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Jane Ritchey

When I moved to the Shenandoah Valley recently from Pennsylvania, I had the opportunity to study a new terrain. The valleys, farms, villages, apple orchards and the mountains gave me a new "sense of place."

In painting landscapes, I work outdoors, weather permitting, and focus on what interests me, whether it is cows in adjoining fields, country scenes or houses in nearby town or villages.

I don't "prettify" what I see but keep the telephone poles and broken fences as they are. My work is largely in oil on canvas or board. I usually work directly without a preliminary drawing and do not do a great deal of blending with my brush strokes. I lay the color down and work all over the canvas trying to maintain the values and the feel for light. While I am painting, if a painting seems to take on a life of its own, that "spark" keeps me going.

I had three years of formal training at the Philadelphia Museum School of Art (now the University of the Arts), and have studied in Pennsylvania under a number of excellent teachers, most of who teach or have taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. I have learned from them all and from the masters: Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Fairfield Porter, Arthur Dove and many more.

"The artist's mental image of the thing seen in nature, expressed in graphic terms, is what gives creative vitality to the work."
…John Sloan