The UNLV Ballet Paintings

Rita explained in the guidebook how she tried to portray the stress of the ballet dancers before they go on stage:

Most of my ballet scenes were painted in Malibu as I watched two different age groups perform.

Young toddlers studied ballet at a private school called Ballet Studio By The Sea. I used to go there and watch them getting excited as they got into their costumes. The owner of the studio was a nice lady who allowed me to visit during rehearsals when chaos was at the utmost. It was a joy to watch the little marvels give it all they had in a show that sometimes lasted only a few minutes.

Older students were studying at Pepperdine University. Some were very sophisticated and projected promising careers. There also, I was allowed to go backstage to experience the energy that went into their performances. I tried to catch their happiness when their dances went well as well as disappointments when that did not happen.

When I had my gallery in Beverly Hills I met Edgardo Acosta. He was the most sophisticated art dealer who dealt exclusively in authentic Impressionistic paintings. He saw my work and advised me to paint forward and never look back. He only sold works of artists who were no longer with us so I was too young for his clients. When Mr. Acosta retired he had dozens of empty authentic French frames. His clients liked the paintings but insisted he replace the exquisite and ornate French frames with frames that matched their sofas. Which he did. So I bought them all. That is how I acquired the French frames you see in this exhibit.

The challenge was to fit American sized canvases into French sized frames. And I still do not have the answer. But the easy way out was to cut paper board the size of the French frames and then paint on it. So you will notice that most of my French frames are populated with pastels on board.