Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Magical Properties of Light: Elise Ritter

Artist Elise Ritter
"My art reflects my adoration of luminous jewel-toned color, and the magical properties of light," says Gallery Underground's featured artist for March, Elise Ritter.

Working mostly in watercolor and acrylic paints, Elise Ritter captures landscapes with fluidity, paying special attention to light, atmosphere, and reflection. She creates luminosity through an emphasis on air and saturated color and light. Certain palettes dominate and reappear throughout her paintings, including golds, purples, blues and oranges. Her subject matter generally includes seascapes, nature and cafes. Elise also does compelling abstracts in mixed media.

"I try to capture a special moment, and elicit an emotional and interactive reaction on the part of the viewer. My subject matter includes landscapes, seascapes, and spiritually influenced abstracts," she says.

"Morning Has Broken" by Elise Ritter (acrylic)
Elise spent much of her youth moving and traveling around the US and Europe. After earning a degree in journalism, she had a 20-year career in publishing, primarily for Time-Life Books, in Alexandria, VA. In the mid-1990s, after receiving a masters degree in clinical social work, she was a counselor, and also worked as a freelance writer/editor. Around 2003 she started painting, and has been creating ever since.

She says various influences include stained glass windows in cathedrals; expressionist art from Vienna, Austria; waves, wind and dappled light at the seashore; the pulsating vitality of the city; and the love of family and friends.
"Red Skies" by Elise Ritter (watercolor)

In addition to her membership in the Arlington Artists Alliance, Elise was selected to join the Potomac Valley Watercolorists, a group of top watercolor artists in the Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia region. Her work was published in “Potomac Valley Watercolorists: Celebrating 40 years 1974-2014,” a commemorative edition. She is also a member of the Virginia Watercolor Society and her paintings have been selected for several annual statewide Virginia Watercolor Society shows.

"Communion of Saints" by Elise Ritter (acrylic)
"I believe in the healing properties of beauty, creation, and light," she says. "As Irish Mystic John O'Donohue wrote: "The human soul is hungry for beauty...when we experience the beautiful, there is a sense of homecoming. We feel most alive in the presence of the beautiful, for it meets the needs of our soul."

Elise resides in Arlington, Virginia, and at her waterfront home in Urbanna, Virginia near the Chesapeake bay.

Elise's has pieces in Gallery Underground every month; her featured pieces will be up through March 28.

--Sandi Parker, Gallery Underground Co-Director

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