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Rita Kirkman PSA - our guest judge for the April Get Dusty

Our favourite animal artist, Rita Kirkman, has agreed to be our judge again.

Rita Kirkman was born an artist. She has been using pastel since she was 11 years old and had her first paid portrait commission at 17. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1988. Meanwhile, in 1986 she began a 12 year career sketching quick portraits at amusement parks, and in 1988 she began a business drawing detailed pencil portraits from client photos. (Samples and information about these portraits can be found at

Since 2003, Kirkman has improved her own style and technique with pastel through independent study and workshops with renowned artists each year. This effort has been consistently rewarded with major awards in national and international competitions. Her work has been featured in the Pastel Journal and the Pratique des Arts Spécial Pastel, and published in many others. She is a Pastel Society of America Master Pastelist and an Eminent Pastelist with the International Association of Pastel Societies. Her portraits and paintings are in private collections all over the world, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, Japan, Africa and Australia.

In 2011, Kirkman took a workshop with internationally known daily painter Carol Marine, which had an incredible impact on her career. Painting small and posting frequently improved Kirkman's work and expanded her name and artwork recognition thoughout the pastel world. She has since become a popular workshop instructor. At the heart of her teaching is recognizing value and temperature over color, simplifying and strengthening composition, and of course the benefits of painting small.

Kirkman's latest venture, in 2020, has been to create a Patreon Page, where she shares behind-the-scenes video clips and exclusive content from the studio, along with demo videos and Paint-Alongs from her Virtual Open Studio Days and various other art tips from her 40+ years as an artist.

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