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  11 December 2017  |  Vol: 4 facebooktwitterrss  
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Smock Time

Gabrielle II, oil painting by Jackie Rainford

Smocks—remember those? No? OK. Smocks are those color-splattered apron-things your art teacher made you wear in elementary school. Most of us haven’t seen ‘em since.

And you won't find any in here, either. 

You know, dear Magpie readers, how we like to appreciate locals who juggle several occupations so they can live here while doing what they love. Here’s a new favorite for the list: Jackie Rainford, artiste extraordinaire, personal trainer by day and passionate oil painter by night. Rainford has dabbled in architecture, concierge-ing, and house-painting, while cranking out her craft at Rainford Art, somewhere in the twists and turns of Gallatin canyon.

Also, Rainford offers private art lessons, available in your own home or any other location that may get your creative juices flowing. Students from the ages of 7 to 107 can choose from individual classes or group sessions of one-hour nature drawing, two-hour block printing, or three-hour oil painting. For nine years Rainford has been teaching plein air and studio painting to Montana’s visitors, Big Sky’s children, friends, family…and at least one Magpie writer. She began her studies in New York City years ago, but she still devours art by the volumes, and has previously studied sculpting and figure drawing in Florence, Italy. Continuing her formal education even today, she’s hitting the books on nutrition at MSU.

For many, the phrase “oil painting” conjures images of Van Gogh and, when applied to self, anxiety. Have no fear—Rainford has a gift. Multi-talented, personable, dreamy, and, probably most importantly, patient, she is able to invoke everyone’s inner artist. Her faith in everyone as a potential painter puts the pupil spiritually at ease and bodily in front of the easel. She pledges, “Even if you've never considered yourself a creative person, these art lessons will tap into a dimension of your being that you had thought was lost…you'll be amazed at the vision within you.”

Down by the River, oil painting by Jackie RainfordOne of Rainford’s more original qualities as an art instructor is that she leaves the subject selection for drawing or painting entirely up to the student. She supplies the supplies, per se, but the rest is up to you. Some pupils are drawn to the outdoors in search of content; others bring their own in the form of a photograph. Or, one could work directly from the imagination—what a concept, right?

Not only a resource for the novices, Rainford gets many clients who consider themselves experienced artists already, and are often hesitant about trying a lesson for fear of boredom. Most walk away from the Rainford experience happily mistaken, finding her to be an atypical teacher with savvy skills and an open mind. Her schtick is helping students to employ the same.

Pictured at left, Rainford’s personal philosophy is that we are all innately artistic, even if you “can’t draw a stick figure” (or just think you can’t). Those challenged by confidence issues represent the majority of her customers; they who are compelled by painting but, like yours truly, have been scarred in the visual arts department and need serious encouragement to pick up a paintbrush. The assistance is heartening from an artist whose journeyman credo is: “Ultimately, we each share techniques and insights and expand our way of thinking and creating.”

In that sense, we’re all part of the same formation, navigating the same skies of the imagination. Sounds painless enough, doesn’t it? Now if Rainford could just box up and sell the art of being all-around amazing, we’d have a new big business in town.  -TBM

Katie Thomas went big last month with an enthusiastic ode to the Tater-pig, "Support Your Local Everthing."

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