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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, after which she improved her own style and technique through independent study and workshops with several renown pastelists.

Since 2003, Kirkman's finely detailed pastel paintings have consistently won major awards in national and international competitions. Her work has been featured in the Pastel Journal and the Pratique des Arts Spécial Pastel. She is a Signature member of the Pastel Society of America and a recipient of the Master Circle Award from the International Association of Pastel Societies. Her work is in public and private collections all over the world, including the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan, Mexico, Africa and Australia.

Rita has been striving since 2011, with some success, to become a daily painter.

"I'm blessed to be able to find beauty in almost everything I see. My work has evolved into an observation of sunlight and shadow, and recently I've been playing with more adventurous ways to portray light with color, value, and temperature. I've fallen in to painting ranch animals as one of my series of subjects popular with collectors. This works rather well because ranch animals are ideal models of sunlight, and as Claude Monet said, 'The subject matter, my dear good fellow, is the light.'"

~Rita Kirkman