Submitted by the artist
Sierra Art Trails 2013 Catalog # 58
I am so excited to be exhibiting my work in Oakhurst. I am Rita Alves Watkins. My parents, Anthony and Virginia Alves, built a home and moved our family here from Monterey in 1960. My first art teacher, Mr. Beeching from Sierra Union High School first taught me to find my artistic inspiration in the beauty that surrounded me where I lived.
Having lived my whole life in California, I take my inspiration from the natural beauty and the history of this wonderful state. Even after moving down to the central valley, my family spent much of our leisure time in Oakhurst and the surrounding mountain areas.
My husband of 46 years, Richard, and I settled in Fowler to raise our family. We have lived in the same country home, where I have my artists’ studio, almost all our marriage.
Our home is surrounded by orchards and vineyards. They along with the beautiful Sierras, the California missions, the flora and the fauna all have inspired my work.
My art has evolved from drawing and painting in acrylic, oil and water color to my present day work in clay with which I create sculpture as well as use as my “canvas” by creating tiles and mosaics. Though much of my work displays my lovely natural surroundings, I also love fashion. My work also depicts women in period costume.
My work evolved from experience and experiments. My technique of layering underglazes achieves the painterly style that decorates both my pottery and tile work.
After slab rolling the clay by hand and creating the pottery or tile, the clay is cured slowly, painted, and bisque fired, followed by more glaze and then re-firing.
During the glaze firing, the underglaze layers are fused creating the depth of color. Some of my inspiration comes from the “mistakes” that the incompatibility of clay and certain glazes sometimes creates. This achieves all types of wonderful outcomes often creating a whole new unique look.
I have been involved with professional art and craft shows throughout the West for the past 30 years. My work has been sold in gift shops and galleries around the world. I have done commissioned and commercial art installations. I am a member of the San Joaquin Clay and Glass Association. I look forward to meeting and inspiring you on the Sierra Art Trail.
Click on images to enlarge.
For more features and artists profiles on Sierra Art Trails go to SNO’s special section
Sierra Art Trails Open Studio Tour is October 4, 5 and 6, 2013.