Carlsbad artist Rita Pacheco excels in painting en plein air. Photo courtesy of Jana Buzbee Photography
A Brush with Art

Artist’s favorite studio: the Great Outdoors

Carlsbad artist Rita Pacheco knows the pure joy of experiencing nature while responding to it from direct observation. 

With studios in her home and at the Studio 7 Gallery in Laguna Beach, Calif. her favorite studio is unquestionably the Great Outdoors.

Currently a member of the California Art Club and Director of Programs of the Carlsbad Oceanside Art League, Pacheco grew up in Long Beach, Calif. in a family of 10 children, all of whom were encouraged to explore the arts creatively. Her older sisters were her first artistic mentors.

Pacheco feels that her purpose was made clear at an early age, as her artistic abilities often surpassed those of her teachers. An award received at high school graduation encouraged the pursuit of formal training at Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design. She later worked for 15 years in the interior design field as an architectural renderer and draftsman.

The skills developed while producing architectural renderings have been invaluable in her career as a plein air painter. She explains, “I’m not spending all my time trying to figure out the perspective of the scene in front of me.” She continues, “I’m not saying I’m never perplexed; just that it’s easier for me than most because of all the tables and chairs I’ve drawn. This is something that cannot be faked.”

Pacheco painted murals for businesses and homes while her children were small, and took workshops and classes to further develop her artistic ability. Having studied through the Watts Atelier in Encinitas and many weekend workshops with prominent artists, she says, “I believe that any of my success as an oil painter is a result of early and continual daily practice with drawing.”

Relocating to Carlsbad with her husband in 2008, Pacheco states, “The nearby Pacific Ocean, with its waterways and lagoons, has provided me with much inspiration and subject matter for my paintings.”

She continues, “I’m passionate about painting because I feel complete when I’m doing it. Sometimes as I paint, I’m feeling a one-ness with nature and things seem to fall into place. Other times, when I’m not able to reach that level of concentration, I chalk it up to experience, scrape the board, and move on. It’s all a learning part of life.”

When painting “en plein air” Pacheco usually paints relatively small canvasses, making it possible to capture an accurate representation of a scene before the sunlight changes its orientation significantly. She says, “When I’m out in the field painting, I’m recording patterns of light, colors and values that I can relay to a larger studio piece later.” When asked by collectors to recreate one of her plein air paintings on a larger scale to satisfy their needs, she often uses her original plein air paintings as her guide.

As recipient of many awards during the past several years, Pacheco was selected from hundreds of entries to participate in a juried exhibition sponsored by the San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild. Titled, “En Plein Air: a Charles Reiffel Tribute 2013,” the international exhibition was juried by both Martin E. Petersen, author and former senior Curator of American Painting at the San Diego Museum of Art, and Jean Stern, renowned authority on California Impressionism and Executive Director of the Irvine Museum. Selection into this exhibition was indeed an honor.

Two of Pacheco’s plein air paintings, along with those of 33 other selected artists, will be on exhibit at L Street Fine Art in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter from Feb. 19 through April 6. The public is invited to meet the artists at an opening reception honoring the award recipients Feb. 24 from 6 to 9 p.m.

For more information about the exhibition go to

More about Rita Pacheco can be found at

Kay Colvin is an art consultant and director of the L Street Fine Art Gallery in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. She specializes in promoting emerging and mid-career artists and bringing enrichment programs to elementary schools through The Kid’s College. Contact her at



judy February 23, 2013 at 7:27 pm

I have know Rita for a few years, she is the most focused hard working creative artist I have ever met. She deserves this wonderful article, and the reconition of a wonderful person. Congradulations Rita!

Esther J. Williams February 25, 2013 at 11:01 am

Congratulations to Rita for being recognized! She is a kindred artist friend of mine and I couldn`t be more happy for her success. She has an eye that sees beauty in the normal and her painting skills are superb.

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