Round Lake Preserve

I went out for a short hike yesterday, to find a new preserve that had opened up nearby. Most of the trails are currently under construction  and not open for public use, and consequently  there really wasn’t much to see.  However there was one spot…. a boardwalk that opened into to the lake, which was surrounded by a spread of dense water lilies, quietly floating  in the late afternoon sun. It was really quite a sight.  As I looked at the lily pads and the glistening reflections on the water, I thought what a  silent, peaceful sanctuary that I have stumbled upon.  ~Rita


Round Lake Preserve, 5×7 oil pastel

Thermostat Wars…


Winter Sun, 8×10 oil pastel

Yes, I know it is June, and I am not sure what is going on in your home, but this time of year typically starts the thermostat wars in my house. I am always way too hot, and my husband is always cold. The thermostat is constantly in flux, with each of us pretending to get up to do something and quickly bumping up or down the dial as nonchalantly as possible. I have a feeling this happens in more homes than I can imagine. In any case, although it is June, and my mind should be on the beautiful summer season, when I sat down to paint the other day, this is where my palette took me.  And if you lived in my house, it would be no surprise why.  ~Rita

Peak Season

While my last piece, Autumn Gold, was intended to capture the quiet subdued colors of autumn, this piece was an attempt to capture the feeling of those crazy bright fall colors which are illuminated by the sun on a day that the leaves are falling like a soft rain, and the sight just takes your breath away. I think I got so lost in the colors I was seeing that I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to the actual painting, but it didn’t matter. This painting was so much fun,… I can’t think of a better way to spend a beautiful fall day.  ~Rita



Peak Season, 9×12 oil pastel



Autumn Gold

It’s October, by far my favorite month of the year. The days now are bright and sunny, the mornings cool and brisk, and the colors of foliage light up every acre of land. Today I finished this piece which is a quieter view of Autumn… not the splashy reds and yellows that dot the landscape…. but the deep browns and golds, that quietly tell us we are this magnificent season.  ~Rita



Autumn Gold, 9×12 oil pastel



Catskill Evening Sun

I had the fortunate opportunity to spend time on a beautiful 50 acre property in the Catskill Mountains, in order to do a painting I was commissioned for.  The sunsets in this area are one of my favorite things to see, as they never disappoint. The patron I was working for wanted a view from one of the highest parts of her land which  has a panoramic view of a part of the Catskill Mountains, the mountain range that she has come to love.  It was an honor to be able to spend time there, soaking up this incredible landscape as I  attempted to express my interpretation of her special view. ~Rita


Catskill Evening Sun, 11×14 oil pastel



Yep, it’s back. The pink grass of Saratoga Springs, NY. And when I say pink, I mean pink. Nope, not pink wildflowers… pink grass. I love this grass! It comes out in the late summer and early fall, and when the sun hits it looks like the finest pink glistening fluff. It’s not uncommon in this area to see large fields of it. Put that next to the deep greens of the trees, and it looks surreal.  I love this grass, I really do, … so much to the point that when it comes out I likely annoy everyone around me by repeatedly pointing it out. I recently overheard my husband say to my son, “uh-oh, the pink grass is out, get ready, here she goes… ”  And so I did. Go, I mean. Outside, with pastels in hand to paint what I think is the most lovely grass I have ever seen. ~Rita

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Saratoga Pink Grass, 9×12 oil pastel

And just in case you want to see the real deal, here’s a photo from talented local photographer Jackie Donnelly:

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God’s Country

The  first time I set foot in the Adirondacks 35 years ago, I was visiting  my friend  who referred to it as “God’s Country.” The location was a place called “Canada Lake” in Northern New York. It was at that time that I fell in love with the area, and it has been in my blood ever since. I am intrigued by the painters in the last couple of hundred years  that have attempted to capture the beauty of this area we call Upstate New York.   They are of course the Hudson River School Painters. One of my favorite artists from this era is Arthur Parton, who not only painted upstate New York, but also the coast of Maine. The coast of Maine also holds a special place in my heart, and because of this, I feel a kind of kinship with him. I  wonder about all of these artists that have left such legacies, and although I unfortunately will never have a chance to meet them, their work inspires me; and I am thankful that the results of  their thousands of hours of painting continue to teach  me so much.   ~Rita


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Arthur Parton Study, oil pastel




I had fun today. I did this painting with little planning. Just pretty much dove right in.  And while I was doing it I had the clear memory and feeling of how I used to paint when I was a child. How all kids paint. The world stops, and it’s just you and  your colors.  I took this painting right off the easel, sat down on the floor Indian style and painted, without care of anything else. It may not be my best painting, but I had fun.  Real fun. Maybe you can’t approach everything in life with the gusto and abandon of a child at play, but  it seems to me that having that experience at least sometimes in life is a really great thing.  ~Rita

The Saratoga Sand Plains, 8x10 oil pastel

The Saratoga Sand Plains, 8×10 oil pastel

A Marsh… not a Forest.

Sometimes a painting knows where it wants to go whether you do or not. This one started out as a forest, with lots of tall pine trees. And it just wasn’t working. After a lot of frustration and fussing with it, I finally just scraped it back and as I did I saw a marsh emerge pretty much effortlessly. I guess that’s what it wanted to be all along…a marsh, not a forest.  Sometimes in art, and I suppose life too, you have to stop trying to make things into something they are not, and let things be as they will.  ~Rita


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Adirondack Spring, 5×7 oil pastel



I am fortunate enough to live in a place that has beautiful wooded trails with streams and marshland right in my neighborhood. With the long winter, its been a while since I was able to leisurely stroll through them. Today, was such a day, and from that walk, came this painting. Each year I never tire of  the wonderful experience  of the awakening of Spring. ~Rita

Reawakening, 8×10 oil pastel