Speaking through art
Sabetha native shares love of art through paint parties and commissioned artwork.
Colorful paint, brushes, easels, blank canvases and willing potential artists make for a successful “Paint Party” for Rachel (Krogmann) Gibson’s business – “Rachel’s Paints.”
Rachel’s Paints began a year ago when the K-12 Doniphan West art teacher wanted to offer fun evenings for people to get together and create.
“I love art because it is a language we can all use,” she said. “We can all find something that we can be successful in, within the realm of art. For some people, this is the only subject in which they can find success in self-expression.”
Rachel has loved art since she was young – finding her true passion for it while a student at Sabetha High School, under the direction of long-time art teacher Connie Herbster.
“She showed me a way to express myself,” Rachel said. “As an introverted teenager, I felt like I could be myself in her class. I knew she cared about us, and her class ended up being that one place I loved to be.”
Rachel came into Connie’s art program as an upperclassman.
“She took to it easily and after having tried it, found she had a knack for drawing and painting,” Connie said.
Most importantly, Rachel developed a passion for art.
“I often use Rachel as an example to a prospective student – that you never know if you’ll like it or do well at it unless you try,” Connie said. “The only way to learn is to begin.”
Rachel’s parents – Julie and Frank Krogmann – inspired her to “not be afraid of trying new things.”
Her dad began his own business – Krogmann Manufacturing – when Rachel was young.
“His success has encouraged me to attempt what I want to become and try my own business ventures,” she said.
Rachel has always loved art – whether painting, drawing, pottery or crafts, said her mother Julie. Her artistic talent is evident in everything she does — gardening and landscaping, cooking and baking and remodeling and decorating her home.
Her interest in art also stems from her late grandfather, Harvey Wenger, who was an artist.
“He was a skilled artist with an interest in many different mediums,” Julie said. “Rachel always admired his work. She has many talented relatives on both sides of her family.”
Harvey mostly painted with acrylics and enamels but also created sculptures, both large and small.
“I didn’t realize how artistic he was or that he actually regularly created his own artwork until I was an adult, but I must have gotten some of my talents from him,” Rachel said.
Combining her love of art and teaching, Rachel decided to begin Rachel’s Paints. She also sells commissioned artwork as a professional artist.
It all began when Rachel’s friend asked her to teach an art party – an opportunity Rachel jumped at.
“As a teacher, I have really enjoyed teaching others to paint, and I enjoy challenging myself with my own teaching abilities,” Rachel said.
Paint parties are typically set by a customer who wants something fun to do with their friends.
“I teach all ages – from kindergarten through adults,” she said. “Some parties are family-centered, some are more like a ladies’ night out and others are specifically for children. Many participants have never touched a canvas in their lives, so it’s a rather special experience.”
When asked to schedule a paint party, Rachel asks customers to search the internet or to send her a few subject ideas.
“We then work together to come up with what they will paint,” she said. “When I schedule open-enrollment parties for children, I just try to think of something fun to paint, or do something related to the season.”
Each paint party lasts an average of three hours. To begin, Rachel gets artists prepared with drinks, snacks and a few idea starters.
“We talk about color combinations and where the painting is going to go when they take it home,” Rachel said.
Then, they discuss the subject matter.
“Sometimes I teach one painting and it’s a little easier to follow along,” she said. “Other times, people have their own ideas and I walk them through those ideas.”
This takes longer and is more tedious.
“When finished, each person signs their work and finishes the edges of the canvas so it’s ready to take home and hang. We try to always take a group photo at the end of the party,” she said. “It’s a great souvenir of the memories made.”
One of the greatest joys for Rachel is seeing how successful people feel when they finish their work.
“I absolutely love to paint and create and I am a definite people person, so it’s always a fun time and I get to do what I love,” she said.
Art by Rachel Gibson
In addition to Rachel’s Paints, Rachel also does commissioned work as a professional artist.
“In my own artwork, I like to present what I see as beautiful,” she said. “I love to paint and draw people, flowers, horses and nature. Even when I was a child, I loved to draw horses, in particular.”
Rachel enjoys the challenge of drawing or painting someone and getting it to actually look just like them. She mostly paints portraits of people on vintage windows, working from photographs or digital images and can combine several images or use one image.
Her window paintings began after she saw a basic window painting in a magazine once, and then used it as a project in her advanced art classes.
“I eventually found that I loved that medium,” Rachel said.
Often, Rachel will incorporate quotes, sayings, dates or other items next to the images on the window paintings.
“The windows are handpainted, and therefore, take time and attention to detail in order to successfully complete. I basically work in grayscale and have to make sure every shadow is shaped just right in order for the person to look correct,” she said. “Sometimes I add a pop of color and have even painted in a different monochromatic color.”
When starting a work, Rachel tries to get a visual of what she wants to accomplish.
“I do a little research, find photos, looking at real objects and sometimes – but not always – sketching my ideas. Now that I have my own children, the only time I spend just working on my own artwork is after they go to sleep and during naptime,” she said.
The paint that I use for my paint parties and my own personal artwork is acrylic paint.
“I like it because it dries quickly, and the nicer brands stick well to the glass when I paint,” she said.
Rachel is a 1998 SHS graduate, and a 2003 graduate of Fort Hays State University with a bachelor’s degree in art education with an emphasis in ceramics. She earned her master of arts in education from Baker University in 2008.
She has been at Doniphan West Schools since graduating in 2003. She has taught K-8 art for 12 years and just this year, began teaching K-6 art at Doniphan West.
“I have actually already been there long enough to have taught previous students’ children!” she said.
Rachel and her husband Jason live outside of Leona. They have three children – Emmy, 6; Eli, 6; and Sophia, 3.
For more information about Rachel’s Paints or Art by Rachel Gibson, follow her on Facebook or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Krista Wasinger105 Posts
Krista Wasinger is Co-Editor of The Sabetha Herald, where she has been on staff since 2011. She specializes in city reporting and feature stories, as well as photography and page and advertising design. Krista is a 2004 Fort Hays State University graduate with a degree in communications studies with an emphasis in journalism. She lives in Sabetha with her husband and four children.