secret of painting is to allow and not to think.” These
sage words come from Richard Rackus, who at the age of 87, is
considered by many to be one of the most important California
plein-air painters working today.
gifts bloomed at an early age. At age 8 he painted pastel landscapes
on the walls of his parents’ home and by 9 he was exhibiting
watercolors at their Detroit restaurant. When his family moved
to California in 1936 the teenage Rackus became enamored of the
paintings of the early California Revivalists. He “borrowed”
several silver dollars from his father, bought a suit and tie,
and rode the streetcar to the Biltmore Hotel to study the exhibition
by George Wendt, Edgar Payne, and other members of the famed Eucalyptus
studied with Frank Tolles Chamberlain and Francis Murphy at the
Chouinard Art Institute In Los Angeles and at the La Grande Chaumire
Art School in Paris.