Rebecca Sobin __________________________

Artist Statement

I find inspiration in both the internal and external aspects of my life. Colors come to me through dreams, emotions, and responses to what I see in the environment outside my studio, from places I have lived or visited and sometimes through media that draws an emotional or visceral response. The world creates my palette and feeds me my subject matter, which I interpret into a mostly abstract form, derived from my internal landscape. Not unlike Georgia O ‘Keefe, I use color to express what I feel. My paintings come intuitively. Color and form develop through improvisational wandering - a place I have seen, an emotion I am processing, an act of creation in a dream state, all inform the texture, light and gesture of a piece.

Time in my studio I consider sacred and necessary. I don’t wait for divine inspiration, I create inspiration as I work. Sometimes I have an idea that I begin with. I may use sketches and photos I have taken to inform a painting. But many times I go in with just a thought or feeling. I know which colors I will start with when I walk into my studio and begin to hand-apply the background, before beginning overlays of color and texture. I build layers, textures, and transparencies by hand, with a squeegee or sometimes a palette knife, at times common household objects, depending on the emotive qualities of the piece.

I paint in oil and cold wax medium, creating deep, rich layers of color, then adding transparent glazes to create a translucent quality. To enhance the topography and the mystery of a piece, I add objects or materials buried within the layers, such as handmade papers, coffee grounds, flower petals, paper wasp nest, and powdered pigments, including pastels and tie dye powder. A glimpse of these articles and earlier colors are seen as the paints are added and then reduced by “digging into” painting’s history, as in an archeological record, or dissolving down to earlier layers.

Paintings are done on cradled wood panels with some paintings having an added sculptural effect such as niches and 3D structures on the panels. Whenever I can, I utilize found objects and old wood, which contribute to the history of the individual the piece.

I view my work as a journey. Having lived in different regions throughout time, the topography, people, flora, fauna and cultural aspects of place have added direction, depth and nuance into the stories they each hold, the stories that the viewer can integrate into their own internal landscape.


Artist Bio

Merging the Internal Landscape with the External World

Sobin's studio is in her Montana home.

While growing up in New Jersey, Sobin lived in a house with her parents, sister and maternal grandparents. Her mom was unable to pursue a dream to go to college because her parents were ill a lot, so she supported them. She had a desire to be a teacher. Sobin’s dad also worked most of the time but he encouraged her with his own love of music and photography. He always made sure she was involved in music and also tried to teach her to use his cameras. Early on, her father was her artistic influence, but he suppressed his talent as he had to “work for a living”. Her mom thought art was a nice hobby and, like many parents, she was always concerned about her daughter having work that would pay the bills.

As early as eight years old Sobin knew she was an artist and there was never a time she didn’t have a pencil or some instrument of artistic expression in her hand. She was always winning drawing contests and in school was called on to design things in class.

Any work turned in was bound to have “doodles” in the margins. She was
labeled a daydreamer and always excelled in art and music classes all through school.

She felt blessed to have her dad’s artistic talent and influence.

Soon after high school, Sobin married, moved west and never looked back. She sketched and painted in between raising children but carving out time first as a young mother, and then as a single parent was not easy. It took a lot of focus and she found her best hours to paint would be late at night into the early morning; lodged between the dream-state of sleeping children and the morning alarm.

After the children were grown, she went to college as a student above traditional age, with fine arts courses liberally sprinkled in, and became an acupuncturist, eventually earning her clinical doctorate. Sobin feels that traditional medicine allowed for a cross-pollination of the arts and sciences. It is rooted in thousands of years of practice and modern research. She feels a degree of spirituality and intuition - a beauty in choosing acupuncture points, crafting herbal formulas, that is akin to choosing your palette. Brushes are manipulated to create a painting and acupuncture needles to create a healing response. There is healing in art and beauty in medicine. She finds it difficult to separate these two halves of the whole and feels that each informs the other, and considers herself an artist and a scientist. Even though she is not seeing patients in the clinic these days, she feels that Chinese medicine had allowed for the breathing space she needed to create and was then able to take all that positive energy and apply it to her creativity in the studio.

Sobin finds inspiration in both the internal and external landscape, in her dreams, and in the colors brought about through emotional responses to the world. Her paintings are heart-centric, dream-led responses. Images and colors come to her as she is drifting off to sleep and she finds she must jump up and sketch them out or write out her ideas before they are lost; keeping a journal next to the bed for just that purpose.

She believes abstraction chose her. When she was very much embedded in the daily rituals of raising children and the day-to-day realities of survival, her paintings were in a more representational style. It was many years before she began to “see” differently and to put aside the time needed for her calling.

Sobin first began with writing poetry, feeling as if she was painting with words. Then one day she picked up a camera. It was while living in the Sonoran Desert west of Tucson that the landscape exploded in her mind - colors, emotions, shapes - the freedom of space and the connections she began making with the natural world gave her room to grow as an artist. It changed everything. She believes the way an image emerges on canvas has a direct correlation to changes in her emotional landscape and those around her.

The camera was the vehicle that brought about the movement and freedom of form, which translated into color and shape. Her internal landscape merged with the external world.

When she had begun taking photographs they seemed to naturally translate into abstracts, especially with black and white photography. The shadows and shapes in grayscale lent itself well to the abstract form, at least in a photographic sense. Eventually this translated into vivid color in her paintings.

Rebecca Sobin has reached deeply into memory, space, and time to create her collection. The vibrancy of her colors, her ability to capture the essence of her study and her multi media presence makes her one to watch and collect.

