We had the good fortune of connecting with Darlene Ritter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Darlene, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
From the beginning of my career it had to be art and creativity. Art is the language I speak and the language I understand. It is something I breath, eat and drink. You might say art runs through my blood. I have to create and when I don’t have that opportunity, I am truly depressed. I love problem solving through my art because it feels good to me. I also love helping others to experience this feeling. That is why I was a teacher for so many years, teaching children and adults to look at life as an artist would, or like an artist did by looking at artists and their creations. Even as a child in school, I was mentioned in our local newspaper as someone who created art. I want the word “painter” to be in my obituary when I leave this world. That is who I am and who I must be.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I work as an abstract expressionist painting what I feel over what I see. I do not plan ahead using what is inside me at the time of creativity to express my feelings. If you were to ask me what I was going to paint, I would not have an answer and that is on purpose and challenging. I often do not use brushes and may even use my fingers. I let the paint on the canvas and my knowledge of the elements of design create a composition, usually a non-objective painting. Other times, it will be a painting of a face but not of a particular face. The design and composition are more important than a pure representation to me. It is exciting and scary to not know where you are going, but of course, this makes it hard to know when you have arrived. I have over 300 large scarf designs with VIDA, an artist design company with designers from all over the world. The scarves are made from photos of my paintings. I give in-home scarf parties.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
*Phoenix Art Museum and restaurant *Heard Museum and restaurant *Desert Botaical garden and restaurants *Musical Instrument Museum and restaurant *Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin West in Scottsdale *First Friday in Phoenix and Hanney’s restaurant *Sedona *Jerome or Bisbee mining communities and bars and restaurants *Scottsdale Art Walk and Frank and Lupe’s Mexican restaurant *The Taco Guild restaurant *A jazz club *Picazzo’s Healthy Italian Kitchen for amazing pizza
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I was blessed growing up in Southern California by a father who brought home boxes and boxes of blocks. I was given the entire diningroom floor for several years to create to my heart’s content. Then I had an art teacher for three years with this poster on his wall that read, “we invent, we create, we do not copy, we are artists.” That phrase is tattooed on my life forever. To this day, it is impossible for me to copy. There is technical skill and there is creativity. I go to creativity first in my creations. I had many opportunities to see and study great art in Southern California where I earned my BA and Masters in art education at CSULA, which at that time attracted many outstanding art professors. When I became an art teacher myself, I hung a large banner across my room that read: ” A mistake is not the end of the world, but could be the beginning of a whole new world.” This is one of my core beliefs. When I retired as an art teacher for the Scottsdale schools I had the need and the time to devote to my own art. I took some painting classes at the Phoenix Center for the arts from Edna Dapo and started networking with other artists and art organizations with the goal of finding opportunities to promore my art. It was not easy. I devoted most of my time to this goal. I spent a lot of time hanging out in the art district of Phoenix and checking out the work of other creatives. I joined art organizations. I now have been a part of many shows, including several one-woman shows to showcase and sell my art. I have also been a docent at the Phoenix Art Museum for over ten years and I am sure this experience and training has influenced my art.
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