Rhonda Peterson


    Artist Bio:

    Art has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  As a child I watched my mother paint on rocks, canvas, and the walls of our home; preserving memories of places she had lived and loved, and I tried to be like her.  Later, in my college and young adult years, I took as many studio art classes as time would allow and graduated from the University of Louisville with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, and then a master’s degree in expressive art therapy – trying to find some “practical” way to make art a central focus in my life.

    Then I had a family of my own and art became a kitchen table activity, taking a back seat to the daily concerns of a full house.  I still painted in rare free moments – changing from oil paints to watercolors and pastel to save space and drying time.  I also bought a series of good cameras and learned how to use them so that I could preserve impressions of the places we walked and explored together as a family… Always continuing to think in terms of color, texture, composition, and light.

    In recent years I have finally been able to devote serious time and attention to my love of photography and painting.  I often spend hours both driving and walking in the countryside, observing the light, the space, the clouds and the foliage of the seasons.  I bring my camera with me just about everywhere to capture images of particularly interesting or beautiful places along the way.

    When painting, I approach each piece intuitively; much of the time with little planning other than a ready collection of reference photos in hand and some vivid memories of how a place made me feel.  I generally begin with a loose sketch in pencil or oil pastel and then an abstract blocking-in of color and value.  Sometimes the abstract beginning feels right, and I keep going in that manner.  At other times I am more interested in the natural characteristics of a place and the painting becomes more realistic.  Some works are very impressionistic and are completed from start to finish in an hour or two, while others are stubborn and take multiple sessions and/or time away from them before I can call them “finished”.

    Regardless of the techniques used in a painting, I know I have fulfilled my objective when a viewer tells me they feel “connected” to a place I have portrayed, or that they “want to go there”.  Ultimately, I think this is my goal; to connect with others through a visual representation of my own response to life, light, and the beauty of the world in which we live.
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