I’ve always been fascinated by art and drawing since early childhood. I have very clear memories of painting with watercolor at my grandparents kitchen table. In Junior high school I was voted best artist of my class. I even dreamed of one day going to an Art school.
Things in life don't always go like you want. I ended up at community college after high school and from there dropped out and joined the workforce. I had met a girl, and we fell in love and started our family. Young, naive and scraping by, I sold and gave away all my art supplies. For the next 12-13 years i didn't paint or draw anything. No art in my life.
Right around my early thirties, I start craving it again.
During this time, I worked at a University that allowed staff to take classes, so long as your supervisor was ok with it. My boss gave me the green light and I enrolled in beginner painting class. That got the ball rolling for me again, and I started up with Acrylics. I painted off and on and kept it as a hobby.
I then moved into oils and painted several paintings. Again, this was when I had time. Raising a family and work was priority.
Right around 2010 I got into pastels, and that led me to oil pastels. A drawing medium but with similar properties as oil paint. I viewed it as "paint in stick form", and naturally took to it. I could see myself doing more and more oil pastel work.
I did exactly that. Oil pastels became my medium of choice. I created when I had the time between work and all the other stuff.
Things started changing though. While I worked, my wife was able to finish beauty school and started work as a make-up and hairstylist. It took a lot of hard work and several years, but slowly her business started growing. And growing.
I found myself doing more financial duties for the business as well being a handyman here and there.
In mid-2017, I left my 17 year job and joined my wife on our business. It was a year in planning and we set a date and wrote that down in a calendar; June 9, 2017. I wasn't sure it was really going to happen, but it did. I now had a lot of time to spare and a opportunity to really pursue my art.
What would happen if I gave this my100% attention? So, I started painting again, and in 2018 I created exactly 100 paintings. I have never before been so consistent. Averaging about 3 finished paintings per week. For 2019, I’m on target for 200 paintings as I average 4 paintings a week. This is the first time in my life that I have been consistent with it. For me, this is my Art school that I dreamed about as a kid.
In May 2019, I’ve opened up my very own gallery/studio in downtown Portland, OR on NW Lovejoy st. I'm really going out on a limb here. My focus here is to gain recognition, exposure, and get my name known. And also, make some income.
Since retiring from my job and focusing on my work, I have created over 200 oil pastel paintings. My inspiration is sky high as I'm excited every day to pursue my childhood dream.
My art is about the beauty of the natural world. With rich color, intense contrasts and constant play of light and shadow; I bring to you Mother Nature in all her glory. My paintings are from places I have visited, or hikes I have been on.
One day I’ll be an old man and will reflect back on my life, and the choices I made. The absence of pursing my art will not be a regret. Suffice to say, I have nothing to lose here. So why not? At the very least, I’ll have thousands of paintings to show for it, and with good fortune and hard work, have gained the recognition.
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Copyright © 2019 Rich Arriagada