Celebrating Artist Member: Rita Pacheco

For our Out-of-State Member Chapter, we would like to highlight the work of Rita Pacheco. We asked her about her interest in traditional fine art and how the past several months affected her work. We appreciate Rita for being a member of CAC and for this insight into your work.

Why do you paint additional fine art?

I guess I’ve always been drawn to “traditional fine art” over other styles. As a young girl, I was influenced by my older sisters (who were in high school in the 70s, and learning how to draw and paint in a more traditional sense.) I tried to copy their work constantly! My parents supported all of my siblings and I in our artistic endeavors, but having so many children (there were 10 of us!) did not allow them to send us to art school or lessons while we were young. They encouraged us to use the tools we had “on hand” to be creative, so for me, drawing was a pretty regular activity. I do remember many long trips to Los Angeles to visit the Natural History Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and other exhibits. It was probably my appreciation of old paintings found in these settings that shaped my passion for “recreating on paper or canvas from life.”

How has my work shifted in the last few months?

Well, incidentally, I had rotator cuff and bicep surgery at the end of May, so my work has shifted quite a lot since then. I’ve spent a lot of time “looking “at paintings; both my own and others. This has been very good for me! I think as an artist, sometimes you become so isolated from others, and involved heavily in “your own art/voice,” that you tend to be stunted in growth. I will say that social media, specifically Instagram, has been an absolute lifesaver for me in this regard. I’ve been able to study and appreciate other artists’ work and enjoy “seeing” without the uncontrollable urge to “paint my own.” Also, during these few months, I have been newly represented by a wonderful gallery in nearby Montrose; the Cimarron Song Gallery. Weekly, I have been hosting the gallery, and have been surrounded by some beautiful work! * there is a backstory here, on how I came to meet Greg Packard who owns this gallery. Having spent a bit of time in the Montrose Memorial Hospital, I noticed one of his gorgeous paintings in the reception area. I really couldn’t read his signature, but when I approached him weeks later at his gallery, I mentioned that his work reminded me very much of a painting that was a favorite at the Hospital, only to find out that it was in fact one of his! Since I was unable to actually paint while I hosted the gallery for several weeks, I was left with no choice but to enjoy the other artists’ work, and I sure did!

Share a current work of yours, and let us know what it means to you.

I’ve only been able to lift a brush in the last few weeks, and have tried my hand at some “non-dominant hand “paintings. I am one of those artists, who are able to pick and massage her paintings to death, so this was an extremely good exercise for me. I’ve included one of these for you below. It’s a (left-handed) painting from a photo I took of a Nodding Senecio found in the mountains nearby where I live here in Ridgway, Colorado. During its execution, I delighted in the freedom of clumsily putting color down where I saw it, without worrying about the shape of every stroke Surprisingly, each stroke was thought about before it’s application, as I tried to steady my reaching left arm. This mindset is something I’m going to make an effort to incorporate into my “right-handed” paintings when my arm is stronger.


Rita Pacheco works daily in plein air and in her Ridgeway, Colorado studio. A recent transplant from Southern California, she is finally enjoying four seasons, and the different, ever changing scenery of Southwest Colorado! Rita is a Signature Member of the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association, and an Artist Member of the California Art Club. This summer, Rita will be one of the invited artists to paint in Telluride, CO and was invited to the “Just Plein Fun” Event in Newport Beach, California. Rita has been featured in Southwest Artists and Plein Air Magazine, and was named an “Artist to Watch” in Southwest Art Magazine!

For more information on her work,  please go to her website: http://www.ritapacheco.com/

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