Embracing the Snail

Butterflies get all the glory with their delicate beauty and whimsical flight. Everyone wants a resurrection story; to be the caterpillar who only had to discover its true self.

But I am not a butterfly, I’m a snail.

Snails get a bad rap. Yeah, we’re slow but we are purposeful, diligent and we know how to ride the current whenever needed. I don’t know about other snails, but there are entire WORLDS going on inside my shell. Maybe that’s why people want to yank us out all the time, they’re trying to snatch the the riches of our inner worlds.

The coolest thing about snail shells is that they show the mathematics of nature, the endless logic of the Golden Ratio, the Fibonacci Code, upon which much the Universe is built, including the proportions of our human bodies.

But society tells us there’s something wrong with our shell of perfect, natural proportions and we need to come out! We get the message that it’s a bad thing to be ourselves, in our natural state, made the way we are. But we’re no good without our shells. We need them to protect the delicate operations that go on within, where the real work happens.

We may seem mysterious or even boring, but it would be destructive to everything, especially to myself, to discard my shell, or an insult to God which goes like this, “I don’t like what you made me so I’m going to pretend to be something else because other people believe it is better than what you had planned for me.”

Total folly.

I’ve tried it. It’s devastating

And I don’t have to come all the way out to experience the world. I can keep my shell with me because that’s how it works to be a snail. Yes, it looks like it would be a burden to someone like a butterfly but I can handle it. I am that strong.

I’m happy to let you see inside the inner chambers of my shell, if you value, respect and appreciate the Divine wisdom of making some of us snails. Who I am and how I operate was not by my own design. My only task is to do what I’m made to do.

And this is why I write and make art. To let you see the scenic route of someone on a quiet journey.

I help people see themselves and sometimes hidden parts of the universe because of who I am. It’s not necessary for me to overcome the limitations of being just a snail. Inside my shell is a wondrous and beautiful place.

I travel the cosmos, absorb and report. I’m happy to be a snail.

Blessings to all you beautiful, diverse creatures.

— Rita, The Most Colorful Snail

Go to this link to learn more about Soul Circles for Meditation.

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It’s All Perfect

A new chapter in the art life emerges — Coach and webmaster Scott Schumacher has asked me to join him in this intensive 4-week group called “It’s All Perfect” — an individual coaching immersion program which begins Feb. 20. Scott is a kind soul and his intuition has been right on the mark on any topic I’ve put in front of him. He’s a non-judging witness who can say just the right combination of words to make me see a solution that just wasn’t there before.

My part in the program is to share my experience in mid-career detours and how to make the landing a little softer when you take the leap into the unknown. I don’t subscribe to the ‘push forward no matter what!’ school of success. My mantra: “Getting quiet is a thing!”

I suppose that’s not surprising when you see my artwork.

Setting goals is important, but I can also let the plan create me. Getting quiet allows greater gifts than you ever imagined to come pouring out of you.

See details and more videos here: http://www.northerndruid.net/rita-roberts-art-quiet/


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Logo Design – The Lighting Connection

You know the old saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Well, I beg to differ.

I ended 2017 doing some new logo designs, starting off with The Lighting Connection in Denver. A wonderful group of people, ready to let the design process unfold and a pleasure to work with. (See their info below.) Although I don’t often do logo design, they had faith in my visual and imaginative skills to gave me the opportunity to blend some old-school ways with today’s  easy access to fonts and graphics.

From 1986 – 1991 I spent all day, every day doing design work — paste-up, hand lettering, illustration, darkroom work, color separations for film — for a printing company outside Kansas City which had national clients. As it turns out, six years of total immersion will bring you to that level of mastery enough to call it up whenever you need.

If you’re contractor in the Denver area, contact this fantastic company!


The Lighting Connection – Our Story

The Lighting Connection started operations in 1984 and has consistently been providing excellent lighting solutions and service since inception. Our business is unique in the Denver market as we do not offer a showroom nor do we have walk-in traffic. Our sole focus is you, the Colorado builder.  We work closely with builders and their teams — including general contractors, electricians, superintendents, and purchasing agents to provide comprehensive design and delivery of complete lighting packages (residential, multi-family and commercial) across Colorado.

Our team has more than 75 combined years in the lighting industry, and we have been providing lighting solutions to many of the largest home builders (including national, regional and local builders) here in Colorado.  We have the industry and logistics experience to deliver on all your lighting needs. Our team of professionals currently delivers lighting packages to more than 100 sites per week.

Our Mission

To deliver competitively-priced lighting fixtures with exceptional customer service. The Lighting Connection has a legacy of reliability in the lighting industry.

