Freedom, movement and color story. Absorbing the work without overthinking. What does beauty mean? These are all top of mind when Rae Stone approaches her work and the evidence is found on each canvas she paints. After finishing her formal education from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelors in studio art, Rae Stone set out to find her way through explosive abstract painting. Her work shows a certain veneration for balance through the chaotic nature of the base layer in each piece completed with finessed line work that appears effortless. Rae finds strength through the women who came before her in a hyper misogynist era of painters and collectors informing the viewer of what it means to find power in femininity. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know Rae over the past few years through events at the shop and only recently discovered her work in person. After months of getting to sit and document her work we now are displaying 3 of her paintings at BY.E. Rae and I have been texting back and forth for the past few months to get into the weeds of her work and now with out further ado we present you the Rae Stone BY.SESSIONS.


Elyjah Monks: When did you first start painting?

Rae Stone: My first formal art class was when I was 8. I made a little landscape that my parents still have. I didn’t have another art class until college, I did studio art the whole way through. I got serious about painting junior year, then switched to abstract painting the last semester before graduation.

Elyjah: What kind of subject matter were you interested in before the abstract expressionist work you’re doing now?

Rae: I was focused on assignments from certain classes and also trying to think about beauty and what being a female painter meant, how it would shape my subject matter. I thought my work needed to have a message at first, to say something meaningful. I learned to not force that and just paint what felt right, I think that is why I connect with abstraction so much.


Elyjah: It’s so important that artists go toward their impulses and not force things. What’s an average day at the studio look like for you?

Rae: Absolutely! At the time, I told myself I would go back to figurative/narrative painting once I figured out an abstract language I was happy with but it has been 8 years and I don't see myself going back. The studio time gets squeezed into any free moments available. It normally starts with a long sit in my studio chair, just taking in the pieces I'm working on. I normally have 4-8 pieces going at once, it helps me not feel too held down by one set of ideas. I can move freely from one piece to another. It keeps it fun and fresh, not like work, just play as ideas come. I normally have a podcast or audiobook going or a good game if one is going. Painting comes in spurts between a lot of looking.

Elyjah: Your work is a language and like languages they always evolve! What podcasts and books are you listening to right now?

Rae: Okay, this is going to make me seem a bit manic. Book-wise I am on a fiction kick, mostly fantasy with an art book thrown in every once in a while. Pods, I'm all over the place. A lot of NBA lately, I went on a massive Mormon deep dive and I have weekly reality tv recap/pop culture shows I listen to with a few art pods sprinkled in because I've got to keep up appearances.

Elyjah: It sounds like you are sporadic in nature through what you consume and how it translates to canvas. How do you know when a piece is finished?

Rae: For sure, I need to keep moving, keep things loose and always have something in my ears, it keeps me from overthinking, like keeping my mind busy enough to where the subconscious can come through on ideas of where to take pieces next. I have been thinking a lot about this recently, about what the goal of work is, what I am trying to accomplish, what I am chasing. Beauty has been my answer for years but I've been investigating what that really means. Complete to me means that nothing is out of place, the piece feels balanced, nothing sticks out as wrong. In a way, what I most want in life is to be at peace, mind and body good, life not on fire. I think I'm chasing that in visual form with my work. When it feels cohesive, in order but is a fluid organic way, it feels done.

Elyjah: I wanted to circle back to this too, when you said “what it meant to be a female painter” and how beauty is what influences your work. Who are some influential women that inspire you?


Rae: There are several female painters from the abstract expressionist era of art that are massive influences on me. My favs being Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler and Lee Krasner, who was Jackson Pollock's wife. I draw a lot of strength from them as well as loving their work. In the last ten or so years they have started to get the recognition they deserve but were largely forgotten until then. Art history does not look kindly at female painters, the "greats" are largely male. What I love about Joan, Helen and Lee, is that they painted anyways, they kept at it and gave their lives to it even though they knew they wouldn't be looked at the same as their male counterparts. If they can do that, then so can I. Their work is just stunning. I got to see Joan's work in person in Paris in 2022. Pure magic.

Elyjah: What is your go-to clothes or sort of uniform you like to wear when you work?

Rae: I wouldn’t call what I wear a concrete uniform, though I tend to gravitate to the same pieces over and over. The perfect white or black t-shirt being the ultimate starting point for any outfit. What I wear to paint is mostly dependent on weather throughout the year. My studio is not temperature controlled, so it gets really cold and really warm depending on the season. Comfort is key and a practical need with my studio fits. I need to be able to move around freely. My clothes can’t be distracting in any way, the actual fit needs to be right and I also have to feel good about how I look in case I record during a painting session, as well as for my general mental health, as nuts as that sounds. 

Well damn, putting this into words is much harder than I thought it would be. Clothes feel so personal and the thought process reveals that in a way.

Elyjah: What we wear and our little routines are important and sacred! So what are some of your goals moving forward? What is something you are wanting to do with your practice in the future?


Rae: Goals for my work can range from what I want to accomplish in the studio tomorrow, all the way to how I want the legacy of my work to be seen after I am gone and everywhere in between. There is what I can control and what my hopes and dreams are for what could be. This is the type of stuff I can really get in my head about, right before I go to sleep, when I have thoughts like “will I ever make a painting that truly matters?” or “will I ever paint something I am proud of again?”, but I digress… The next big goal for me would be to paint full time while making enough money to support my life and travel a bit. I want to grow my client base, the value for my work and get more shows under my belt. I have a few ideas on next steps. I am working on finishing up a website that I think will launch a lot of potential connections. I am going to get my work in front of people and see what shakes loose. I think the next year will decide a lot on where I need to focus next. I have to make this happen. I need to prove to myself I can. I believe I have what it takes. Now I have to decide what is the next first step, and the step after that and after that. So stay tuned.


Rae Stone Colorstudies_untitled_623 Series of 3 
36inch x 48inch
Now for sale at BY.E
Written & Edited by Elyjah Monks
Photographed by Elyjah Monks