Rachel Avenia

“Late Day Storm Clouds,” 24″ x 12″

Sandwich artist Rachel Avenia turns to painting for a deeper connection to the world around her

Rachel Avenia loves to be in nature. Biking, bird watching, kayaking, rowing, sailing, even beekeeping—she and her husband, Bob Prol, have several beehives at Johnson Tree Farm in Sandwich.

“I’d rather be outside than inside,” Avenia says with a laugh. Of all her outdoor hobbies, the one she cherishes most is painting. Cape Cod, especially her hometown Sandwich, serves as a constant source of inspiration for her pastel pieces—from the flooded cranberry bogs along 6A and the marshland of Scorton Creek, to the purple-shadowed dunes of Sandy Neck and the rolling fields of Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary.

For Avenia, her paintings are more than just depictions of landscapes. In fact, she explains, they’re more like “love letters” to her favorite places—an opportunity for her to make a personal connection with her surroundings.

“It’s kind of like the slow food movement, where the whole thing is about really taking the time to savor what you’re eating. I think it’s the same thing with my paintings—that it’s not just the painting that’s the output, it’s the whole experience that feeds into that,” she says. “Having something that can tell a story, even if it’s only a story that I’m telling to myself, is meaningful.”

“She has a unique perspective in how she does her art,” says Prol, who, as an artist himself—a woodcarver—says Avenia has taught him the importance of both detail and subtlety in art. “It feels authentic. And it’s so sharp that it just grabs you.”