Love for outdoors shows in Brookings artist Jessie Rasche's work

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Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series about Brookings artists who have made recent sales to the prestigious Art for State Buildings program.

Brookings artist Jessie Rasche has a tremendous love of the outdoors. That love is reflected in the two paintings she has sold to the Art for State Buildings program.

Her most recent sale is “Spring Wild Flowers,” a three-foot by four-foot canvas. “It should have a substantial presence,” Rasche said.

The painting depicts a large swath of wild flowers that wends its way up to a scene of cattle, trees and water.

“It’s kind of a love note to the prairie around here,” Rasche explained. “It’s about how you can be driving out here and it’s feeling like there’s a lot of flat land in front of you and you go around a little curve and all of a sudden there’s this beautiful oasis.”

Her first sale to the Art for State Buildings program was entitled “My Wild Heart” and showed a road near Brookings and beautiful colors in a meadow.

“Simple subject matter, but just really celebrating the unique meadow colors,” Rasche said.

Rasche attended Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon and got her bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon. She worked as a media developer for Microsoft for four years when her husband’s job caused him to be transferred to Brookings.

Throughout her career as an artist, the outdoors has been a recurring subject in Rasche’s work.
“I love painting nature. I love painting animals,” Rasche said. “I feel like the energy that comes off them is so soothing, especially cows and horses and birds. There’s something sweet about that and I want to capture that feeling.”

A look at her website, jessierasche.com, reveals plenty of paintings reflecting her interests in nature and animals. Paintings may be purchased through her website. She also has work for sale at galleries in North Carolina, Minneapolis, Rapid City and at the gift shop at the South Dakota Art Museum gift shop.

Her website also offers access to the art classes that Rasche teaches.

“I teach classes because I love it,” Rasche said. “I get so much out of it.”

 Rasche teaches the classes via Zoom and consequently has students all over the nation.

“They each have a unique voice and a lot of passion,” Rasche said. “The effort I put in preparing for classes, I feel it makes me a better artist.”

Right now Rasche’s efforts are being put into practicing plein air painting, or painting what the artist sees outdoors. Next month, as a juried artist, she’ll take part in Paint Grand Traverse at Traverse, Michigan. Her challenge during the week she’ll spend there is to create five gallery ready, framed paintings in five days.

“It’s intense. Every waking minute I can, I’ll be working,” Rasche said. “That’s why I’m practicing so hard.”

Rasche describes plein air painting as a race to finish before the sun moves too far and ruins the light for that painting.

“If it’s not done, you have to come back tomorrow at the same time,” Rasche said.

While she describes her painting and her teaching as two full-time jobs, it wouldn’t be difficult for her to choose between the two.

“I just need to paint,” Rasche said. “I just have to.”