~ Lavonne Jurack, Executive Director of Rural Artist of Montana.

To create the ground in a piece, Sobin will apply the colors  by hand, using a squeegee. It is a meditative process, which sets the overall mood of a piece and guides the next layer, energy, and the mark-making in a piece. Loving the experimental process, she sometimes uses common household objects to create patterns and overlays of color and shapes.

Finding a kinship of sorts with Georgia O’ Keefe – Sobin is drawn by the spirit and dedication with which O’Keefe fed her art. Similarly, Canadian artist Emily Carr’s work has also spoke to her, as well as Judith Godwin and Emily Mason. Gravitating towards strong women artists, individualists who did not compromise their life or their art, in creating their own sense of the world. She finds inspiration and a sense of gratitude to learn from them and their works. She also has had a life-long love of Vincent Van Gogh’s thick, swirling, emotive landscapes and the expressiveness of Marc Chagell’s folkloric, impressionistic realities.

She is a member of several local artist groups and keeps her creative mind busy with workshops in painting, poetry, and photography.

After moving back to Montana, having lived in the Sonoran Desert for several years, Sobin was invited to be part of the Tubac Center of the Arts “Wish You Were Here” show. Her photo, Sunfire Over Kitt Peak, was one of only two photos in the show. It was selected for the poster advertising the show, and again as a postcard winner to be featured at the art center. This particular photo has inspired the palette for many of her desert-centric pieces.

She has exhibited individual pieces in local group shows and in Arizona, as well as a large-scale solo photography show, which detailed her migration from the desert back to the mountains of Montana. This was the inner landscape that sparked her journey into abstraction. Her solo show included 45 photos, mainly black and white.

Since her return to Montana, she has been in multiple group shows, as well as a solo show at the Artists’ Shop in Missoula, Montana. Sobin is currently represented by Montana Modern Fine Art in Kalispell, Montana and Grace Renee Gallery in Carefree, Arizona, dividing her creative time between the Rocky Mountains and the Sonoran Desert.

When not painting, Sobin loves to create, which she accomplishes through cooking, giving joy through a different type of palette. She also loves to garden, which allows her to create a visual feast outside that she then gets to play with in her kitchen. Every year she plants a “crazy amount” of garlic, sometimes as many as 4-5 heirloom varieties, admitting to having a “garlic addiction”.

I am in love with Rebecca’s paintings. She has an impassioned love affair with color and every print I make for her adds rich, dimension to my experience in the studio. Her work heightens my emotions and conceptually takes me into a political dream state where the future and the past create quite a song. Beautiful work.
~ Marcy James, Owner of Paper & Ink Studio. Missoula, Montana

She also loves to hike with her husband and key-out native wildflowers. She states it's the “science geek in her”.

Having grown up with lots of music, it is still key in her life as both her husband and youngest son are working musicians. Music is inspiring and informative to Sobin’s work in the studio.

It is important for Sobin to surround herself with innovation, inspiration and creativity in many areas of her life.

As an artist, Sobin’s mission is to create a span that traverses both the internal and external landscape. She wants people to see and feel the connectivity from the self, the inner landscape, to the earth, terra firma - the outer landscape through the visual conduit of color, shape, gesture, motion.

She sees art as a way to connect the sense of self and the environment we live in.


Rebecca Sobin CV 


Rebecca began painting in 1985. Her art education includes self-led, focused, independent study as well as structured coursework at Montana State University - Bozeman. She has studied with Michael Peed, Seth Charles, Quinn Ryan, James E. Scherbarth, and Sheila Miles, and in pottery, photography and painting.


Rebecca works in oil, cold wax, and mixed media. She considers herself an abstract artist, merging expressionistic and impressionistic elements into her paintings. Utilizing hand-applied-paints, poured paint, embedded and sculptural items such as copper, handmade paper, powdered pigments, and flower petals. She gathers input from her

environment to inform her work. Paintings are on cradled wood panels and are meant to be hung unframed (however they may also be framed to the collector’s needs). Rebecca’s palette reflects the vibrant colors of the natural world and the emotive inner landscape of her thoughts, dreams and emotions.


Rebecca and her husband, Richard, are the parents of a blended family of three children, one grandchild, and three Border Collies.


The ZACC, Missoula, Montana: Photographic Solo Exhibition: From Desert to Mountain - The Return. January 2017

Tubac Center for the Arts, Tubac, AZ: Wish You Were Here. August 2017

The Brunswick Gallery, Missoula, MT. The Brunswick’s 40th Anniversary Show July 2018

The Radius Gallery, Missoula, MT. 5th Annual Small Works and Holiday Show. November - December 2018

The ZACC, Missoula, MT. Family and Friend’s Show. December 2018 The Artists’ Shop, Missoula, MT: Solo Exhibition, June 2019

Montana Modern Fine Art, Kalispell, MT: The Perception of Color, October 2019

Montana Modern Fine Art, Kalispell, MT: Teapot Show, group show, November-December 2019


Montana Modern Fine Art, Kalispell, MT. 2019-present 

Grace Renee Gallery, Carefree, AZ. 2019-present

Xanadu Gallery Scottsdale, AZ 2018


Dr. Martin Lynn, Washington

Kathy L. Goulden, Pennsylvania

Audrey VanSlooten, Montana

Debra Sommer, Montana

Private Collector, Pennsylvania

Dr. Paulette Marin, New Mexico

Karin and Larry Singer, Arizona

Matthew and Amanda Gessner, North Dakota

Dorris Doom (musician), Montana



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