Featured Artist Rachael Grad

Painter Rachael Grad embraces the creative chaos of being a mother in her colorful portfolio, and shares her ongoing artistic odyssey. View more by visiting her website.


abstract painting of a child's toy

“Mommy Mayhem: Bunny Landscape with Oranges and Blues” oil on paper, 30″ x 22″


Motherhood is an unpredictable journey. Since becoming a parent, I’ve learned to carve out precious pockets of time amidst the chaos when I can indulge in bursts of creative expression. Within these moments, I find refuge, drawing inspiration from my children’s unfiltered joy and uninhibited curiosity.


oil painting abstracted image of a toy

“Mommy Mayhem: Pink Elephant Abstracted” oil on paper, 30″ x 22″


In my recently completed Master of Fine Arts thesis, I delved deep into the symbiotic relationship between artistic play and motherhood. Through combining research and personal reflection, I championed the idea that humor and play are essential components of creative expression and vital tools for navigating the complex terrain of motherhood. In this narrative, I fervently advocated for the recognition of women as creators and nurturers, challenging the traditional dichotomy that often pigeonholes mothers into one role.


oil painting abstracted image of a toy elephant

“Mommy Mayhem: Pink Elephant Landscape Abstracted” oil on paper, 30″ x 22


While my artistic journey may deviate from the conventional paths paved by iconic motherhood artworks such as Mary Kelly’s “Post-Partum Document,” I offer a fresh perspective that celebrates motherhood’s messy, chaotic beauty. By infusing my work with elements of play and humor, I seek to transcend the confines of established norms and carve out a space that is uniquely mine.


abstract oil painting by Rachael Grad

“Mommy Mayhem: Bunny Landscape in Greens” oil on paper, 30″ x 22″


At the heart of my artistic practice lies the relentless pursuit of documenting the ever-evolving landscape of motherhood through the lens of my three children. Titled Mommy Mayhem, my abstract paintings serve as visual diaries, capturing the fleeting moments of parenting amidst a backdrop of scattered toys, books, and crafts that seem to multiply with each passing day.


abstract oil painting from Mommy Mayhem series

“Mommy Mayhem: Bunny Landscape with Oranges and Pinks” oil on paper, 30″ x 22″


Navigating through the labyrinth of clutter, I employ a multi-layered approach to my artistic process. Beginning with life drawings and paintings, I meticulously layer and collage these observations digitally before translating them into expressive, expressionist canvases. This is a labor-intensive process that mirrors the complexities of motherhood itself, where each brushstroke becomes a testament to the repetitive motion of parenthood, building upon layers of chaos and movement.


acrylic abstract painting of a child's doll

“Mommy Mayhem: Belle Abstracted #4″ acrylic on paper, 30″ x 22”


Drawing inspiration from the vibrant hues that adorn my children’s toys, crafts, books, and clothing, my paintings pulsate with energy and vitality. Each acrylic or oil paint stroke is imbued with a sense of urgency as if trying to capture the fleeting essence of childhood before it slips away. In this way, my art celebrates life in all its messy, chaotic glory.


abstract painting of a Disney character

“Mommy Mayhem: Arielle Abstracted #4″ acrylic on paper, 30″ x 22”


But my artistic journey is not just about capturing moments; it is also about reclaiming agency in a world that often seeks to diminish the creative contributions of mothers. By playfully mocking and referencing art history movements such as Abstract Expressionism, I aim to challenge the notion that motherhood and artistic innovation are mutually exclusive. Instead, I embrace the contradictions inherent in mothering and artmaking, creating work that shows the struggles in balancing the two.


group of paintings in an exhibition by Rachael Grad

Group of 15 Mommy Mayhem Paintings, oil and acrylic on paper, each 30″ x 22″


Ultimately, my art serves as a testament to the resilience of motherhood, capturing its essence through playful abstraction and vibrant expression. My journey is marked by moments of difficulties and celebrations. I remain steadfast in my commitment to celebrating the messy, chaotic world of a mother and an artist.


Rachael Grad invites you to follow her on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, X, Pinterest and YouTube.


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