Our Vision

Our company will not waver from its mission, which means competitively-priced lighting fixtures and round-the-clock customer support. We will provide continued stellar builder support and comprehensive lighting packages for all building needs.

Posted in Creative Process, Events, Featured, What's New?

Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas

Bita Beach, Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas 9″ x 12″ Oil on Gesso Board

I spent January exploring the most fabulous 1.5 square miles, walking beaches instead of shoveling record snowfall in Colorado.
Green Turtle Cay is one of the barrier islands off mainland Great Abaco The Bahamas. It is considered part of the “Abaco Out Islands” and is 3 miles long and ½ mile wide. It was named after the once abundant green turtles that inhabited the area. Wikipedia

A wonderfully generous painting student has a house on White Sound. She and her husband offered me the use of their house for a month after taking my course. (Understanding Clouds) That course is no longer offered through Artist’s Network University, so I’ll be making it available through my own website later this year. Yes, this was an online course, so I had never met my hosts in person until two planes and a ferry brought me to their dock. It pays to have a good sense of people and I feel that this whole adventure is a natural outcome of teaching with a desire to inspire creativity and take artistic risks. Learning to paint better is a byproduct.

While on the island, I used the solitude to work on a first draft of a new screenplay. ( ritadoyleroberts.com ) Now that the story is nearly ready to send out, I am happy to be painting again…. but I do miss those beautiful beaches.

Posted in Blog, Creative Process, Events, Featured, Uncategorized, Writings

New Print Available – Mount Blanca

“Dusting of Snow on Mount Blanca”
12″ x 14″ Giclee Print on Canvas, Stretched

Sides printed black and ready to hang.

I was recently contacted by a someone who grew up in the San Luis Valley but now lives in Utah. He misses the landscape of his home and nothing says SLV more than Mount Blanca. He found me and this painting in a Google search. This piece is in the permanent collection of Trinidad State Junior College – Alamosa Campus so I had this print made for him. Now it’s available to all.


History of Mount Blanca

(from Wikipedia)
Blanca Peak is known to the Navajo people as the Sacred Mountain of the East: Sisnaajiní[8] (or Tsisnaasjiní[9]), the Dawn or White Shell Mountain. The mountain is considered to be the eastern boundary of the Dinetah, the traditional Navajo homeland. It is associated with the color white, and is said to be covered in daylight and dawn and fastened to the ground with lightning. It is gendered male.[8]

Summitpost notes that “the first recorded ascent of Blanca by the Wheeler Survey was recorded on August 14, 1874, but to their surprise they found evidence of a stone structure possibly built by Ute Indians or wandering Spaniards.”[10]

Posted in Blog, Collectors, Creative Process, Events, Featured, What's New?

Pikes Peak Watercolor Society – Demo

The Pikes Peak Watercolor Society invited me to do a demo at the Cottonwood Center for the Arts in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A gracious and enthusiastic group of painters welcomed me into their monthly meeting on October 19th. I treated them to series of quickly applied washes for the beginnings of a large sky-scape of stormy clouds over a low horizon — the view west from my studio. Afterwards, many people expressed that my techniques go against everthing they have been taught about painting skies (I’m just a rebel at heart) but they loved the results and had and an eagerness to go try what I had showed them.

Thanks to all who attended, I hope to return again to hear how your experiments with my techniques for painting clouds have changed your art!

Anyone in the Pikes Peak vicinity, do join or support this creative group and visit the Cotton Wood Center for the Arts. It is an exceptional facility.


PPWS Meeting

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Finished painting of the same scene, vertical format. “Rains Coming” 4″ x 15″

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Open Studio 2016

#17_RRobertsTuesday through Saturday
10 am – 5 pm
Or call for appointment: 719-852-6976

The studio is loaded with original art plus signed, giclee prints and greeting cards. I’ll be doing small watercolor paintings and/or oil pastel drawings each day of the open studio. These new pieces will be available immediately to the first bidder.

Much of my year has been focused on writing. I’ve revised a children’s book manuscript and now I am writing a screenplay for the animated film version of the same story. It’s a different brain process, making vivid pictures with words. The result has been that my artwork has become less literal, less representational. I’ve been exploring color, texture and unconscious prompts. This image is a detail of one of those explorations.

I still do representational work and I’ll show that here too, during Open Studio. I’d love for any of these paintings to find their permanent homes while the Studio is open for visitors. This is your annual opportunity to take home affordable art work, directly from the artist, or just to see what’s going on.

Please share this event with your friends.

Daily posts will be made at these links:

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The Value of Studies: Process for “The Space Between”

This painting began on an autumn afternoon in the Conejos Canyon in south-central Colorado. During the previous weekend as I drove home from Denver through the mountains, the roads were overrun with leaf-peepers. However, in this part of Colorado, no matter how beautiful the fall colors are they can be experienced in relative solitude.

