To better understand any community, meet its local artists who display the area’s natural beauty and color. Each month, DESTINATION TAMPA BAY introduces readers to these talented and creative representatives in its monthly artist spotlight. This month, meet a Clearwater artist who is capturing the mood and spirit of Florida through her palette. The spotlight shines on Heather Rippert.
In 2007, while capturing the Jersey shore through lush coastal landscape works, she re-discovered her joy of watercolors and made the decision to move to Florida a few years later to pursue her passion. “In my earlier years, I was greatly influenced and inspired by Turner, N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, Bernini, Mary Cassatt, and Jessie Wilcox Smith,” Rippert says.
“Most of the artists we learned about were men. It always inspired me when I came across women who broke into the largely male-dominated field.
These days, I find myself influenced by dynamic, authentic, and powerful women in many fields beyond visual art. Female activists, actresses, musicians, and authors are making great waves. They feed my spirit.” (Right- Watercolor Morning Flight by Heather Rippert)
The Florida landscape has served as an inspiring canvas to capture the beauty of the natural world through Rippert’s mastery and sensitivity with watercolors to create mood, light, and texture in her art. Now working out of a Clearwater studio, she continues to create relevant imagery and receive recognition from art groups across the country including selection for exhibition at art expo NYC and Las Vegas and most recently, as part of the 2022 Emerging Artist Exhibition. LEFT:The Gallery at Creative Pinellas in Largo.
This sixth annual exhibition, which runs April 14 through June 26, 2022, at The Gallery at Creative Pinallas in Largo, spotlights original work by a group of artists awarded grants by Creative Pinellas, including Rippert, as well as Dorian Angello, Adam and Kayte Bush, Jon Ditty, Alex Kaufman, Teresa Mandala, Rachel Ratcliff, Ashley Rivers, Ketsy Ruiz, and Margherita Tibaldo. (RIGHT:Pastel – Underwater Magic)
In May, several of the selected artists including Rippert launched a special Creative Pinellas exhibition free to the public “The Things They Left Behind: Grief, Discovery, and Remembrance” is a community-curated exhibition to memorialize people who have died in the past two years — both from COVID-19 and other causes. It features crafts, writings, photographs, a video and other memorabilia .This exhibition runs May 12 through June 26, 2022. (Left: Rippert at Creative Pinellas Gallery)
Creative Pinellas CEO Barbara St. Clair said that while not every object in the exhibition is an artwork, the presentation and experience of it as a whole makes it a work of art.
One of Rippert’s six featured works in the exhibition, ‘A Friendship Steeped in Forever,’ from her series Ode to Us: Me. Dad. Kellie. was inspired by the loss of her father Hank Rippert and best friend Kellie Ricks in the same year 2020. As she writes about the series on her Instagram, “I created these paintings to try and process my love, loss, and growth. They are works of my heart and a mere glimpse into our lives and love.” For more information about both Creative Pinellas exhibitions, visit the gallery’s website at creativepinellas.org.
Rippert’s work was previously highlighted in 2019 as part of a solo exhibition ‘Transitions’ at TECO Public Art Gallery. She is a member of the Florida Watercolor Society and The American Watercolor Society. Her work is also part of private collections and available for individual purchase.
WATERCOLOR WORKS by RIPPERT
Watercolor work El Tejido de la Vida (The Fabric of Life), depicts indigenous women of Peru
Rippert says the motivation to paint is often inspired by the events going on in her life, such as with her deeply personal work in the Emerging Artist Exhibition which reflects her sorrow and loss through the series of paintings inspired by the love and adventures shared with her father and best friend who passed away four months apart. “My six paintings are love letters to them, and to myself,” she says. “Additionally, one of the things that is always in the background of my work is the realm of spirit. Whether I am painting a portrait, a landscape, or architectural work, I am deeply interested in capturing the energy of the ethereal world.”
Fabulous Flamingos (Watercolor) by Heather Rippert
When Rippert paints, she is focused on storytelling through the paintbrush but she is well aware that the final work can have an emotional impact on others. “I hope that people are moved and touched by my work in a way that provides a personal resonance for them. It is always my desire for the viewer to feel deeply when they look at my work,” she says.
This year has been a busy one for the Clearwater artist, with the Emerging Artist grant announcement playing a major role as she blogged recently. “In the first place, the grant period has been a profound adventure. Secondly, it has opened my creative spirit. Lastly, as I reflect on all of it, the timing of everything and the synchronicities that have occurred are profound,” she wrote. “For me, the grant has given me permission to become the artist I have always wanted to be.”
Rippert’s latest work is a new self-portrait in acrylic. She notes that she has other ideas still to be developed including two architectural watercolors. “Both are inspired by a trip to Italy many years ago,” Rippert says. “There are countless things to bring to life with brush and paint in my mind’s eye. Stay tuned to see what emerges!”
To learn more about Heather Rippert and her work, visit her website by clicking here. Readers can also follow the artist at her studio’s social media pages including Facebook and Instagram.
Story written by Chris Kuhn exclusively for Destination Tampa Bay™. All photos courtesy of the artist. All rght reserved. Perfect Path (Watercolor) by Heather Rippert (Featured image above article).
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