Riffing on storybook landscapes and archetypes while adding a lighthearted touch to everyday objects, illustrator and painter Rebecca Green has amassed an impressive variety of works from her Nashville, TN base in a short window of time. Working primarily with gouache, acrylics, colored pencils, and inks, she envisions her subjects—oftentimes animals and children—as expressive forms within muted forest environments, as well as warm, lived-in interiors of homes.
The Great Cape Breton Escape. 11x14" Gouache, Colored Pencil, Graphite on Paper
It all merges to contain, as her website states, “real world events, people, places, and things that shift in perspective to become celebrated as magical components of an ongoing story.” Her work often appears to be an adaptation of some long-lost classic children’s book or piece of literature, but recently appearances have turned into reality. In 2015, Green was approached by the Brazilian publishing house Salamandra to illustrate the Portuguese version of A Little Princess, while the year before that she lent her distinct eye to Folio Society’s reissue of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.
Subsequent work with Harper Collins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Penguin Random House have only furthered Green’s pull into the literary world. But as her consistent output of solo work shows, she is equally invested in experimentation with her own perspective of reality.
“Most of my narratives are based off of real world experiences,” Green explains on her website. “It’s rare for me to just dream up a story that doesn’t have a grounding in my day to day life. If you just start asking and looking, it’s so easy to find inspiration everywhere. Once I take the little piece of inspiration, I start painting and by the time I’m done, most times, the story and the character have morphed so much that it doesn’t seem set in real life at all.”
In addition to her own work, Green has also dedicated time and resources toward helping other artists toward their goals. Together with friend and illustrator Kayla Stark, she co-founded The Warren, a working studio in Nashville where artists can develop their own projects and take workshops taught by the staff, including Green herself. The first official workshop revolved around animal textures, providing a peek into Green’s process while also offering tips on how to approach an artist’s own unique visual identity—something that’s hard-won, ongoing, and impressive, in Green’s case.