“The most challenging thing about painting is knowing when to stop,” says Rosie Riviera-Lopez, in an interview with NFOTA’s Cynthia Reyes. Rosie, an artist and educator, moved to Port Hope in 2020.
Why Port Hope?
My husband Francois and I are empty-nesters from Durham and we were looking for a quaint small town to retire to. We have relatives in Port Hope, so we had already been here and liked the area.
How are you liking the Northumberland area so far?
I love Northumberland’s country and enjoy the miles and miles of open air. During COVID, we were able to drive in the countryside and take in nature: hiking Monkey Mountain and driving to Millbrook. I went strawberry picking and made homemade jam for the first time.
We enjoy walks, hikes along the lake and down by the Ganaraska River. We also enjoy the architecture of the many historical homes. The neighbourhoods are quiet and friendly.
When did you start painting?
I always loved art and painting but I had not painted for decades. However, after my father died 9 years ago of a stroke and then 4 years later my mother died of Alzheimer’s, painting became a process of healing.
Three years later, my older brother died suddenly of a heart attack. Painting my loved ones allowed me to work through my grief. Painting is definitely a form of therapy for me. It inspires me to keep going during these times and it allows me to be still and appreciate the simple things in life.
Who (or what) has most influenced your work?
I met a beautiful self-taught artist, Muriel Mason of St. Thomas Parish in Brooklin, Ontario. Among other things, she painted miniatures and beautiful watercolour paintings. I asked to study with her and she said, “I need to see if you have any talent first!”
Lucky for me, she took me on along with another local artist in Whitby, Catherine Mills, who also paints beautiful oil paintings.
My husband Francois and sons Jarett and Terence are also very encouraging. My family were delighted to see my painting of Eddie, my oldest brother who recently passed away.
What subjects in particular do you like to paint?
I love painting the ocean, bodies of water and landscapes, which are also beautiful. Painting people is more challenging.
What do you find most challenging?
The most challenging thing about painting is knowing when to stop. I tend to go back again and again to add more colour or take some away. My most difficult medium to use is watercolour, which is not forgiving of errors. I look forward to painting more when I retire and learning more techniques.
How do you think moving to Northumberland County will help your art, develop/influence it?
Moving to Northumberland County gives me more landscapes and paintings by the water to discover.