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So there I was, completely alone, eating an apple and watching the sun go behind a ridge. Or, more accurately, I watched colors on cottonwoods and water change as the light lowered.

The drive to get there was a spectacle of aspen on the mountainsides, stunning and beautiful, but my artist’s eye was drawn to this scene — serene yet slightly electrified by the warmth of autumn colors in filtered light. During these quiet moments in nature, I’ve always had the feeling that the trees are talking to each other, and I make an attempt at eavesdropping. It turns out that I’m not the only one who feels this way. Yesterday I learned of this book titled, “The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate — Discoveries From a Secret World,” by Peter Wohlleben, a German writer and forest ranger. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s next on the list! Regardless of the science behind plant communication, as a landscape painter, when I am really making art, a genuine connection occurs between my subject and myself. It’s my job to translate that communication onto the paper or canvas.

Reference photos are not always an accurate depiction of the feeling I had on the spot so I often do studies to find the visual equivalent. In this case, I deviated quite a lot from the photo in order to emphasize the personality of the trees and their place in this environment. I had in mind that the trees would have something like a stage lighting, as if this is a scene from an ongoing play they perform day after day. We might be aware of extra “cast members” in the background but they don’t have speaking roles.

In order to test this stage setting idea, I needed to find out just how much information (detail) could be deleted while still bringing the sense of a real place to the viewer. Oil pastels on black paper is one way to allow a scene to emerge from dark to light. It also restricts detail and requires a fair amount of spontaneity and looseness. The directness of drawing with color brought me out of the photo and back to my personal experience with the trees, something more unconscious and less tangible which I could bring into the final painting. The reference became a jumping off point rather than something to stick with and remain loyal to.

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Study for “The Space Between” 10″ x 10″ Oil Pastel on Black Paper


Next, I tried a tiny oil study with a palette knife. Painting small can also let me know how little information is needed to still be readable. Now I had three sources (four if you count my initial experience) from which to paint.

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Study #2 for “The Space Between” 4″ x 4″ Oil on Canvas

Each technique calls on a different visual language. The goal is to enrich the final painting and hopefully this makes the full conversation accessible to each viewer.

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Colorado Supports the Arts!

The Colorado Creative Industries Division of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (CCI), has awarded me with a Career Advancement grant. The grant is to be used toward developing, publishing and marketing my Children’s Picture Book, Augustina, as well as a screenplay for animated film to accompany the book.

She’s making progress toward being available in bookstores!

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Augustina, is a humorous story about a lovable, barnyard oddball who dances her way into the carnival spotlight, and discovers her true identity — she is a heifer-potamus!

Educators, day care providers and social workers enthusiastically support this story:

“I see all kinds of application potential, everything from children who are adopted to helping children gain ego strength.” — Carol C., Clinical Social Worker

Please contact me for more information about Augustina.

To capitalize on attending conferences and industry workshops I am simultaneously developing an additional story for both book and film. Hint: the characters are perfect for cute Halloween costumes in coming years. Stay tuned!


Posted in Events, Featured, What's New?, Writings

Art for the Environment

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“The Fire Below” 14″ x 14″ Oil on Canvas

Art for the Endangered Landscape Show and Sale


This painting sold at an exhibit sponsored by Community Partnerships Gallery at Adams State University, Alamosa, Colorado last December. Proceeds go to help us keep Wolf Creek Wild.

Wolf Creek Pass and its heavily used highway corridor hold a critical place in the ongoing struggle to balance natural systems with human disruption. The pass bisects some of the wildest remaining primitive country in the southern Rocky Mountains. To the north of the pass is half-million acre Weminuche Wilderness and to the south is the South San Juan Wilderness holding 160,000 acres. The boundaries of these two wilderness areas come to within 6 miles of each other at their closest proximity, but those are treacherous miles for wildlife and plant populations to negotiate.

Wolf Creek was also the area selected to release the reintroduced Canada lynx, an endangered species throughout its historic range.

The most controversial endangerment to consider is a 10,000- person resort complex proposed by developers on a piece of private land adjacent to Wolf Creek Ski Area.

From its origination as a questionable land exchange in 1986 to its current incarnation of transfering yet again more public land, this proposal has galvanized opposing factions. For more in-depth information on this aspect go to Wolf Creek Developments.

The Art for the Endangered Landscape project strives to shed a different light on development issues from the aspect of loss of visual beauty. This art celebration also honors what we have now and what we have to lose in a tangible and visceral manner. I am happy to support this conservation effort!

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