At first glance, New Orleans resident and artist Rebecca Rebouche is sweet, slightly shy, and unassumingly pretty. She’s also down to Earth, a noble trait considering she graces this month’s issue of Garden and Gun Magazine as one of 15 featured artisans “shaping the look of the South.”
Inspired by nature, Rebouche utilizes elements from the natural world to form the basis of her whimsical paintings, but she always draws from human nature to tell her stories. Her paintings are sweet, but not saccharine; they’re whimsical, dreamy and often surprisingly dark but never in a macabre way, more like a soul drenching thunderstorm. Trees are a common theme, as well as textiles, bunnies (she has a pet rabbit), birds, umbrellas, and sail boats.
Maintaining Southern sensibilities, she gains inspiration not only from nature but from the language and nuances of the New Orleans community. But to be truly inspired by the natural world you must immerse yourself in it, which is why she spends her weekdays at the Treehouse, a three-story house that functions as her studio and part-time residence on the North Shore. When she’s in town, she keeps regular hours at her corner store showroom, The Beauty Shop, a nod to the space’s past.
Having been courted by national retailer Anthropologie since 2010, Rebouche has worked with the company on a variety of projects, including a mural that graced the store’s cash wrap area. She has a line of (sold out) bedding, dessert plates, and is doing a line of journals, scarves, and calendars for the fall. Recently Rebouche went to Los Angeles for an in-store residency at Anthropologie’s location at The Grove. In 14 days she produced 14 paintings as curious onlookers witnessed the entire process from start to finish. Rebouche stretched the canvas, read books to get inspired, and of course painted as part of the store’s grand reopening.
In addition to Anthropologie, Rebouche has her works available at Tripolo Gallery in Covington as well as her Etsy store, where enjoys a worldwide customer base. Locally, she also works on family tree commissions. She meets with the family for a few hours and nestles personalized symbols into the branches. This makes for a more personal, subtle touch vs. a traditional name tree. Customers regularly send Rebouche photos of their paintings in their homes, and almost all are repeat buyers. They often stay in touch and write heartfelt letters — perhaps good fodder for her next folksy painting.
Christy Lorio, a native New Orleanian, writes on fashion at slowsouthernstyle.com and is also a freelance writer whose work has been featured online and in print magazines both locally and nationally.