhere. One design in particular, “Drink Your Java. It’s a Jungle Out There” became a nationwide best seller.
After six years at the Portland market, Baldwin began entering juried art fairs all over the West Coast, New Mexico and Arizona. But after 25 years of hauling her displays long distances, she decided to quit.
She moved to Central Oregon in 1993 and now paints from her studio on the edge of the Deschutes National Forest. A passionate outdoor enthusiast, she enjoys hiking, biking, camping and skiing, activities which have changed her art focus to landscape painting in oil or acrylic. After viewing her current work at the gallery, we all will be waiting impatiently for those scenes from her latest vacation.