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About the Artist

Rachael Grad is a Toronto artist, mom of three, and former lawyer who has studied and worked in the US, France, Italy and Hong Kong. Grad left practicing law to study painting full-time in New York City at the New York Studio School and then New York University (NYU) before transferring to OCAD University. Grad earned BFA in Painting and Drawing from OCAD University as the Governor General's Academic Medal and Mrs. W.O. Forsyth Award Winner and is in the Master of Fine Arts program at York University (expected graduation in 2024). Focusing on colourful abstract, figurative and representational art, her art practice incorporates digital painting and collage along with observational drawing and painting. Grad combines her experience as a mother, former lawyer and traveler into her artwork.  

Grad's artwork has been shown in solo and group shows in Washington, DC, New York City, Venice, Italy, and the Toronto area. She holds degrees from Brandeis University (BA, Honors in Economics & Minor in French Literature), Duke University School of Law (JD) and Sciences Po in Paris, France (Diploma, International Relations). She has studied painting and drawing at New York University, the New York Studio School and OCAD University in Toronto.

Rachael Grad lives and works in Toronto, Canada. To see her full CV, click here

Inspired by Colour

"Colour is the uniting factor in my artwork. Painting and drawing are my main focus but I also incorporate mixed media collage and photography into my studio practice.

Trained to work from life as an observational painter, my artwork combines painting from life with abstract marks of color. Current series include landscape drawings, abstracted interiors, wild flower paintings and meditative abstract color studies.

Whether it’s my children’s toys, travel photographs or Toronto gardens and flowers, color combinations inspire and excite me. I love exploring and observing color in the world around me then trying to capture what I see in painting or drawing."

Painting Process

"To begin a new drawing or painting, I start by meditating in my studio, then drawing a compositional sketch with pencil or paint. In my art studio I work on multiple paintings and drawings at once over many sessions.

I experiment with different applications of colour: washes of paint, bold brushstrokes and palette knife marks across the canvas or panel. My recent abstract paintings are very colorful and lively. Over time as I apply paint, the image becomes more abstracted. Each artwork has many layers and lots of texture built up over multiple painting sessions.

Painting people and toys is a subject I can't help but return to year after year. As a mother of 3 young children, my art studio time is treasured and focused. Through the process of making art, I reconnect with myself as an adult and creator, independent of being a mother and wife. The pressures of family and time constraints come out in my artwork, even when I set out to make slow, meditative paintings."

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