Through her remarkable art, you are about to meet an extraordinary woman. Wife, mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, teacher, community activist, writer, and artist. But always an artist, from her earliest days, then passionately throughout her life.
Rachel Janis Freedman was born February 6, 1942, in Paterson, New Jersey, to Alex and Lucille (Pankin) Freedman, and grew up in New York, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania with siblings Michael, Susan, David, and Naomi. Armed with an English and Secondary Education degree from Temple University, Rachel quickly showed her ability to teach and nurture young people as a high school teacher in Philadelphia, honing skills she would make great use of later on teaching art to children and adults alike. After getting married in 1967, Rachel packed her bags again and moved to Massachusetts, settling in Beverly in 1970 to raise sons Aaron & Jacob.
The vibrancy and energy and passion you are about to discover in Rachel’s art was mirrored in her approach to life and community. A mainstay at Hadassah. Pivotal in the Beverly Guild of Artists. A co-founder of the PTO. A lifelong learner earning a Master's in Education in the late 1980s. And a regular columnist for and contributor to any number of local newspapers.
That’s when she was at home. Rachel’s world view – and the way she so vividly expressed it in her paintings – came naturally from first-hand experience. She was a true world-traveler from Alaska to the Galapagos, from Europe to Nepal and Hong Kong, always writing and often painting and sketching along the way. Rachel married John Houpes in 1988 and his encouragement helped Rachel pursue her art with renewed passion. Frequent winters in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico soon followed, and these trips helped inform her vision and inspire her to new heights of creativity.
And what resulted? Subjects ranging from oil paintings of classic New England scenes to big, bold acrylics capturing the festivity of San Miguel. Hundreds of models sketched and dozens of ceramics sculpted; no art tool was off-limits to this wonderfully creative mind. In addition to beautiful landscapes and vibrant street scenes, Rachel would stretch her boundaries with fantastical abstracts, creating mixed media originals with glitter, charcoal, watercolor or anything else that happened to be within arm's reach. Rachel's intellectual curiosity combined with her vivacious personality, generosity of spirit, fierce intelligence, and exceptional talent to keep that artistic flame burning as she continuously sought out new creative challenges. This continued pursuit was recognized in the Fall of 1997 when "Mexican Siesta" was awarded Best in Show by the Guild of Beverly Artists. And oh what a joy to combine her loves of family, teaching & art as Rachel celebrate the joys of art with grandsons Nathan, Max & Quincy.
Rachel obviously lived like she painted and painted like she lived. With passion, curiosity, adventure, and love. When you get to know her art, when you experience the boldness and the energy of it, you will then know her as well. Among Rachel's many legacies is her art, and it is the hope of her family that it continue to be enjoyed by others for many years to come. Enjoy.