BY PATRICIA DUFF
Whidbey Life Magazine
Dec. 23, 2013
At her cozy log home near Honeymoon Bay, Rebecca Collins’ kitchen doubles as her creative space, where two small easels steal focus, and a plethora of pastels are laid out on the table. You may have noticed the products of this colorful chaos in WLM’s Virtual Gallery this month.
If not, you may have seen Collins’ work in various locales around the island, as this 20-year-resident of Whidbey Island has been painting as many years and more, reflecting the joyful color of surroundings.
Collins studied art at Central Washington University, where she got her bachelor of arts in fine art and went on to receive an MFA from Syracuse University. For the past 10 years, she’s been a graphic design artist at the South Whidbey Record, but has also been busy painting.
Collins often participates in the Froggwell Invitational Exhibit of Fine Art in Freeland, a forgery show organized by local painter Anne Belov, (also the curator of WLM’s Virtual Gallery). Collins said she is currently at work on a painting in the style of the Canadian Group of Seven — sometimes known as the Algonquin school — who were seven, early 2oth century Canadian landscape painters and believed that a distinct Canadian art could be developed through direct contact with nature. It’s not surprising that she chose that group’s style to emulate, as it’s apparent from looking at Collins’ work that she connects with nature and pays attention to her enviroment.
Collins also shows her work sometimes at Rob Schouten Gallery at Greenbank Farm, but specializes in commissioned portraits, many of which she does from old photographs.
“I do a lot of portraits for people who have lost a loved one, or found an old family photo, and would like to turn the image into a portrait,” Collins said.
Collins likes to work with oil pastels and graphite. Her work is naturalistic and colorful, and focuses often on the landscapes of Whidbey Island or the places to which she has traveled.
“I’ve become interested in sailing and have been doing a lot of nautically-themed pieces,” she said. “Our latest trip to Barkley Sound in B.C. gave me a lot of material to work with.”
She also likes painting old cars and trucks, which she said seems to be popular subjects for island artists.
Take a look at the WLM Virtual Gallery slideshow to see Collins’ paintings now.
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