Rita McArthur: Artist began new career in retirement
Steveston painter Rita McArthur draws inspiration for her art from her travels around the world, but most ideas spring to her much closer to home—in Richmond’s own fishing village.
Retirement in 2001 gave McArthur time to study painting and drawing, and she found her niche in bringing life to scenes from Steveston on canvas.
Her paintings concentrate on the colours and light of a subject, and she always strives to get sunshine down on paper—with the exceptions of the rainy Highlands of Scotland and mists of Finn Slough.
A member of the Richmond Artists’ Guild and Riverside Art Circle, McArthur has exhibited her work at numerous local shows, and has given the public a peek inside her studio during the City of Richmond’s annual Doors Open event.
McArthur was born in Glasgow, Scotland. Her first move was to Geneva, Switzerland, where she lived for five years. It was then on to London before settling in Richmond 41 years ago.
She’s seen Steveston change dramatically in her three decades there.
“One thing that hasn’t changed is that everyone knows everyone else, and any time you go for a walk it takes twice as long, because there’s always someone to stop and talk to.”
Her interest in art stems from childhood. As a young girl, her mother would often take her to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow. The Impressionist paintings were her favourite.
“From the age of about 12 I wanted to be an artist but life took over and I didn’t start until I retired from my job at the Richmond Hospital. I took my first lessons with Mark Glavina at the Phoenix Art Gallery, in Steveston of course.”
Still to do for McArthur is more travelling. She travelled extensively in her younger years, and would like to revisit some of those places that have changed so much— Dubai, South America, Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
“Nairobi had dirt streets and only two buildings which were more than three storeys. When I see it on the news now it looks like a bustling metropolis—hard for me to imagine. Many places, such as Iran and Afghanistan, I would not be able to visit these days, but I’m sure they would be unrecognizable to me now.”