Rebecca Seymour was born in upstate New York in 1956. She now lives and works in Vancouver, Washington and summers in her childhood cottage on one of the Finger Lakes of New York State. Seymour earned a painting degree at Pacific Northwest College of Arts, Portland, OR (2000) and her Bachelors of Arts degree from University of Bridgeport, Bridgeport, CT (1992).
Seymour, an abstract artist, likes using acrylic paints due to their quick drying time and because they allow her to work in layers, so she can create paintings with depth and three-dimensional qualities. Her canvases are typically quite large—at least 4′ x 5’—with the intent that they allow the viewer to travel into an imaginary world, much like books can do for readers. “When you are standing in front of my canvasses, you can almost step into them. And once you are in them, you can define your own experience,” Seymour says.
She’s inspired almost singularly by elements of nature, most particularly the Pacific Northwest’s rain in winter, as the light is very neutral and peaceful. In fact, she’s inspired by many forms of water as well as thunder and lightening which, sadly, she rarely experiences in her Pacific Northwest home. Her favorite colors are all in the blue family, including reds that have a heavy blue tone, probably due to her affinity to water. Her work allows viewers to focus on the magical qualities of nature, giving their imagination and fantasies an opportunity to explore, while also offering a mysterious yet soothing experience.
Seymour prefers to create a series of paintings so she can focus over time on the element at hand and fully explore its mysterious and spiritual nature. She always starts by mixing colors on her palette for an hour or more, a process she finds meditative and essential for getting in spirit with her subject matter. Her tools of choice include a variety of brushes, sometimes even a house painter’s brush, and occasionally a spatula. She applies the medium in layers, sometimes removing it using a scrubbing or a scraping motion.
Seymour says she found her style by copying the great artists who explored nature. “Copying is such a no-no, but I think that’s bullshit,” she says. “If there’s one rule I rebel against it’s that. Copying is a fabulous way to really learn new techniques and methods of composition. In the 14th – 16th centuries, that’s how you learned, from copying your mentor’s work. For example, just take Georgia O’Keefe. I’ll study the composition of one of her paintings from a variety of angles. This could take a day or two. Then I start looking at colors. When you look deep into a painting, you’d be surprised what you find. Then I look at brush strokes. For instance, Monet and Picasso have very different brush strokes.” Seymour is very clear that none of the works she displays are copies, she simply uses the method as a way to learn about her subject matter.
She is currently working on a new series called “The Shape of Water,” which she began contemplating at her Upstate New York summer home in 2017. “There’s something about lakes, rivers and creeks that speak to me more than the ocean. There’s a depth there that we don’t appreciate and we don’t look at.” You can follow the progress of that work on her blog.
Seymour is a founding member of The North Bank Artists Community Project, a gallery that supported and displayed work of local artists in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area for almost 15 years. She’s married to Gregory Lueck. They have two children, Andrew and Jessica, and several grandchildren.