Wabi-Sabi Wisdom: An Interview with artist Rebecca Anne Maclean

Wabi-Sabi Wisdom: An Interview with artist Rebecca Anne Maclean

We are delighted to present a captivating written interview with the incredibly talented artist, Rebecca Anne Maclean, brought to you by the founder of Terra Cruda, Jade Bicheno. 

As we prepare to showcase Rebecca's full collection in our online store, we had the privilege of delving into her world of awe-inspiring artistry.

Rebecca's artistic journey is a symphony of emotions, organic hues, and the beauty of the natural world. Her profound connection with nature is masterfully woven into every stroke, making her artwork a poignant reflection of our intrinsic bond with the environment.

In this interview, Rebecca shares her artistic inspirations, creative process, and the stories behind her mesmerising creations. Join us on this enchanting exploration as we unravel the essence of Rebecca Anne Maclean's artistry and celebrate the fusion of nature's canvas with Terra Cruda's heartfelt dedication to preserving the beauty of our planet.

Artwork by Rebecca Anne Maclean

J: I’m so excited to have you on board and share your work with our audience! To start, could you tell us a bit about your artistic journey and the key influences that have shaped your work over the years?

R: Thank you. I am absolutely delighted to be working with you and Terra Cruda. My artistic journey is definitely not that linear. As a child, I was always super creative - spending hours upon hours drawing, painting, making things, writing, coming up with outlandish ideas of things I wanted to do and be when I ‘grew up’.

As happens with so many of us, life and adulting seemed to take over and my creativity in terms of art got forgotten about for many years - although I never stopped gravitating towards all things design, particularly interiors, art and fashion.

It wasn’t until around the time that covid had us all in lockdown that I felt this urge to want to paint on a canvas. I ended up taking an online 1:1 masterclass with an artist I admired at the time, and let’s just say that most of my income ended up being spent in the local art store in Brisbane.

I’ve only been painting regularly for about 2 years now and fully launched my art into the world just over 12 months ago which was, in all honesty, pretty terrifying! My influences have really stemmed from an array of sources but most notably from the beauty of nature, inspiring environments and spaces, and the vast range of emotions we experience as humans.  

J: Observing your work, you truly can see the elements of nature woven through your creative process. What medium or materials do you prefer to work with, and how do you see them harmonising with Terra Cruda's theme and products?

R: I adore working with raw materials and I’m obsessed with texture. I work on heavy raw cotton canvas and just love the details that come through when leaving it almost untouched. I also enjoy collecting natural tools to use to apply paint to the canvas - you can really paint with almost anything and I love finding random stones or sticks, and as such like to use them as both a reference and a tool. I’ve also explored the use of charcoal in my last two collections which I intend to use more in future pieces. 

I tend to work mostly with blacks and neutrals which fits the Terra Cruda aesthetic perfectly, whilst also having a focus on working with sustainable and economical practices. My Wabi Sabi collection feels right at home alongside Terra Cruda’s curations, with its celebration of imperfection and earthy, neutral tones.

Artwork by Rebecca Anne Maclean

J: Every artist has their own creative rituals or routines. Could you share some insights into your creative process? Do you have any specific practices that help you find inspiration or overcome creative challenges?

R: Ooh this is a hard one to answer. Sometimes I feel SO stuck and uninspired and I’ve found that usually it means I’m just not meant to be creating at that time. I’ve learned to work with my energy a lot more in the last 6-12 months and not force it if it’s not there. I tend to work really FAST and when I get a big idea, or a creative surge I can easily create a full collection in just a few days, sometimes even less. 

When I’m actually in the process of creating and I get stuck, I learnt something interesting from the artist, Taylor A White, where he said he makes the ‘next worst possible decision’ and then tries to figure his way out of it. I’ve found this a challenging but fun way to keep myself free during the process and not allow myself to get too hung up on perfectionism.

I also experiment a LOT and especially as I’m still very much at the beginning of my art career. I allow myself to change my mind, to start over again and again and again, to paint over something I hate, or sometimes completely abandon an idea if it doesn’t feel right. 

Artwork by Rebecca Anne Maclean at Terra Cruda

J: Your artwork often explores themes of nature and raw beauty. How did you become passionate about these subjects, and how do they manifest in your creations? 

R: I have always loved the aesthetics of Japandi and Wabi Sabi, as well as minimalism, and have explored these concepts and subjects through reading and my own research. If I’m interested in something I’ll go down a rabbit hole for some time until I feel I ‘know’ it well enough that I feel satisfied. I don’t often intend on creating a specific piece, instead I explore a technique or a tool that I’m enjoying and try to impose limitations on myself to really see what that technique or tool can do (again with the rabbit holes!). 

With the Wabi Sabi collection, it was the repetitive and intricate brushwork that I was exploring as well as the overall concept of finding beauty in imperfection. I used one particular brush so heavily that it broke. In regards to my love of nature, I grew up on remote islands in the North of Scotland, surrounded by raw, wild nature. I suppose that’s had more of an impact on me that I realised! 

J: In my experience of witnessing your pieces, I’ve felt a very grounding and reflective effect that your work can have. Do you feel these emotions come up for you when you’re creating your masterpieces? 

R: That’s beautiful to hear, thank you. Every single piece I create is charged with emotion. I can’t create without feeling something. With my Flow State collection, the big bold black gestural marks were to do with a feeling of breaking free and breaking out of the old self. With my more recent works, they were created in a more meditative state where I was reflecting on life and a deep sense of peace and gratitude - so it’s incredible to hear that you as a viewer found that it evokes similar emotions too. 

Artwork by Rebecca Anne Maclean at Terra Cruda

J: Moreover, is there a specific piece in your collection that carries significant weight for you? Or a piece that tells a special or significant story?

Wabi Sabi Three is my favourite piece. I felt as though I was in a trance when I created this work and I adore the deep peace it has given me, both when creating the piece and now looking back at it. 

The One (my best-selling print) is also a poignant one for me as it was created when I finally started to let go of the need for my paintings to ‘work’ and experienced the freedom that I hope is conveyed through the bold, gestural marks. 

Artwork by Rebecca Anne Maclean at Terra Cruda

J: Your art incorporates a captivating blend of organic hues and serene emotions. How do you infuse this level of depth and emotion into your creations, and what do you hope your audience feels when they encounter your art?

R: I think that when you create something from emotion, that emotion (or at least something similar) should come through. The depth in my more recent works was all down to those limitations I mentioned earlier. I kept practising with variations of one technique and one or two tools until it clicked.

As much as I find limitations useful within my practice (colours, tools, etc), in contrast, I love to feel as free as possible to create entirely different collections so that I can continue to develop my skills and my identity as an artist.

Therefore, each collection (and sometimes even each piece) has a different emotion and energy that I’m trying to invoke. With Flow State, I want you to feel free, bold and powerful. With Wabi Sabi, I want you to feel grounded, calm and reflective.

J: All in all, I’m so excited about this collaboration and the synergy between our brands. Are there any final thoughts you’d like to share with our audience?

R: I just wanted to say thank you. I’m just thrilled to be partnering with Terra Cruda and cannot wait to see what’s in store for us over the coming months and years… perhaps even an exclusive collection on the horizon or some further collaborations - stay tuned! 


Rebecca's entire artistic collection is now available to shop online at Terra Cruda: see the collection here


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