Regional Artist Profile: Rachel Doring

Regional Artist Profile: Rachel Doring

Monique Boucher

For an artist who failed art at her New Zealand high school, Rachel Doring is now proving the school of life is a more knowledgeable teacher.

Based in Kalgoorlie, Rachel is a self-taught artist who revels in using oils and mixed media. She uses words such as ‘luscious, glossy, and delicious’ when referring to her chosen medium. She says it allows her the option to manipulate the artwork days after she puts it down if she changes her mind and is guided to work more with the piece and modify it. It’s a practice that has certainly found an audience; her commissions and artworks are sought after from collectors locally and worldwide.

Rachel refuelling and drawing inspiration from Esperance. Picture by Mayah Doring.

Rachel uses textures, multiple layers, and high contrasts – preferring to stay true to her intuitive process.

“We as artists have the opportunity to influence the world around us. It is our responsibility to use our voices wisely. To think about the visual and spiritual footprint we leave behind us. I for one take that seriously.”

“I am happy to produce work that may not fit into a box. I would rather touch one person with truth and move them to growth, then tickle 1000 with art for trend’s sake.”

Rachel’s return to art has been a cathartic process. She says she felt broken after failing art at school, as she had such a passion for it and wanted to go to university and study it further. She left school at 15 to do an apprenticeship in hairdressing to express her creativity in other ways. Following this she occupied a head role as an event planner and prop designer for weddings and other big events.

In 2001 she found herself a single mother with three children living in a rundown coal miners’ cottage and needed to come up with a financial solution to support her family. She found solace in painting when her children were sleeping.

Rachel’s workbench. Picture by Rachel Doring.

A local restaurant bought her early paintings and before long her artwork was being sold further afield and demand was growing.

Rachel says this gave her the confidence to resurrect her passion for the brush.

“As like many of us, I have experienced many layers of trauma in my life. The resilience built by sheer determination has made me sensitive to issues of the heart. I like to confront heart issues that pierce the viewer and make them think.”

Her move to Kalgoorlie in 2011 with her new partner and children for a new life was a shock to the system. Rachel was born and bred in the much cooler climate of Napier, New Zealand. She is proud of her Maori heritage, descending from the Ngai Tahu tribe.

Rachel’s murals certainly don’t shy away from bright hues. Picture by Billy Ray Stokes.

Rachel was very familiar with the greens and blues of New Zealand – in comparison the ruggedness, dryness and isolation of Kalgoorlie was unexpected and surprising. So, craving those natural colours of home, she would often indulge in these bright hues through her works. Many fellow kiwis were drawn to Rachel’s depictions of their home country, and she found an audience among them.

After nine years living in Kalgoorlie Rachel says she has immersed herself in the rich colours the Goldfields exudes.

“I decided that if I’m going to live here, I had better find the beauty that was here. I walked out into the bush.”

“There is beauty out here you don’t find in other places. Wildflowers and sunsets. That beauty goes inside you.”

“Now it has evolved to a different palette of preference as the remote environment changes the beauty my eye beholds. I use more earthy colours now.”

When asked if there is a difference between regional art and art in general, Rachel sees a correlation between how the city influences the dweller and likewise the country does too.

“Regional art I have found to be different. This is a natural progression, I guess. I for one choose not to be a city dweller as it stresses me out,” she says, laughing.

Rachel, a few locals, and local artists Joe One and Rosa Clarke stand by Rachel’s mural for the Heartwalk project. Picture by Billy Ray Stokes

“City dwellers can find regional life too slow for them. Somewhat we place ourselves in the environments we prefer, so that must affect what you are attracted to. Including art.”

Rachel sees the 600km distance from Perth as an advantage. The remoteness forced her out of her studio and encouraged her to make connections with other creatives in town. She feels very supported by her art community, as they work closely together and go to each other’s events.

She also says the ‘buy local’ movement is very strong in the Goldfields and WA. Even though Rachel sells her work nationally and internationally, Western Australians are her most avid buyers. She sells on average 2 painting per week in Kalgoorlie.

Rachel is more recently known for her intuitive painting commissions. This new approach invites people to consult with Rachel and have complete trust in her process to create a one-of-a-kind piece of art just for them.

“When I paint, whatever is coming through my mind will come out on the canvas. My emotions and thoughts. If I focus on all the technical aspects of painting, I will get stuck in perfectionism and perfectionism will stifle me. If I put on music, the other side of my brain is used, and it comes without thinking about it. It bypasses the analytical part of the brain.

“If you are stuck in thinking too closely about it, you might get a perfect picture, but there is no feeling to it. It doesn’t translate. My spiritual connection is the way I communicate.

“Each painting I currently produce comes with written interpretation and photos of the entire process. Including music played, quotes or poetry and a personal note.

“My goal is to lift people’s eyes higher than what they currently can see. To look beyond and beneath to the essence of life inside us all. We are all unique and carry purpose. Hence my tag line of “Beyond the brush”.”

Rachel at work for Heartwalk 2018. Picture by Billy Ray Stokes.

Interestingly, during the COVID-19 pandemic, her intuitive paintings have increased in popularity. She has created 15 since July alone. Rachel has seen a rise in men approaching her for personal commissions. Prior to this her intuitive commissions were primarily women. She feels this might be due to the responsibility felt by men and the uncertainty of the time.

“I guess because my work is purposely positive, it has attracted folks that need some hope, or ideas beyond themselves.

“I love to help others unlock the voice inside of them to communicate visually. Often an image can speak far more than words. ”

Last year Rachel turned to more formalized art study and graduated the online school: Milan Art Institute. She is now employed by them, as an online coach and mentor for the Mastery program. She is one of many international coaches; however, she is the first and only Australian coach, an achievement she is very proud of.

Rachel also enjoys passing on what she has learnt through her art journey to local aspiring artists. She has collaborated with Kalgoorlie artist Em Anders from Hippocrocaduck studio to deliver an Australia native flowers workshop using oils and acrylics. She is also available for solo workshops in intuitive painting and landscape painting.

Rachel at work on a mural for the local gym. Picture by Melissa Tana.

Her artworks can also be purchased as a print, on a card or she has a range of mood mugs to brighten up your day.

Writing has recently become an increasing passion for Rachel, as an extension of her visual art practice. She has been encouraged by community members to start blogging. Check out her blog here.

For more information about Rachel’s art or to purchase or commission artworks visit her website or follow her on social media – Facebook and Instagram. To contact Rachel email rbdoring@gmail.com or call 0487 460 294.

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