While many children climb trees, as a young boy who grew up in Salem, Massachusetts in the 1960s, I spent an inordinate amount of time in trees—little did I know the education I was giving myself at the time! Foregoing acceptance to art school at the Massachusetts College of Art, I parlayed my interest in the natural world by attending the Essex Institute of Agriculture in Hawthorne, Massachusetts, studying Forestry and Ornamental Horticulture. Upon graduation, I entered the world of high-end antique and art restoration. For twenty years, I was able to hone colorist skills and the ability to experiment with diverse materials; the consistent nature of such refined work is in direct contrast to how I approach my paintings.
Painting primarily on board with house oil paints, I employ action painting techniques. By utilizing house oils, there is less interruption between myself and the application of paint—I am able to achieve random and spontaneous effects and have more direct access to the fluidity of the medium; to “be literally ‘in’ the painting” to quote Jackson Pollock. No brushes are used in my work, as brushes impede the ability to manipulate paint, and diminish the paint’s ability to dictate form—I work with torn shapes of lightweight cardboard, and at times, actual plant material to apply paint. The dynamic nature of the paint, in addition to utilizing organic materials, links me to the textural nature of real and imagined landscapes with a sense of place, volume, and depth. While my work most often starts with abstract intensity, eventually there is a concentrated focus on refinement. In truth, the last 10% of any painting—the final refinement—takes 90% of the time to complete.
Primarily, my work focuses on “treescapes” and the never-ending inspiration provided by Maine and New England forests—I liken my paintings as orchestrations of visual music, much like jazz which is different from more formalized concepts of music. My paintings are invented as they proceed, and as each portion of the composition comes forward on a moment by moment basis, the components are random and abstract, yet consciously orchestrated—the growth of a living forest works in much the same way.
I presently maintain my studio in Camden, Maine where I live year-round with my wife Michele, our cat (“Kringle”), and a Welsh corgi (“Chauncey”). We enjoy exploring the forests and coast of Maine, especially Acadia and Reid State Park in Georgetown. Time is also spent working on the restoration of our circa 1804 cape house, and conducting historical research of the house or on antiques we have purchased.
Below are a few links to learn more about Rainville and see all of his available works.