About

rvarana1I was born in Lima, Peru. I began my studio art training as a child at a private art academy in Miraflores (Lima) and continued painting from then on. At Vassar College, I studied world art history with Professors Linda Nochlin, Christine Havelock, and Leila Barber. At Princeton University, I began systematic study of Near Eastern cultures (especially Persian and Arabic). In 1998, I enrolled in the Corcoran School of Art (Washington, D. C.) to participate in professional sessions of constructive critique with painter Pat Mercer Hutchens. In 1998-1999, I began my three-year path of formal training in Chinese brush painting with master watercolorist Helen Sze. Today, art is my full-time occupation. I live and paint in Potomac, Maryland; Madison County, Virginia; Sun Valley, Idaho; and Lima, Peru. I am a fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, U.K.

Artist’s Statement

• Many of my latest paintings celebrate pivotal events within diverse cultural histories and mythologies—events that I believe are still relevant to all of us. For those works, I pull creatively from associated (historical) styles of representation, including, most recently, Inuit, Hindu, Mughal and Sufi imagery. In a separate series of paintings, I am putting an iconic spin on the representation of some of my favorite flora and fauna. Yet another series revels in topographical landforms that I love. For those paintings, I generally merge visual impressions captured en plein air with methods of denotation that are more emblematic than photorealistic.

• I strive to express my zest for living on this splendidly endowed planet by condensing my observations into iconic arrangements. I hope in this way to share my passion for vibrant pictorial depictions of Earth and her passengers—current as well as bygone.

• I work in oils, watercolors, acrylics, pastels, silk dyes and fired porcelain. I feel equally at home working on paper, canvas, silk, and china.

• Because I enjoy collaborating with patrons, I have also done commissioned pieces, primarily portraits in oils but also embellished furniture and wearable silk items, and I welcome the challenge—and fun—of painting what a wide diversity of patrons order.

Selected Exhibits, Prizes, and Representation

• Juried Group Exhibit, Moscoso Gallery, Washington, DC. November 1995.

• Solo Art Exhibit, Toast and Strawberries, Washington, DC. March 1996.

• Scaled to Art, Juried Group Exhibit, Strathmore Hall Arts Center, Rockville, MD. June-August 1996.

• Juried Group Exhibit, Chevy Chase Center, Montgomery County Art Association (MCAA). June 1996.

• Drawing for Art, Juried Group Exhibit, Strathmore Hall Arts Center, Rockville, MD. Sept.-Oct. 1996.

• Juried Group Exhibit, Black Rock Arts Center, Gaithersburg, MD.

• Paint the City, Juried Group Exhibit, Municipal Center, Kensington, MD. (Third Place, Oils)

• Journeys in Art, MCAA Juried Members Exhibition, WSSC Bldg., Laurel, MD. July 1997. (Best in Show)

• Juried MCAA Group Exhibit, C & O Canal, Potomac, MD. Oct. 1996 & 1997. (Two 3rd prizes)

• Solo Pavilion, Rockville Music and Arts Festival, Rockville City Center. September 2004.

• Represented by the Moscoso Gallery, Washington, DC. 1995-1996.

• Alla Rogers Art Gallery, Georgetown, Washington, DC. 1995-1997.

• The Page Klune Art Gallery, Ketchum, Idaho. 1998-2002.

Works in Private Collections

• Six Stories, traditional dye technique on 11” x 60” silk, a painting commissioned by the Howard University Department of English for presentation to Nobel Prize winning novelist Toni Morrison, on the occasion of the Heart’s Day Gala in Dr. Morrison’s honor, March 1995, Collection of Toni Morrison, Princeton, NJ.

• Images from Blacks, traditional dye technique on 36” x 36” silk, painting commissioned by the Howard University Department of English for presentation to writer Gwendolyn Brooks on the occasion of Heart’s Day Gala in her honor, February 1997, Collection of the estate of Gwendolyn Brooks.

• Achebe’s World I and Achebe’s World II, traditional dye on 36” x 36” silk, two paintings commissioned by the Howard University Department of English for presentation to novelist Chinua Achebe, on the occasion of the Heart’s Day Gala in his honor, February 1998, Collection of the estate of Chinua Achebe.

• Brownstones for Paule Marshall, traditional dye on 36” x 36” silk, painting commissioned by the Howard University Department of English for presentation to Ms. Marshall on the occasion of the Heart’s Day Gala in her honor, February 1999, Collection of Paule Marshall.

• Baldwin in Chartres Cathedral, in oils on canvas 40” x 40”, portrait of writer James Baldwin, commissioned by the Howard University Department of English for presentation to the family of the late James Baldwin on the occasion of the Heart’s Day Gala in his honor, February 2000, Collection of the James Baldwin family.

• Inuit Dream Hunt, 24” x 30” mixed media, watercolor and acrylics on Arches rag paper, 2002, Collection of the City of Rockville, MD.

• Olmstead’s Island in an Italian Light, 40” x 40” oil painting on canvas, 2002, Collection of Robert Shusterman, Washington, D.C.

• Olmstead’s Island Chiaroscuro, 40” x 40” oil painting on canvas, 2002, Collection of Maestro Ichiro Masatoshi Mitsumoto and Lorene S. Sarne, Rockville, MD.

• Spring Scholar and Winter Wood Gatherer, a set of two 11” x 36” Chinese brush paintings, watercolor on rough rice papers, 2003, Collection of Carolyn T. Brown and Timothy Eastman, Silver Spring, MD.