When you consider how simple and unimpressive a small, white canvas is compared to the vastness and unlimited colors of all that our Master Creator God has provided, it’s a humbling yet fascinating task to try to bring these things together. And every day, with palette and brush in hand, that’s what I get to do! I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be a western artist.
Rita Morris, a native of North Louisiana and long-time Texan, is a western artist who truly appreciates the brave pioneers who were instrumental in taming the early American frontier. Their way of life continues to inspire and drive her to capture on canvas the adventurous men and women – and the sometimes threatening situations they encountered – as they tried to survive in the beautiful, but often dangerous, country they called home.
Rita’s interest in the American West began at an early age as she listened to her Native American grandmother telling fascinating stories about her childhood. This strong influence would later give Rita the inspiration and desire to paint this subject matter that still draws her interest more than any other.
Featuring both impressionistic and realistic touches, Rita’s art uses color and a sense of movement within rustic landscapes to portray the cowboys, Native Americans, pioneer women, mountain men, buffalo, longhorns, and horses, that convey the drama and romance of the early American West. “The people and events portrayed in western art are examples of the American ‘Can-Do’ attitude—and it’s a story that demands to be told and shown,” she says. “Whether my current painting is of cowboys and their trusty horses outrunning an approaching storm, or a herd of longhorns working their way down a steep hillside, or maybe a mighty warrior on his lightning fast pony, I am always aware that God Who created all these things has given me the opportunity to do what I love and I am so thankful!”
Rita Morris is a Signature Member of the American Plains Artists and has been a juried artist in their shows at the Museum of Western Art in Kerrville, Texas, and the Annual Exhibit and Sale at the Pearce Museum in Corsicana Texas. Her work “But When She Dances” was featured on the cover of “Legends” magazine in Salado, Texas. Rita’s paintings have also been in the C. M. Russell Show and Exhibit in Great Falls, Montana, for four years; the National Greeley Art Exhibit in Greeley, Colorado; the juried American Plains Artist Show in Lincoln, Nebraska; and the Oklahoma Impressionism Exhibit in Tulsa. Other shows in Texas include the juried Spirit of Texas Art Show; The Bosque Art Classic; The Western Associates Show and Sale; the Brazos River Invitational Western Art Show, and several years in The Party at the Museum of Western Art in Kerrville. Her “Dressed To Kill” was used in the video documentary, “Uncovering the Past” produced by the Indiana Kankakee Valley Historical Society.
Building on her 25 years as a western artist, Rita continues to create works that move and delight the viewer. Her work is proudly displayed in galleries, corporate surroundings, and private collections across the United States.
Rita Morris is a western painter, working primarily in oils. Born in Louisiana, in 1955, she currently lives and works in Tyler, Texas. Her subject matter consists of figures and scenes depicting western life of the past and present, done in the style of impressionistic realism.
Rita has studied under the following:
Oklahoma Impressionism – July, 2015
The Russell Show and Exhibition – March, 2015
Brazos River Invitational – January, 2015
Bosque Conservatory Show and Sale – 2014
Western Associates Exhibit and Sale – 2014
Spirit of Texas Show and Sale – 2014
The Russell Show and Exhibition – 2013
Private Collections throughout the U.S.
Corporate Collections, Texas
Artist Interview: Rita Morris
What are your earliest memories related to art?
I can still see it now! My mother quite often had a canvas and art palette on our kitchen table. I was amazed at the beautiful flowers she could make look so real!
How and when did you start becoming an artist yourself?
I was given art lessons at an early age and was blessed to have as my teacher a very talented artist whose specialty was drawing. His instruction, combined with my artist mother’s love for painting in oils, gave me a great foundation and a desire to create that has never gone away.
What was the evolution like toward finding your current voice and visual vocabulary?
It’s definitely been an exciting journey – from the early stages of my work to the place where I am now. I have had the opportunity to study with and learn from some great artists! I will always take opportunities to grow and to experiment with different techniques, but I truly believe my subject matter will always be the American West.
What is your process like?
First, I like to “see” the idea in my mind, and then I spend time thinking and rethinking it. I ask myself, “What do I want to show from this painting?” Then the physical work begins. Sketching … REsketching … and often more REsketching! Next comes painting … REpainting … and finally … HOPING that I have portrayed the emotions I wanted the viewer to experience.
Is there anything from your artist statement that you wish to expound on, that you normally don’t have the chance to discuss?
It’s very important to me that those who view my work know that it’s all God! He gives the glorious scenes to be captured on canvas and He gives the talent to bring it to life.
What do you try to control in your surfaces, and what do you leave to chance?
I try to tell a story with each and every stroke of my brushes and I leave it to the viewer to become a part of that story as he/she stands in front of a finished work.
Where do you see your work going from here?
I hope to see it hanging on walls around the world!