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Interview with Artist ~ Michael Ricketson

I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the wonderfully talented artist, Michael Ricketson and learn a little about his thoughts on art and creativity…


Tell us a little about yourself and your work.

My primary medium when I first got into painting seriously, was digital paint.  I remember creating digital art, back when it was not considered a serious medium.  (Of course today it’s come completely into its own).  I first did digital painting in the 1990’s, at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, and it was one of the great revelations of my life.  I took to it immediately, it was such a forgiving medium, and for me, color on the screen just glowed!  At the Art Institute, I majored in animation, but I easily preferred digital painting over the monotonous grunt work of animation.  In college I was also introduced to the computer animation series, Miramar’s “Gate to the Mind’s Eye”.  These videos gave me the conviction that art should be beautiful and romantic, and should make life better!

Anyway, about a year and a half ago, I felt like I wanted to create something of real value, something that you could hold in your hand and appreciate, and so I finally took up acrylic painting, after many false starts over the years.  I really began to understand the necessity of painting from life, and so I took up still life, to give my eye something to ponder while my hand worked the brush.  I worried that I had done things backwards, working in digital art before serious traditional study, but I did find that principles learned in digital work translated well to the real canvas.  You just have to respect your own path that you’ve followed.

Most recently I trained for over a year in acrylics and oil, with an accomplished painter named Materese Roche.  My current traditional painting is done in a realistic style, and also, recently, abstracted.  I first got into painting fruit still life, due to an online painting study course that I was taking.  I found the subject to be endlessly suitable for what we really value in art, beauty and color and variation, and so I stuck with it, with a patience that I had not anticipated.

I see myself doing much more acrylic than oil painting in the future, both for health reasons and efficiency of technique.

Do you have any creative routines or rituals? 

I do my best conceptualizing inside my mind, that is, without a pencil or brush in my hand!  I just sit and let my mind wander, with my eyes half closed and a complete disregard for the passage of time.  I also think better with words than pictures, having started my creative journey as a writer, rather than an artist. So my brainstorming work on paper tends to be words as much as anything else!

I have to listen to music when I paint, but it can’t be anything loud or obnoxious!

afternoon passion.jpg

Painting: Afternoon Passion
Oil on MDF, 5″ x 7″
Artist: Michael Ricketson
Galri Montaj Contemporary Art

What is the best advice you have received with regards to creativity, and what advice could you offer an aspiring artist?
My favorite advice from others is actually inspiration, which is what I get when I look at the art of my peers.  The continuous source of ideas and concepts that breathe in the works of others is always what I turn to, when I am drained of elation for my art.  I’ve spent many hours online and in bookstores, being reminded that there are no limits to creativity except that which we impose ourselves.  I doubt that I would still be an artist if I didn’t have the motivation from my peers!
My personal advice to artists, is to never get the idea that you are not creative.  When I was younger, I had this firm conviction that I could not generate creative ideas. I would struggle in school to complete writing assignments, as it would take me too long to decide what to write about.  Even after I got started writing, I couldn’t finish the paper, because that would involve making more creative decisions and having a commitment to completion.  This attitude changed when I took up creating 4-panel comic strips, a medium which forces you to be blunt, immediate and productive.  By writing about what I loved and understood, I discovered that I wasn’t as bereft of ideas as I’d imagined.  There are some practical tools and tricks for stirring up creativity in the mind that I’ve found very helpful, one of which is working with what you already know, what comes naturally for you.  For example, with the comics, I would be totally lazy in idea generation, by simply imagining any type of mundane situation, and then dropping my characters into that scenario.  Because I had a good grasp of who these characters were (extensions of myself perhaps) the scene would take a life of its own, as the characters responded and handled the problems at hand in their own ways.  Ideas came naturally because I was at ease with the characters that I wrote about.  So art is real and can happen on its own, the trick is not to stand in its way.

