My pastel paintings are born from the appreciation of the play of light on common objects or a scene. I enjoy revealing the beauty of simple subjects that are frequently overlooked. The inspiration for a painting often rises from the shape of a piece of fruit, the visual stimulation of the unexpected pairing of objects, or the humor in a formal arrangement of food.
The painting process is a meditative one where the focus is on observing the subtle nuances of shapes and color that will give a painting life. The last mark of pastels is often in an unexpected color that dominates a highlight or shadow.
I started out painting in many mediums and subjects. In 2006 I set a goal to complete a painting a day making small works more affordable to collectors. As my body of work developed, a pattern began to emerge revealing mainly still life subjects.
I also paint in oils and acrylics. Commissioned paintings are welcomed.
Although my work is not limited to the still life genre, I’ve learned that still life subjects translate well into a small painting format. The challenge to dig deeper into the details happens, which is what draws me to simple subjects.
The ongoing goal is that the work continues to stay fresh. This is done by always challenging myself to develop new techniques and perspectives.
Ria Hills is a self-taught working artist who paints predominantly with pastels. She has 40 years of professional experience in graphic design and as a fine artist. Hills has won awards and exhibited throughout New England including shows at The Whitney Center for the Arts in Pittsfield, MA., The Preservation Framer and Gallery in North Attleboro, MA and Gallery 53 in Meriden, CT. The February 2013 issue of The Pastel Journal Magazine featured her food art paintings.
Hills’ started out painting in many mediums and subjects. In 2006 she set a goal to complete a painting a day making small works more affordable to collectors. As her body of work developed, a pattern began to emerge revealing mainly still life subjects. Although the artist’s work is not limited to the still life genre, she learned that still life subjects translate well into a small painting format. They challenge her to dig deeper into the details, which is what draws her to simple subjects.
Her method is conventional working from hard to soft pastels in layers. Hills’ focus is on shapes, color and light, and the challenge of finding the right balance between them. The motion of light that plays on a still object intrigues the artist.
Ria’s work is part of a permanent collection at The Preservation Framer and Gallery in N. Attleboro, MA and The Silver Circle Gallery in Putnam, CT. Works held in private collections in the Continental US, South America, Canada, The Netherlands, Germany and Saudi Arabia.
Ria was born in The Netherlands, raised in New York, and presently paints in her home studio in Uxbridge, MA.
2014 Hopedale, MA Cultural Council “Day in the Park” Competition / First Place in category
2014 Finalist, The Artist’s Magazine All Media Competition
2014 Finalist, The Artist’s Magazine, Over 60 Competition
2013 UArt Pastel Inaugural Competition, 3rd place
2010 first place in category / Hopedale, MA annual Day in the Park exhibit.
2009 Finalist in The Artist’s Magazine annual competition – Dec. issue
2009 First Place in graphics award / Hopedale, MA Cultural Council “Day in the Park”
2009 Blackstone Valley Art Association Member Show / Second Place and Honorable Mention awards
2008 Blackstone Valley Art Association Spring Show / First Place and Honorable Mention awards
2008 Connecticut Pastel Society’s member show / Jack Richeson Award
2005 Blackstone Valley Art Association Member Show / Third Place
2004 Purchase prize award and First Place pastel / Hopedale, MA “Day in the Park”
2004 Franklin, MA Art Association’s 2004 Exhibit, Honorable Mention
2004 Finalist in the ARTROM.com / No Limit juried competition
2003 Uxbridge, MA – The 45th Annual Art Show of the Blackstone Valley Art Association / first and third place awards
2002 First Place in category / Blackstone Valley Art Association Member Show
1992 Hopedale, MA Fine Arts Festival / second place in mixed media
2015 Feature Article in the March issue of Worcester Living Magazine
2013 February Pastel Journal feature article “Food for Thought”
2012 Vain Magazine
2010 Artist-of-the-month for March in The Artist’s Magazine
2008 Colour, Obsession, Joy And Torment – The Daily Painters Art Gallery book
2009 December Pastel Journal
2009 April, American Art Collector Magazine
2007 July American Artist article / artist of the month
2008 December, American Art Collector Magazine – page 4
2006 November Artist of the Month, American Artist Magazine
Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life, Author: Derk Pereboom – cover art (publish date 2014)
Little Dreams, Author: Nancy Moore – book cover art
Solo and Shared Exhibitions include:
2015 July – Solo Installation at the Attleboro Arts Museum, Attleboro MA
2014 September – Zullo Gallery in Medfield, MA /20th Annual Juried Exhibition
2014 June – Solo show at the Preservation Framer and Gallery, N. Attleboro, MA
2014 March – “Women in The Arts”, The Preservation Framer Gallery, N. Attleboro, MA
2014 January – Solo show at the Aldrich Heritage Art Gallery, Northbridge, MA
2013 October – 3 person show, Whitney Center for the Arts, Pittsfield, MA
2012 November – “Art for the Apocalypse”, The Preservation Framer Gallery, N. Attleboro, MA
2011 December – An Artists Perspective, The Preservation Framer Gallery, N. Attleboro, MA
2010 March – Women in the Arts Group Show, The Preservation Framer Gallery Attleboro, MA
2007 Connecticut Pastel Society’s member show
2005 4 person show, Zullo Gallery Exhibit #75, Medfield, MA
2005 Connecticut Pastel Society’s Renaissance in Pastels juried exhibition – Norwich, CT
2005 6th International Juried Exhibition, River Tree Center for the Arts, Kennebunk, Maine
2002 Millworks Gallery, Uxbridge, MA “Where We are Now” – Artistic Reflections of 2001 Post|September 11th– video compilation/presentation, Uxbridge, MA Artists and Artisans Show
The Preservation Framer and Gallery, North Attleboro, MA
Silver Circle Gallery, Putnam, CT
Upstairs Gallery at SandCastle Winery, Erwinna, PA
Connecticut Pastel Society
Daily Painters – dailypainters.com
Daily Paint Works – dailypaintworks.com
~Private collections worldwide