Taking Back Control

untitled, oil

untitled, oil

I had a few ideas for cartoons ready to go at the beginning of last weekend, but suddenly, I didn’t feel very funny. Scratch that. I felt funny strange, but not ha ha funny.

Like most Americans, last Friday I had heard the video tape of one of our presidential candidates bragging about his predilection for sexual predation. I’m guessing I am not the only woman who needed a shower after the second debate was over.

I say this because I know I am only one of countless women for whom this week’s discussions called forth memories of being on the receiving end of that kind of unwanted physical attraction. For me those memories temporarily jammed up my creative energy, and it was hard to get back to recklessly abandoning productivity-killing thoughts as I picked at my own mental wound. The week of news did nothing to improve my mood, and it took discipline to stop picking at the scab and return to the balm that always softens it. There would be no getting to reckless abandon this week, but I knew, as always, art would be my answer. .

I can’t make presidential predators see women as people, nor can I compel true candor from him or his opponent, but I can control whether or not I let my frustration with the system shutdown my own growth. All I can do is pick up a brush and focus, not on what degrades human experience, but what inspires it.




Humans cut down trees and build their roads, but Mother Earth will not always stay tamed. She spits out ash to bury buildings and conspired with the wind to make some parts of herself too harsh to ever truly conquer.


Watercolor on Canvas

8" x 10"

Currently Unframed


For questions or to buy this painting email me at rachel @ rachelbarlow.com


We Might have been Mountains

Peaceful Power, 8×10 , watercolor on canvas

 There’s a part of the Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland where almost every hill or mountain is a former volcano or testament to a lava “emission”. some of the more hills that might have been mountains are beginning to grow moss. The pink and purple ground and the muted greens seem to me a perfect combination of power and peaceful promise