For an artist growing up in Florida and living several decades in LA, painting oceans should be a must.
“How many times can you paint an ocean?” Murrieta painter Roxy Rich asked.
As usual, she was thinking unconventionally.
Rich paints the arid Temecula and Murrieta areas instead — and can’t get enough.
There are the vineyards, the hills, the winds, the dry vegetation, the dust – on and on goes what inspires her about our landscapes.
Two of her local paintings, “Murrieta Mountain Trails” and “Sunset at the Villa,” are being featured in an exhibit in Milan, Italy.
Italian curator Francesca Catarinicchia said: “Roxy Rich manages to put the viewers inside the paintings, she manages to create a continuum between painting and reality so that the first seems to be a window that allows us to admire wonderful landscapes. Who wouldn’t want to wake up with these breathtaking views?”
Rich has been showing her works locally for a decade and has a solo exhibit from Monday, May 16, to July 8 at the Temecula Civic Center. It’s called “Living Landscapes Cosmopolitan Perspectives Garnered by a Provincial Mind.”
An ironic title, given that provincial she’s not. Rich has traveled extensively and her work life spans art, comedy, writing, balloons, lots of retail, waitressing, stylist, window washer, blackjack dealer and so much more. She figures she’s had about 90 jobs in her 52 years.
“I have to go,” Rich said while messaging about this column.“I’m driving today for a limo company. I can’t be late. STILL always hustling.”
She takes chances, too. She came to LA at 22 with not much more than a hundred-dollar bill, determined to make it in entertainment. Ever since she’d been in every school play that she could as a kid, Rich knew she wanted to try professionally.
“Comedy just took off and I stayed with it,” Rich said of the show biz she sampled. “I loved it.”
Given that she’s appeared in comedy shows in Las Vegas and at the famous Comedy Store in Los Angeles, she made it. She’s also appeared at many comedy venues in Riverside County.
“In comedy it took nearly 15 years to get really funny,” Rich said. “I always got laughs, but it took years of being on stage every night, often two or three places, to create a show that would get laughs every time no matter who was in the audience.”
She brought the same zeal to her art career, which she launched in the 1990s while working for a painter in LA. Basically self-taught, she was soon selling works in Orange County.
Realizing she had talent, Rich took classes so she could learn the fundamentals.
“An artist has to know the basic rules so later he can break them,” she said, borrowing a Picasso line.
That philosophy is consistent with the rest of her life.
Looking to switch things up, she started coming to the Temecula area to display paintings at wineries about a decade ago. Three years ago, after 28 years of apartment living in LA, she moved to Murrieta.
Like many, she came for the wide-open spaces and the peace and quiet. What’s different is that our surroundings inspire her art work.
“My favorite things to paint are the mountains with their winding roads and rolling hills with vineyards and the flowers and birds,” she said.
Then there’s her writing. In 2012, she self published a book, “Roxy Does Retail,” in which she detailed do’s and don’ts of how to be a successful retailer. The book’s back cover states: “Strap on your seat belt for this wild ride through clients, catastrophes and The Customer Code.”
The book sounds adventurous, just like the rest of her life.
Reach Carl Love at firstname.lastname@example.org