Virginia based artist Robyn Ryan is this week’s guest blogger for the Artist as Collector series.

Leah Rinehart
Riverbank Study
12″ x 12″
I met Leah at the Intensive Studies Seminar (ISS) workshop held annually in Taos, NM.  We
began the ISS “pilgrimage” the same year, 8 or 9 years ago and immediately became friends.  Leah was from Colorado and I’m from Virginia.  We only saw each other those two weeks each year, but picked up right where we left off each time.  I think it was our shared “odd” senses of humor and adventurous attitudes towards our artistic growth that drew us together.
Year before last, Leah took a leap at ISS in a different artistic direction, one which I admired for several days from across the room.  This little painting was the gem that resulted from her branching out of her comfort zone.  It was half completed when I worked the “deal” with her to purchase it, which  I’m so glad I did- several others approached her about buying it as well.  Leah wouldn’t let me take it with me. She took the painting home to varnish it and finish the edges, and then shipped it to me.  She never named it, but knowing her inspiration for it, I titled it “Riverbank Study”.  Not very glamorous, I know, but for me, it exemplifies her achievement of expressively capturing a sense of place with minimal description, and pays homage to a milestone in my friend Leah’s artistic journey.
Leah lost her battle with cancer last year.  I missed her intensely at ISS last spring, we all did and always will.  I feel privileged to have known her and to own this lovely gem of a painting.  I’ll always have a piece of Leah with me and I’m eternally grateful for that.  

Leah’s wit and joy leap out at me every time I look at it and it makes me smile, what a gift!
Robyn Ryan is a painter and sculptor who creates works which express relationships between living things and the emotions they emmanate.

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