Raquel Roth is a Halifax-based acrylic artist and is also a dental clinical instructor at Dalhousie University. Originally from Trinidad, she is inspired by bold colours and the beauty of natural elements, especially florals. She attributes this largely to the vibrancy of island life growing up with its yearly Carnival celebrations. We interviewed Raquel to learn more about her practice, inspirations, and what she is working on today.
1. How does your creative day look like and what inspires you to make art? Has your creative day changed due to Covid-19?
I mainly paint at night when the house is quiet and I can totally focus on the painting process. I can lose myself for hours in front of the easel and It becomes my happy place to recharge at the end of the day. My inspiration often starts with a particular colour palette that I feel like exploring and I really feel that florals are especially suited to the bright and bold colours that I favour. When COVID-19 came to Nova Scotia and everything was shut down, it was an opportunity to really concentrate on the marketing and business side of my painting career. The painting was a welcome activity to escape from the stress of all the unprecedented, abrupt changes to our daily lives as a result of coronavirus.
2. Tell us more about your art studio.
I have taken over a small office and a guest room on the upper floor of our home as a studio space. It is wonderful to have a dedicated space to be able to go up and paint whenever I have free time.
3. How did you first get interested in your medium/s?
I discovered my love for painting when I took an introductory course to acrylics at NSCAD a few years ago. I found it to be a relaxing and almost magical experience mixing up batches of yummy colours!
4. Describe your style in one sentence.
I would describe my art style as joyful, colorful, and whimsical... with an emphasis on florals.
5. Has your style changed over time?
My painting style has definitely evolved over time. My brushwork is more dynamic and confident and I have started exploring new colour palettes and utilizing texture and other mixed media applications in my work. I am constantly looking for new ways of implementing techniques that I have been exposed to through various online and in-person workshops.
6. What are your main artistic tools?
My medium is acrylics at the moment. Although I have a wide variety of brushes, I find that flats are the ones I always seem to pick up. TriArt retarder, which is made in Canada, is also invaluable to help me achieve soft edges and blending with fast-drying acrylics.
7. Do you ever experience creativity blocks and how do you stay positive and inspired?
Because of the relatively recent start to my artistic career, I have been lucky in that I haven’t encountered any creative roadblocks yet. Everything still seems so new and exciting - I have many unfinished canvases, simply because I need to get all my ideas out before I forget them! And it’s not hard to stay positive and inspired when I paint flowers. There are infinite hues to choose from and combine, and so many beautiful varieties of flowers to paint. Flowers just make me happy in general, so I don’t find much of a problem being inspired.
8. What artists - either contemporary or from history - have had an impact on you and your art practice?
In terms of historical paintings, Monet’s classic water lilies painting has always been one of my favourites, along with his impressionistic style. One contemporary artist who has had a big impact on my style is Nancy Medina, a floral artist based in Colorado Springs. Her whimsical peony paintings and general use of bold colour first inspired me to paint the beauty of flowers.
9. Do you think the art world has changed or will be changing due to the pandemic? If yes, how?
The pandemic has certainly had a dramatic impact on the art world since galleries and exhibitions around the world have had to close for several months. Online shopping for art has become more popular as a result, which I feel makes it harder for new, emerging artists to be “discovered” among the deluge of art available online. I am so grateful to Liza at Kefi Art Gallery for helping to expand my social media presence to bring my art to a wider audience.
10. What project are you working on right now? What would you like to do next?
Although I am passionate about florals, I would like to expand into more landscape and seascape painting in the future. I’d also love to incorporate more metallic and iridescent paints in my artwork. I do love a little sparkle and bling! Thanks for taking the time to read more about my artistic journey. Take care and stay safe everyone!