Rebecca Birtel Madura is a contemporary painter who lives and works in New Orleans. A native New Orleanian, many of her colorful paintings represent our sometimes detached relationship with nature in an urban environment. Working in oils and mixed media, the emotional impact of color and color relationships is as important as the subject matter itself in her paintings. Rebecca is especially concerned with the balance between saturated and muted hues in her recent work.
Rebecca studied studio art at Newcomb College and the University of Texas at Austin where she earned a B.A. in Fine Art (Studio), a B.A. in Liberal Arts (French), and Certificate in Non-Profit Management. After retiring from more than 28 years of full-time teaching Visual Art, Rebecca completed a Master’s in Liberal Arts at Tulane University.
She has served as the Art Teacher at the New Orleans Museum of Art where she developed and taught in studio programs for adults and children. She also served on the Educational Advisory Board at NOMA. She serves on the Executive Board of the Board of Directors for YAYA, Inc. and is also a guest artist and instructor at YAYA. In 2017 she joined the Board of Directors of New Orleans Green Light. She is currently the President of the GLNO Board of Directors, and she also creates original artwork on rain barrels for their home rainwater impact program.
In addition to pursuing her own art and exhibiting locally, and her many years as a visual arts educator, Rebecca had been involved with many community arts projects. She continues to volunteer time and talents to promoting the vibrant spirit and atmosphere of the arts especially with the youth of New Orleans.
Questions & Answers
Describe your art in three words.
Abstract, organic, colorful
What do you love the most about creating art in New Orleans? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work?
My paintings reflect my continuing exploration of the relationship between representation and imagination through our often detached relationship with nature. Living is a vibrant, historical urban neighborhood provides many sources for creative exploration.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
I often refer to my sketches, which sometimes have grow out of "doodles". I take pictures of anything that I find interesting from a plant to a pile of debris on the side of the road. Usually it is just a small portion of a drawing or image the draws me in and seems to demand that I explore it.
Where do you draw inspiration?
My inspiration comes from my surroundings. I find inspiration in unexpected places-- especially in the mundane, debris and decay, and the unintentional.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus?
Richard Diebenkorn, the abstract expressionist associated with the Bay Area Figurative Movement of the mid-20th century ,is my favorite painter. I find inspiration in the beauty of how he uses line and approaches the edges or the spaces between things.
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
When not in my studio or teaching art classes, I can be found at home - working in my garden, cooking, sewing and spending time with my family and when the weather is nice- enjoying my porches.
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?
I love late afternoons in March and early mornings in October. That's usually when New Orleans weather is ideal. I also love anytime it's raining.
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Where You Can Find My Work
All works listed online are available to be viewed at Where Y'Art Satellite Gallery at the Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery by appointment.