The Coast News Group
Rebecca Bauer translates nature into mixed media paintings in her Cardiff-by-the-Sea studio. Photo courtesy of Topher Riley
A Brush with Art

Wisdom in nature has had ‘profound effect’ on Rebecca Bauer

Mixed media painter Rebecca Bauer says: “There is an absolute wisdom in nature that has always had a profound effect on me.” 

The intuitive work of this Cardiff-by-the-Sea artist reveals natural inspiration through highly contrasting design elements and richly textured materials.

At age 8 Bauer felt she had been “transported to another world” when her family moved from Costa Mesa to Leucadia, which in 1973 was full of magical groves, open fields, and enchanted beaches. Captivated by the wildness of her environment, the young Bauer left no natural wonder unexplored.

Maintaining her relationship with the natural world into adulthood, Bauer’s favorite activity is walking the shoreline as she observes its colors and textures. She says, “I am happy if I can capture even the tiniest glimmer of this essence and beauty in my paintings.“

Growing up in a family culture of “creatives” speaking the language of art, Bauer began her artistic exploration with printmaking. However, as daughter of accomplished watercolor painter Sandra Bray, it wasn’t long before she began exploring water-based media.

Since joining the San Diego Watercolor Society in 2001 Bauer has found her niche in her current style, which she refers to as “mixed media with an emphasis on painted collage elements.” By hand painting and shaping all components incorporated into her work, she has freedom of texture, size and shape, as well as control over nuances of color and value. She says, “All of these elements are ever-present in my thoughts as I strive to develop a sense of connectedness and harmony in my paintings.”

Bauer muses, “My artwork is an expression of my love of nature… a celebration of life on this earth in all of its many forms and facets.” She continues, “It is also a metaphor for life: all of our life experiences go into making us who we are. Not every piece is beautiful on its own, but all together the pieces make us who we are.” Because of this awareness, Bauer gives close attention to the individual components of which her paintings are composed and continuously strives to create an exciting and mesmeric sense of interrelationship and unity to all of her pieces.

According to noted artist and art workshop instructor Carol Thomason, “Rebecca’s work gives me the feeling of being centered and balanced when viewed from a distance. Then when I approach for a closer look, my eyes are delighted by the myriad and variety of small details. The artwork is just like Rebecca herself: centered, balanced, yet bubbling with enthusiasm.”

In contemplating the future direction of her artwork, Bauer comments, “Shape, color and texture are currently the focus of my work. As my work evolves this will be forever changing, much like the changing currents of the oceans, which often serve as my artistic inspiration.”

Bauer’s most recent work will be on exhibit in “Changing Currents” at L Street Fine Art in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter through Feb. 15 with an opening reception Jan. 5.

More information about the artist can be seen at

Kay Colvin is an art consultant and director of the L Street Fine Art Gallery in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. She specializes in promoting emerging and mid-career artists and bringing enrichment programs to elementary schools through The Kid’s College. Contact her at [email protected].