Featured Artist Jessie Rasche

Featured Artist Jessie Rasche


Up close with artist jessie rasche

"Paintings are my way of describing the connection we have with the land and animals around us. I hope my paintings resonate with viewers and inspire joyous connection, as I believe this is what makes life and art so meaningful."

- Jessie Rasche


Jessie Rasche is an impressionist painter based in South Dakota. Her unique paintings focus on light and color, highlighting the simple scenery of the Midwest and beyond. We got the chance to ask her some questions about her work which is on display for all of March and April in 2020. To see all of her work in the show, visit her artist page here.

1. What is the central goal of your work?

"I love to try to capture that sense of connection that I can see between different animals and the land, and the implied connection with the land all around me, the prairie. I try to do that by blending things together, trying to show things are both there. I'm an impressionist painter, I work really hard to make my brushstrokes each have a purpose, to be interesting and have a lot of texture and abstraction."

2. Do you prefer to work outdoors or in the studio?

"I would say I'm about a 60% studio painter. Especially with my larger works. When I work from paintings, I'll still look outside. I have photos, but if I don't feel like the photos are telling me the right information about the light I'll go find something similar at the right time of day, trying to figure out what the light's saying.

3. What's a typical day in the studio look like for you?

"I tend to Sometimes I look out the window and paint the animals I see there, but usually I tend to look at my work. I heard an artist once say that you start a painting and you correct problems until all the problems are gone. That's an oversimplification, but I want my paintings to not just have no problems, but also just be interesting and beautiful. So I tend to use that as my process. I'll live with a photo for a long time, and when I'm ready I'll get it out and start painting early in the day to get as far as I can in the first sitting. I'm pretty obsessive, I'll work for hours on end. I step back and look at my work and try to make lists of what's holding it back from seeing what it can be."

4. You paint a lot of animals in your work, do you have any favorites?

"You know, I always have a favorite but it keeps changing. When I'm around a lot of birds, I love birds. I love them for what they are, but I feel like they symbolize a lot of our culture, of taking flight and being free. I feel like they're themselves, but they also represent themselves in people. I appreciate what they are for themselves, but they have their own personalities for us to look at as well. Cows, horses, when I paint them I see a lot of sweetness and gentleness."

5. Many of your pieces have a very "calming effect." Is that one of your goals with your artwork?

"It is one of my goals! A few years ago I got to do a project for Sanford Hospital, they commissioned me to do some big paintings for the memorial garden, which is where people can go and spend time if they're either in long term care or if they're visiting people who are in long term care. The goal of the work in the space was to give people a way to relax and decompress, feel at home or at peace. I felt like it was a perfect fit for what I wanted to do with my work and it was on a scale that affected a lot of people. I feel like that's true with all of my work, really. I hope that the person that falls in love with this painting and takes it home, that it gives them a sense of peace when they're at home and joy. I hope that they'll have their own histories, their own ideas to contribute to the painting, and that it continues to have an impact in their life."

6. Are you glad you became a full time artist?

"Oh, yeah. I love it and it's, it's definitely hard, challenging at times. I want every single one of my paintings to be the best painting I've done so far. It's a lot of work and a lot of looking out to try to find ways to get better, and also looking in, asking questions like 'why am I painting this, what are my goals, what do I want to bring out and give to the world.' It's more work than you might guess, but it's also more reward. I feel like I'm really following the path I'm supposed to be following."

7. What happens on days when you're low on motivation. What do you do to become inspired again?

"Yeah... that happens, for sure. I have a couple things that I do, and one of them is that I have a stack of photos I've taken of things I really want to paint. When I'm in between paintings it can be hard to find my next direction. I'll look through those and see if I feel strongly enough to find that passion to say something strong with it, and if not I'll just paint a small still life or something to get the process going, to get back in the right mode for creativity."

8. Is it ever hard to part with your work? (Are they like children to you?)

"They are like my children! No, I mean I have paintings I won't part with, or that I just couldn't, but most of my work I'm excited to have it out in the world and have someone care enough about it to take it home, I think that's exciting!"

9. What advice would you give to your younger self?

"I wish I had realized when I was in art school that it was a career I could really do. I mean I wonder if I... I don't know!" [Laughter]

10. What are some goals you have for your artistic career?

"I want to just keep getting better. I want to look and know that I'm continuing to push myself. Career-wise, I'm hoping to have more of my work in public collections where it can affect a lot more people, and to work on a larger scale, in both private home and public collections."

11. You have several larger works here. Do you like painting very large?

"Well, I started off painting very small. When I was just starting, I felt like I needed to do small works in order to progress and not get bogged down on one idea, to keep working through new ideas. As I've gotten stronger with my skills I've gotten larger with my work, but I still like painting small. But I also enjoy the impact a painting can have from a long ways away when it's a little bigger."

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