Local artist finds freedom, love in process of next painting

AMHERST, Mass. – Pause, listen to the environment, and then create.

It’s the philosophy behind the creative process of abstract, expressionist painter Lorna Ritz.

“I never know what I’m going to paint when I face a canvas. I’m lost.  I like being lost,” Ritz said. “I love the search. The search is what gives the work its power.”

Ritz started painting as a child. She has since taught others the craft at local universities and overseas.

For some artists, creating something original can be a real challenge and patience is key.

Fortunately, Ritz has plenty of it. She said she’ll sit or stand in one spot for hours and wait for the energy in the room to provide her with the tools necessary to complete her next masterpiece.

“The idea should come from elsewhere instead of my projecting onto it, because then it would be something that I did from my past,” Ritz said. “And I want it to be new, because every painting grows out of the one before it.”

Nature is what guides Ritz and her art. She said mindfulness and meditation are a huge part of her routine in her being able to listen to the environment to teach her how to put the colors onto the canvas.

“It’s always how the light from the sky falls on the land, it gives me the colors, they create the space and the volume on a flat surface of canvas,” Ritz said. “Colors vibrate when they touch each.”

And while art has many definitions for its many creators, for Ritz, it’s both a guide and a place of joy.

“Freedom and love. If I don’t love something passionately, I have nothing to paint,” Ritz said. “When I’m painting, I am free.”

For more on Ritz and her artwork, click here.