If you can, absolutely try to train under a professional artist.  Being in the presence of a skilled painter will teach you things that you won’t get from books….  Little things, such as how to handle a brush, when and how often to wipe the brush while blending, etc.  Of course you won’t end up mimicking your teacher in every way.  But when you’re a beginner, seeing is believing, and you need to believe deep down inside that great paintings are possible.  Seeing a wonderful painting come alive puts a thought in your head, that you can do the same thing.

We’ve all heard it before, but persistence is really the one important trait to have, in becoming an artist. You become who you want to be, by simply ignoring what any negative self-perception tells you is true. I can’t tell you how many times I set out to become an acrylic painter, only to quit two weeks later with the firm pronouncement that I would never be a traditional artist.  But one day I finally decided that I wanted to be a painter badly enough.  I started to paint in acrylic once again, and when the usual mental roadblock was thrown in my path, telling me to give it up, I simply ignored it and continued painting.  So not long afterwards, I realized, “Hey, look at me!  I’m painting every day now.  I am a painter!”  And sure enough, I was.  The mental barrier restraining me, today looks to have been paper thin in reality, but it took too long to figure that out.

night reordered.jpg

Painting: Night Reordered
Oil on MDF, 11″ x 14″
Artist: Michael Ricketson
Galri Montaj Contemporary Art

What does “being creative” mean to you?

This question makes me think more specifically of the controversy, “What is art?”  I believe that we’ve let pride and commercialism mold our perceptions in defining art, and I think we need to remember that art is simply any small act of personal expression.  And that expression is completely separate from skill of any kind, and is not beholden to people’s opinions on its value or accomplishment.  Of course, we can add commercial value to art by doing it with skill, but art is neither about money nor ability at its core.

So what is expression?  It is anything done for the sake of doing it, or for creating an aesthetic value.  It can be a scribble, or a photorealistic painting.  I disagree with those who say that photorealism is a technical exercise as opposed to art, because I think it is rare that a painter creates any type of work without making some adjustment for beauty or other interest!

What would be your dream project?

I’ve always hoped that digital virtual reality would make some great strides in my lifetime.  It’s been slow in developing, but it’s fascinating to consider the possibilities, that of creating your own world which is almost indistinguishable from real life.  Then art will truly be without limitation, every little aspect of your life open to your imagination and development.  Paul McKenna predicted that we would soon move out of the information age, and into what he calls the psycho-technology age, in which bettering our minds and tapping our inner strengths would be the prevailing culture.  This, along with sophisticated virtual reality, would be an artist’s dream, and would surely result in many new collaboration projects that we could only imagine today.
What are some of your professional goals?

When I was accepted into the gallery of Galri Montaj Contemporary Art, I received some needed encouragement to continue exploring abstraction in my painting, which is new for me.  I think that more and more, my paintings will be enigmatic explorations of color and texture, but always with a trace of the representational, so as to retain an easy connection with the viewer.  I think that people relate best to human stories, which means that a painting should be thought provoking, and strive to remain in the person’s conscious long after the viewing.  Becoming an accomplished abstract artist is a main goal.
To become an art collector myself one day, would bring immense satisfaction!  I could imagine turning my home into a place where others could come and see wonderful works of art.  I enjoy reading of some of the legendary collectors of our time, and I’m always keen to understand their thought processes, and am appreciative of the opportunities that they can give to artists.

I have a side interest in pigments themselves, I can see myself one day making my own paints!

small pumpkin.Jpg

Painting: Still Life with Small Pumpkin
Acrylic on Masonite, 6″ x 6″
Artist: Michael Ricketson

Where can we find your work?

My work can be found online at Galri-Montaj Contemporary Art:

Also you can visit my website at:

And also on Pinterest:

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Michael for taking time out of his busy schedule to share with us his thoughts on creativity and to give us insight into his brilliant art. Please take some time to check out his amazing artwork.

