Rachel Lynn Thompson
Rachel Thompson is an award-winning Florida painter who has expanded into jewelry design and three-dimensional art. She received the Gargiulo Art Foundation Artist of the Year Award in 2015.
Rachel has exhibited in the Appleton Museum in Ocala, Fla., and the Niagra Arts and Cultural Center in Niagra Falls, N.Y., where she had her first solo show. She previously owned and ran Artistic Soul, an art boutique, in Youngstown, N.Y., and I Am Art Rachel & Friends, a gallery in the Hammock in East-Central Florida. Her work also has been exhibited in numerous Florida galleries and art centers.
Rachel is a member of Florida Women Artists, the Gargiulo Art Foundation and Florida Society of Goldsmiths. Her paintings and jewelry can be viewed by appointment at her home/studio in Ormond Beach, Florida. A sampling of her work is on display at Arts on Granada in Ormond Beach.
Rachael Thompson also attended and trained in the Mosaic Workshops located in Ravenna, Italy.
“Aesthetics and spirituality define my work,” says artist Rachel Thompson, reflecting her background in interior design and spiritual studies.
For Rachel, who was named the Gargiulo Art Foundation’s 2015 Artist of the Year, the mystical and the spiritual weave through her work -- sometimes subtly, sometimes overtly.
Consider “Undaunted,” her huge triptych of a horse sporting war paint. Some viewers will see a horse galloping with abandon yet grace through the hilly desert below the Sangre de Christo Mountains in New Mexico, a sacred place Rachel has visited several times. Other viewers may see “Undaunted” as a winged Pegasus flying above those desert plains.
Another equine-themed painting by Rachel, “Tribal Ties: East Meets West,” reflects her belief that commonalities flow through the world’s wisdom traditions.
Rachel also has felt a spiritual pull akin to legendary artist Georgia O’Keeffe.
When O'Keeffe was living in northern New Mexico in the 1940s, she’d look out from her home – dubbed Ghost Ranch – and be spellbound by Pedernal Mountain, a nearby flat-topped mesa almost 10,000 feet high.
“God told me if I painted it enough, I could have it,” O’Keeffe famously said. And so she did, casting Pedernal onto her canvases almost 30 times before her death in 1986.
Rachel too felt compelled to paint her own interpretation of Pedernal after one of her New Mexico trips – a painting in which she captures the magical orange and purple-blue fires of a sunset behind Pedernal, while horses (called “spirit dogs” by the Blackfeet tribe) frolic in a sacred half-circle below the mountain.
“That was a divinely ordained trip,” Rachel says. “I know I was on sacred ground and do feel I needed to walk that land, to reconnect with that land.”
Rachel’s more overtly spiritual works include “Surmount,” a diptych depicting a winged woman, and her Moon Chakra Series painted on seven discs. Chakras are what Eastern/Hindu/Buddhist/Tantric mystics and yoga practitioners believe to be the seven “wheels” or focal points of energy located vertically throughout the human body. For those mystics, chakra work is all about opening, fostering and harnessing the mind-body spirit connection.
Rachel also paints from the photographs of Native Americans taken by the renowned early 20th-century historian Edward Curtis. Such is the case with Thompson’s painting of Chief Joseph, which was advertised and sold through Southwest Art Magazine. The editors of that publication featured Rachel as an emerging national artist.
“There’s a spiritual connection for me with the Native,” says Rachel who, during one of her New Mexico trips, explored the ancient ruins of the Anasazi pueblo people at a site known as Tsankawi. Tucked in the Jemez Mountains between Los Alamos and Santa Fe, the cliff dwellings of Tsankawi date to the late 1100s.
“It’s almost therapeutic for me to paint a Native face,” Thompson said. “I paint it until I feel that face is looking back at me, telling me that I’ve honored it.”
Rachel recently participated in a collaborative Psalm study project which paired U.S. and Israeli artists to depict verses from the Book of Psalms. The exhibit of mixed-media collaborations, including “Mourning into Dancing” by Avi Zafon and Rachel, opened in Israel in 2016 and traveled throughout the Southeastern United States into 2017.
Rachel’s latest artistic pursuits include the design and fabrication of jewelry using silver, 24-K gold, copper, semi-precious and precious gemstones, and the Recovery Collection, a collaboration with Chester Perkowski that utilizes colorful recovered/reconstituted polystyrene, copper and stone.
"The beauty of our interior world can be expressed in what we surround ourselves with. Likewise, the beauty of our surroundings can enhance and evoke our genuine nature within."