We had the good fortune of connecting with Rhea Pettit and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rhea, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
After 25 years as a graphic designer, I found that I was more passionate about fine art than design. I was painting daily in my backyard studio, and selling a few paintings online. My husband suggested that I transition to painting full time, and I’ll be forever grateful for his support… and push!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
This year – so incredibly challenging! With almost all of my art shows cancelled or postponed, my schedule opened up. I decided to paint 100 small portraits in 100 days to improve my skills and keep busy. This was an Instagram challenge hosted by the portrait artist AJ Alper. It turned out to be the perfect challenge for this time of isolation. I didn’t plan more than a day in advance; I ended up painting master copies, celebrities, historical figures, friends, family members, and a few animals (even the baby owl in the Rockefeller tree). By the time I finished the challenge, I found out that several of the postponed exhibits are rescheduled for 2021, so I’m looking forward to painting new work for those shows.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in the Austin area, so definitely the lake, short hike up Mt Bonnell for a view of the city, gallery hoping, take in the music scene, eating at my favorite vegan restaurant Counter Culture or Taste of Ethiopia. For beer and yummy food, The Brewatorium or Pinthouse Pizza. If they visit in the summer, for sure Barton Springs!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Big shoutout to the amazing artists and teachers at Atelier Dojo in Austin. Jennifer Balkan’s and Karen Offutt’s portrait and figurative classes were game-changers for me. I have so many lovely artist friends who I would love to give a shoutout to, especially my homegirls Shan Fannin, Christy Stallop, Brenda Armistead, and Stephanie Estrin. They not only are great artists, but also my touchstones during this crazy, challenging year.
Facebook: @RG Pettit Art