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Interview with Artist ~Patricia Boyd Roldan

This week I was fortunate enough to interview the wonderfully talented and inspiring artist, Patricia Boyd Roldan to find out about her artistic journey and what inspires her 

Patricia Roldan

Tell us a little about yourself and your work.
I served in the Air Force for 16 years as an aircraft mechanic on C-130’s, and had been stationed in the Philippines for a few years. Here, the dynamics of the tropical landscape took its foothold, although I hadn’t realize it yet. After retiring from the USAF, I enrolled in college for Graphic Design, having to take Painting 101 and Color Theory in order to graduate. These two classes changed my career path, but again, I hadn’t realize it yet. I wasn’t a painter at this point, although I had been an artist since childhood. What these classes did was teach me how to get the images from my imagination’s eyes onto a physical canvas through paint. A Liquitex representative was part of the Painting 101 curriculum, and she spent an entire class teaching us properties and techniques of acrylics. Once I had this information and instruction, it really did erode the intimidation I had once felt with paints and brushes.

The Sentinel  24 x 24"   acrylic
The Sentinel
24 x 24″ acrylic

What does “being creative” mean to you?
For me, creativity is the ability to express conceptually and emotionally. I’m a detail-oriented person, and I see and think very meticulously. Maybe that’s why I chose mechanics in the military. My color palette also allows me to get loud without being noisy. I’m actually very shy, and my bold palette choices seem to be able to speak for me.

Is there a message you are trying to convey through your art?
My work isn’t just about brightly colored botanicals. Many of my pieces are quite emotional for me, and have taken me through some pretty rough patches. I was in a violent marriage where I had no voice and very low self-esteem. Once out of the relationship, I began painting with my heart. My bold colors were the confidence I lacked, becoming my voice. Colors represented sometimes anger, sometimes pain. More and more now though, they express a confidence I haven’t known in years. I’m also exploring our birth through death cycle, using botanicals. I’ve always loved and respected our elderly, and I attempt to show their elegance and wisdom through dried leaves or flowers, how they wither, wrinkle, and fade away, but leaving wonderful impressions and color transitions along the way. My images look deeply into the heart of my subjects, eliciting conversations in a photo-realist style.

Where do you find inspiration?
Thankfully I don’t have to go far for my inspiration, especially living in Florida. What I see are intricate patterns, how the light plays with them, or how many hues and values are within a single color of green ferns. Even their defects are important to me, as I do personalize my subjects.

Lines Of The Elderly 12 x 12"  acrylic
Lines Of The Elderly
12 x 12″ acrylic

Do you have any creative routines or rituals? 
The only ritual I really have is to ask God to bless my hands and my artwork each time I pick up my brush. I find this gives me confidence to create.

What is the best advice you have received with regards to creativity?
The best advice I ever received was, even if pressed for time, devote at least one hour a day to your craft. I’ve followed this, and it was a game changer for me. It taught me more respect and discipline for my profession. Even if I don’t work on any particular piece, it allows me to play with the paints, sometimes just breaking the tensions of the day.

Best piece of advice you could offer an aspiring artist?
Any aspiring artist should never be afraid to ask questions, and never be afraid to seek out and actually listen to constructive criticisms from other professionals. Take what you need, discard what you don’t, and tuck away little bits until later. Learn what makes you tick and exploit it.

Where can we find your work?

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Patricia for taking time out of her busy schedule to share with us a little about her life and her beautiful work. Please take some time to check out her work…you will be truly inspired! 🙂

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Interview with Artist, ~Kathy Delumpa Allegri

Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to interview the extremely talented and passionate Plein Air Artist, Kathy Delumpa Allegri and ask her a few questions…

Bio Pic

Tell us a little about yourself and your journey as an artist.

At age 3, my mother handed me colored chalk to draw whatever I wanted on the large kitchen wall. She also gave me a rag to clean it. In 1966 at University of California, Davis, I took art foundation courses with Prof. Wayne Thiebaud, a world-renown artist whose work is in major museums and galleries.

