Artist story and statement 2019 revised 2023

Rachel Schlueter b.1960 Chicago, Ill.          


Growing up in Chicago shaped my artistic vision., and living in California for 40 years has nurtured my art spirit. 

Chicago public schools taught me the importance of art, community and culture. I learned art was a big deal, and even though I was just a kid, I knew art was epic. My first group art exhibit was at the Art Institute of Chicago, when I was four yrs old. That happened because 1964 was the year the Head-Start program started. The focus was painting. The children's exhibit was a fine kick off for what has proven to be an amazing program! For those destined to be artists, this was a glorious start. 

 Thank you, Chicago, for your diversity! I was lucky to grow up in a culturally diverse town.

When I was eighteen I applied to the American Academy of Art in Chicago. After enrolling I studied figure drawing just long enough to know I had some ability. Soon after my accepted to the Academe, I got swept away on an adventure to Mexico. Life is so weird. Just when your most precious dream comes true your other precious dream comes true and you have to pick. I'll never really know if quitting the academe was the best or worst thing I could've done for my art career. 

Cat worship also began in Chicago. Stray and feral cats were elusive creatures. Kittens emerged in the Spring like Tulips. As a child I was always after them! I would scale any fence just to catch a glimpse. Their existence was important to me. I saw how they suffered, especially in winter, and I wanted to help them. Being a cat artist has enabled me to do that. I’m happy to say, I've raised money to help cats via the art world. Another great adventure. 

Last but not least, and not in Chicago, I discovered landscape painting. When I was thirty, I took a weekend workshop in Redway California, that had a profound impact, and led me to believe my destiny was to become a landscape painter. I wasn’t far off, but it would have to wait because my other destiny was calling. Which was figure study. Long story short, a great group of artists invited me to their drawing group where I ended up studying from a live model for over ten years. At least I had that one landscape under my belt! 

Ten years after the initial landscape painter epiphany and when my two sons were teenagers, I met Stock Schlueter, a handsome  hardcore plein air painter and mountain man from Humboldt County, who introduced me to the very finest in Northern California wilderness culture. Now we travel a lot and share the bounties of love, art and marriage. It’s pretty great. We’ve had some amazing adventures. I conclude, Plein air painting is the hardest and most rewarding work I can think of.

For some reason, my art life and life in general has always been very dynamic. The ground shifts under my feet fairly regularly, and I find myself in new territory, looking in new directions. I've been painting in oils for over 25 years, and though my subject matter continues to change, my love for oil paint gets get stronger. And the Cats abide!

Painting is so far-out to me, that I'm on my knees before I start. Not kidding, that's how I feel. 

I am eternally grateful to all who have inspired and supported me on this crazy path. 


I grew up loving art. My dad was a painter and so I was encouraged and inspired to make art from an early age. Throughout life, I’ve had many opportunities to study and progress. 
As a senior looking back on a lifetime, I see how art and life are intertwined, bearing the fruit of the soul. It’s through art that one can find peace and contemplation, a mooring. 

Beyond solitary quietude, art is what makes life tick. It’s where it’s at, what the buzz is all about!  And if you are open art will step right in and do what it does. 
I believe the process (of making art) is the destination. Maybe that’s why it’s sometimes hard to know when a painting is done. 

Art and life are kind of the same, in that you start out not knowing a whole lot, and by the time you're relatively developed, it all becomes more fluid, manageable and enjoyable. 
The struggles are real. If you can continue working through the hard times, and educate yourself about art, the right path forward will be revealed. So don’t give up. Trust art and believe in the creative process.

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