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Tell us about yourself
Rita Kirkman was born an artist. She has been using pastel since she was 11 years old and had her first paid portrait commission at 17. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1988. Meanwhile, in 1986 she began a 12 year career sketching quick portraits at amusement parks, and in 1988 she began a business drawing detailed pencil portraits from client photos. (Samples and information about these portraits and sketches can be found on her site RitaKirkmanDrawings.com.) Since 2003, Kirkman has improved her own style and technique with pastel through independent study and workshops with renowned artists each year. This effort has been consistently rewarded with major awards in national and international competitions. Her work has been featured in the Pastel Journal and the Pratique des Arts Spécial Pastel, and published in many others. She is a Signature member of the Pastel Society of America and an Eminent Pastelist with the International Association of Pastel Societies. Her portraits and paintings are in private collections all over the world, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, Japan, Africa and Australia.
In 2011, Kirkman took a workshop with internationally known daily painter Carol Marine, and for the first time in 23 years began to improve her skills with oils. Also striving to become a Daily Painter herself, this has led to her participation in the Daily Paintworks site, more frequent postings on her daily painting blog, and the publishing of two books of 100 miniature pastel animal portraits, “Cows, etc.” Volume 1 and Volume 2 Her latest venture, in 2020, has been to create a Patreon Page, where she shares behind-the-scenes video clips and exclusive content from the studio, along with demo videos from her Virtual Open Studio Days and various other art tips from her 40+ years as an artist.