It’s a new year so it’s a fitting time to publish a new installment of In The Artist’s Studio with one of the newer members in the High River Art Society - Rita Ku. New to the group, perhaps, but certainly not new to High River. Rita and her family arrived here in June of 1976. Originally from Switzerland (that’s where her cute accent comes from) she arrived in Toronto and ultimately made her way west to Alberta. Since joining the art society Rita has not shied away from being involved and soon took on the job of vice-president for which we, the members, are grateful!
Rita is largely a self-taught artist. Since sharing her passion with a like-minded friend while in grade school to courses through Continuing Education, she has developed her style of art in both acrylics and more recently, watercolour.
Demands of raising a family and a working career meant that she has not always been able to pursue her artistic nature. Time has not diminished the passion she holds for creating works of art now. In her words she is “awed by the natural beauty of God’s creation”
When viewing works by Rita it does not take long to recognize her appreciation of nature as many of her pieces contain images of our feathered friends against a background of shades and shapes of the natural world.
The other thing it does not take long to recognize is Rita’s detailed and precise style. When I visited her home and studio it came as no surprise to see a very organized and tidy workspace that surely reflects in her works of art.
Her colour sampler is a wonderful example of her neat and tidy personality, as is her painting style.
A grand source of nature’s inspiration is no further away than her backyard. Although now neatly put to bed for the winter, her garden is obviously well tended and prolific. During the growing season it provides inspiration for her many lovely floral works.
Her workspace enjoys the benefit of lovely soft north light from a large window in her dining room turned artist’s studio, which looks out to her backyard. In order to keep the winter blahs at bay she keeps a splash of colour close by at all times.
Rita is not confined to one particular style of painting. At times she will be very deliberate in what she is creating – working from a clear plan in her mind as to the final image, while other times, in a more playful manner, she will allow the painting itself to dictate it’s final shape.
It was while participating in a HRAS “Art Challenge” in which participants were challenged to create a 5 x 7 painting each day for five days, that Rita discovered the medium of watercolour. She found that she loved the easy flow with which it allowed her to work and the unpredictability of the paint and water. Since then she has been experimenting with tissue paper, plastic and other household materials to create random textures, quite a departure from her classic precise style.
While visiting Rita I enjoyed viewing her collection of paintings. Both those created by herself and those collected while on travels with husband Yee. It was then I spotted two pieces of art, while familiar in Rita’s style they also stood distinctly apart. I commented on them and she explained that these two paintings were “not for sale” but I hope she will either rethink that decision or create other works in that particular style as I think they were unique and very appealing.
I’m looking forward to seeing what Rita produces over the next few months as she calls on the images she captured while vacationing in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji this fall.
Thank you Rita for allowing me to poke about your home, for your open and friendly conversation regarding your art and certainly for the delicious home grown mint tea.