I started painting in oil. Years later, with a growing family, watercolor was expeditious for clean-up, and for teaching my children to paint. I worked from home as a graphic artist, received my Bachelor of Science in Art, and then, pursued fine art painting, full-time. I love nature, and began en plein air painting in 1992.

Fire In The Water21 x 14″, watercolor $455
Fire In The Water
21 x 14″, watercolor $455

What is essential to your work as an artist?

Attitude. Getting outside of ego and treating my work as process allow me to maintain a humble and yet, confident and very passionate approach. So, I see no value in trying to impress anyone. I express daily gratitude for the opportunity to create. Assuming the posture of a child, on my toes, in wonder, is how I open the door of each new day.

Being in the present and embracing possibilities. I make my living as an artist. It is not a hobby. When some months are a financial challenge, I discern what I know and can do now, act, evaluate, which leads greater understanding, growth, and resolution.

Filling in gaps and tapping resources. My discernment process allows me to identify my weaknesses to develop a positive outcome. I lack marketing skills and techno-savvy, so, in order to focus on creating art, I enlisted Lora Fisher to represent me. This mutual trust will lead to great rewards for both of us! I’m blessed to have a network of fellow artists, to share our common and uncommon experiences, enjoy camaraderie, and to critique work.

Commitment to family and friends. I have a loving, close, creative family. Each adult child and grandchild is independent, generous, and successful. Channeling Benjamin Franklin, I have a few (true) friends, and (hopefully), no enemies!

Kanaloa i Makena, Acrylic 36
Kanaloa i Makena, Acrylic 36″x48″

What inspires and motivates you?

Cultural Heritage. My work became more personal when I re-discovered my rich cultural heritage. We immigrated to America in 1949 from the war-torn Philippines. It inspired my heritage series, beginning in 2000.

Science. I’ve always embraced Physics. Upon understanding relativity, energy, even the organic nature of the earth, for example, I am in awe of sunsets and sunrises. I feel the closure to a not-so-good day, as Gamboge fades to neutrality, and then, hope that abounds with the first Aureolin flash of dawn. I understand the seasonal color palette, the random predictability of a field of wild flowers.

The Work and Life of Artists and Scientists. These artists inspire me: Berte Morrisot, Mary Cassat, Georgia O’Keeffe, Vassily Kandinsky, Claude Monet, and Antonio Allegri di Correggio, and of course, Leonardo Da Vinci. My favorite scientists are Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, and Jonas Salk.

Sunflowers In Blue Vase10 x 14″, aqua media $220 Also available as Giclées and canvas prints …
Sunflowers In Blue Vase 10 x 14″, aqua media $220
Also available as Giclées and canvas prints …

How has art changed your life?

Art, in all its forms, expresses relationships. I’ve learned more about life through visual art, music, writing, and dance. Every design element and principle of art applies to the real world. Translate that to human relationships, and I’ve learned to see different perspectives, and to be compassionate. Because of art, I speak six languages, three of which I knew as a child. Such a simple word has infinite power to transform and empower.

After the Swim, Watercolor 26"x27"
After the Swim, Watercolor 26″x27″

What is the most memorable response you have had with regards to your work?

There’s a tie between two events, a bit amusing: After I completed Phase 1 at a mural project in California, two Latina women stopped and prayed at the centerpiece wall, which depicts the pre-Silicon Valley orchards. They made the Sign of the Cross, and quietly left. Recently, a new collector said that the irises in the landscape painting she bought glowed and vibrated.

Carabao Boys, 15
Carabao Boys, Watercolor, 15″x22″

Where can we find your work?

Allegri Wine Shop & Art Gallery, 44 N. Main Ave., Gresham, OR 97030

Paintings in city offices in Sokcho, Korea, and Ebetus, Japan

Open to the Public: Murals: Red Barn Museum, Troutdale, OR; John H. Conway Law Offices, Sunnvvale, CA


Fine Art America

Facebook www.facebook/


I would like to take the opportunity to thank Kathy for taking time out of her busy schedule to share with us a little about her passion for art. Please stop by her links and be thoroughly inspired!