We teamed up with RAD Artist, Rachel Pohl, to sit down and reflect. Many of her art pieces, which capture beautiful reflection landscapes, are inspired by times and places where she’s reflected and become more present.
What do reflections represent to you?
To me, reflections represent the conscious and subconscious mind. In relation to this piece, it’s a lot easier to have the outward facing version of ourselves look a certain way (represented by the mountain) and more complex to have the mirror of that version of us match up to who we really are (does the reflection of the mountain on the water precisely resemble the mountain?). The real “us” (the water) is deep, vast, and only comes into focus when we allow ourselves to find presence, stillness, and eventually peace, over time.
What makes Trillium Lake so special to you?
In my early 20s, I had a really great group of friends and we’d travel to the Pacific Northwest, and one of our favorite places to go was always Trillium Lake. This place is really special to me because it represents a time in my life where I was learning how to be present. It reminds me of springtime road trips I’d take with friends. We’d camp, bike, ski, sleep in hammocks or in the back of our cars, and just really live for the moment. I felt really safe with this group of people and in this place. At this point I still didn’t know who I was, but slowly, I became okay with not knowing what was next. That was a really simple carefree time of my life.
How does your time in Trillium Lake take form in this print?
Your late teens and early 20s are all about trying to figure out who you are, where you fit in, and where we belong in the world. I used to be so in my head all the time worrying about what other people thought of me and if I was good enough, which really took me out of the moment. Because of where I was with this time in my life, you can see the reflection in this painting is quite fragmented, not quite whole, representing a time when I started to put the pieces of who I was together. It’s also covered up with the rhododendron flowers that represent presence- for flowers don’t bloom for long, and we have to enjoy them now. Being present and not processing our true nature (water) isn’t the entire answer to being whole, but it is a wonderful first step in becoming the best version of ourselves possible.
"Trillium Lake is really special to me because it represents a time in my life where I was learning how to be present."
Describe your process when connecting your personal reflections to your illustrations:
I want to create a feeling with my paintings. They are not always based in reality. For example, when there is a full moon, you can't see that many stars. At night even, the flowers might not even be open. But I love creating this heightened form of reality combining the best memories and moments from experiences. I take a ton of source images and combine them until I get the perfect composition that captures the whole magic of the place. It sort of forms this impossible dreamscape that brings so much wonder and whimsy to the viewer. In reality, none of these can exist at once, and as an artist, I get to decide the amount of magic that goes into the painting. I really wanted to push myself with this one and convey a full, busy, chaotic life. I love how with painting, every aspect can have so much meaning and impact. It goes beyond an oil painting, it’s a reflection of this time of my life.