By Ann Leach 

The family that creates together has fun together, and self-taught artist Rachel Cabral credits her parents’ support as integral to her artistic success. 

“They were my first supporters,” she says. “I have two young children, so I am not able to paint professionally all the time, but my children are very creative and we love crafting together. We love talking about our favorite colors and the colors we see around us and how we can mix colors together to make new ones.” 

Cabral’s current favorite color palette is a combination of red, pink, dark green and light green. “Red and green are on opposite sides of the color wheel and any time I can put them together in a painting, it is a striking contrast that appeals to my art style. But my favorite colors change all the time.” 

The artwork of Cabral is influenced by her favorite artists, Frida Kahlo and Chuck Close. 

“Not only am I inspired by their beautiful artwork, but I am inspired by their dedication to the arts,” Cabral says. “Both suffered debilitating injuries that made it extremely hard to continue painting and both were so passionate about their craft that they continued making art as best they could, growing their skills and making their most well-known pieces after their injuries occurred.” 

Cabral is fascinated with faces, from different skin tones and eye colors to interesting facial features like freckles and wrinkles and barely noticeable veins under the skin. “I’m always trying to strengthen my portrait skills. This year I am working on creating realistic faces on a larger scale.”

The interest in portraits began early in Cabral’s life when she drew a portrait of her brother. “It’s the first thing I remember drawing. I worked very hard to make it as detailed as possible and included all his freckles and his scar that he got when he was bitten by a dog a few years before.” 

She proudly presented it to him, but he was offended by the work and threw it in the trash. “I was shocked! I thought my drawing was excellent. He was four and I was six. And he is now a great supporter of my art.”

Others over the years have also appreciated Cabral’s efforts and rewarded her paintings with honors, including Best in Show, First Place and Honorable Mentions from various art exhibits. 

“I was recently honored to be among the 14% of applicants chosen from around the world to display artwork in the R.W. Norton Art Gallery in Shreveport, Louisiana. They made my small painting titled “Wonder” into a giant banner that hung on the front of the building. I received an Honorable Mention in that exhibit.”

Cabral appreciates the recognition and pays it forward by supporting her children’s creativity. 

“I am doing my best to praise them and their creations and to encourage them,” she says. “We occasionally have art shows in our home showcasing their artwork for friends and family. It’s so important for children to have adults to nurture and encourage their creativity.”

To learn more about Cabral’s work, follow her Facebook page, Rachel’s Shoebox, or on Instagram at rachelsshoebox.

“I love contrasting bright, whimsical backgrounds with realistic, detailed portraits. I have been passionate about art for as long as I can remember.”

~ Rachel Cabral

See more photos in the June 2024 print and digital editions