Sen, by our bedroom window, enjoying the colours shine through two layered cosmic circles by artist Kara Rane. Such a fun, creative, open ended play thing. I always wonder what he’s thinking about. [ Sen’s necklace is from Tribal Dreaming “Earth Warrior” and his leggings are organics from Mabo ]
I remember well what my passions were when I was a child: drawing and arranging things artfully, dancing, playing in the forest, and (as crazy as it sounds) I was passionate from as early as I can remember about environmental protection. But I also remember thinking from very young that none of these passions could be an adult pursuit. (How wrong I was!!) I somehow thought that happiness came from things, from comforts, and that I couldn’t have those things (and thus happiness) without money. Since the statistical likelihood of earning money as an illustrator, artist or tree hugger seemed quite slim, I decided to be practical and enter a traditional, remunerative profession in order to find myself in a context that would afford me things, and thus enable happiness. Well, surprise ending: Things don’t make you happy. Passions do. People do.
Today, I’m happy to share with you the story of a woman who knew and followed her passions throughout her life and has been able to provide for herself and her family what they need to sustain themselves and their happiness. Kara Rane is an artist, world traveller, and mother of one, who makes beautiful artwork inspired by her deep connection and reverence for the earth. She and her partner have a small homestead nestled in supportive community committed to sustainable living. What a beautiful environment in which to raise a child! I put much hope in children raised in such an environment for their future contributions to community and sustaining our planet. But I know that us urban dwellers living in the mainstream can also play our part in raising our children differently, it might just be a little harder to drown out the distractions, noise and clutter. But we can do it too!
Whether you are living rurally or in an urban setting I think Kara’s passion for art and sustainability will inspire you to find ways to nourish yourself and your family with creativity and the natural world. I hope so!
Dear Kara, please tell me a little bit about yourself. What is your background?
I grew up at 6,000 feet in the mountains of Southern California, in a log home. Nature was a huge part of my childhood, and I found my favorite places to be were among the trees, streams, lakes & wilderness. I also love the ocean so I decided to attend the University of California at Santa Barbara (studying Environmental Science and Art studio) where I could live by the sea.
I am deeply connected to the natural world, but my curiosity compelled me to explore urban life and I lived in San Francisco and New York City. Having a passion for travel, I also lived for a time in the Caribbean on a tiny remote island, trekked the Himalayas of Nepal, returned to my native Nordic countries, explored Thailand and Vietnam and have road tripped throughout parts of the United States. All of these experiences I was able to manage on only the money I earned. At times it was a daunting task as often I found myself with nothing other than my creativity to survive.
What part of the world do you live in?
We live in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California on a 6 acre homestead. We have an organic and heirloom orchard of 44 trees, an organic hop yard and small gardens to grow our food. We love the community, as there are many ‘back to the Earth’ folks. It is common practice for us to trade with one another for goods and this is truly a delightful way to know your neighbors.
How do you spend most of your days?
Recently, most of my days and nights are spent caring for our baby. I have learned to incorporate him into projects via baby wearing, so work continues on. We also make a priority to hike at least a couple times a week, often with other mamas and their babies and children.
Do you have a favourite quote or words that inspire you?
“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from the great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.” -Chief Seattle
This quote resonates so strongly with me as I feel that I am trying to recover a part of myself that has died due to the loss of so many animals, trees, and the myriad of life forms who are now extinct, or are at risk of extinction due to human caused perils. In honoring these beings I feel wholly united. It is my hope to draw, paint, create them back into the world of the living. In nourishing this wildness, I too am trying to resurrect my soul.
What are you passionate about?
Our capacity to change as individuals and a collective global society gives me hope. Without this, it would be impossible for me to be passionate about anything as I have a lot of concerns for the future of the environment on which we depend. Hopefully, the work I do as an artist can help bring about this change.
Can you tell me a bit about your work as an artist?
Using vibrant, neon, and rainbow colors to layer sacred shapes and patterns, the vision is revealed to me as the lifting of a veil. Into a dimension of light, a familiar yet brighter and more alive Universe is known. I see a place of harmony, peace and happiness. Through nature and ancient symbolism I glimpse the Divine.
Are you able to support your family financially with your artwork?
My art sustains me as a whole person. Throughout my life it has also been a source of income in various ways. Often times, I have been forced to get creative in how this might look. For example: I worked as a studio artist in NYC for a corporate art making company. Although, I was not making my own art I was given a lot of freedom. Currently, I am a full-time mama and have created several eco-friendly product lines featuring my art. They are sold in retail locations, at local festivals and farmers markets and via my website.
Can you talk about your cosmic circles?
The ‘Cosmic Circle’ designs are a kaleidoscopic portal allowing light, color, energy and beauty to fill your Life. I hand create the original designs and Greenerprinter, a business based on the highest standard in environmental printing, reproduces the images. These colorful, transparent clings adhere without adhesive, so they are easy to use, remove and re-use. Better than stickers!!
When you aren’t drawing, what do you love to do?
Working with my hands, in all things! I am very dedicated to living a sustainable lifestyle, to supporting and growing organic food and to understanding how to best care for the land and creatures we depend on. This requires a lot of work outside on the land and that is where I love to be, with the trees, birds, sun and sky.
Thank you, Kara, for sharing a glimpse into your world and creative vision and purpose. How beautiful visually and soulfully! Readers you can find Kara on Instagram @kara_rane and you can read more about her art and visit her shop at www.KaraRane.com.
This interview is part of my Creative Mothers series, you can find the rest here.
You might also like my post:
How to Make All Natural Temporary Tattoos from Real Flowers
Garbage Free: How to Make Your Own Delicious Cashew Milk
How to Make a Mother Nature Leaf Dress from Real Leaves
Drawing a Day: A Summer Drawing Project
How to Make All Natural Bath Bombs with Dried Flowers
Want to find me in other places?