Carole F. Rabe grew up in Shirley, MA, a rural community in central Massachusetts. She spent a lot of time in the woods, where she developed a great love of color and light as experienced in nature. She is an avid reader of classic literature, which furthered her interest in time and place, as well as representation as a mode of expression.
Rabe primarily paints interior/exterior views of her home in Natick, MA, at different times of day and in different weather conditions. She paints from sustained direct observation. She works with a limited palette of colors, creating surprising color relationships. Most paintings are created with only three or four colors, plus white. She has many paintings in progress simultaneously, one for each time of the day and weather condition. She also enjoys painting in Maine.
“Intense observation and my response to what is around me is how I receive my inspiration. The way light hits a countertop or the side of a chair is the spark that gets the painting started. The color of light influences the color of objects and creates interactions between disparate things. My paintings are about the relationships between these elements. My imagery is personal; I need some connection to my subject matter in order for me to claim it in a painting. I work from direct observation; I am very interested in how the human eye perceives the things around us, and how the hand and heart work to put the image down on canvas. It’s a wonderful feeling when the reality of the painting takes on a life of its own and exists on its own, apart from the objects observed. It seems like such a simple thing but there is something magical and transcendent about this aspect of representation that has a very strong power for me.”
She is currently an Assistant Professor of Visual Art at Pine Manor College, Chestnut Hill, MA, as well as the Coordinator of the Visual Arts Program and the Director of the Hess Gallery on campus. She earned her Master of Fine Arts degree from Boston University’s College of Fine Arts.