Benita Rauda Gowen's Photograph

Benita Rauda Gowen

Over the Hill Studio & Gallery

P.O. Box 480

Flint Hill, Virginia



I am a watercolorist whose greatest inspiration comes from nature. My past has shaped my life as an artist. Born in Latvia, I fled with my family to wartime Germany and then in the late 1940s came to the U.S. as a refugee. These experiences fueled a sense of loss of cultural identity, fears of war and its atrocities, and a sense of disconnectedness that I am still exploring in my work. They resurfaced in my paintings after 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq. I used strong shapes and bold reds that helped to express my sense of rage and anger. People bought these paintings. I like to think that the feelings expressed there somehow resonated with their own.

Increasingly I'm interested in the process of painting itself. I like to do series of paintings that let me experiment with changes of light and color and how they affect the atmosphere of each work. Mostly I paint landscapes and flowers. I'm elated by the beauty of this countryside which never fails to move me. I never tire of painting it, particularly The Peak, which I see from every room of my home. It's my Mt. Ste. Victoire. Most floral paintings are done in winter. I need the attraction of vibrant summer colors that resonate within me and call out to be expressed.

I studied design and architecture at the University of Washington in Seattle. During years of marriage and child rearing I worked as an architectural space planner, in ceramics, commercial art, taught sewing and fashion design, designed furniture and supervised its construction for homes in the Philippines, Ethiopia, and Algeria.

My work has been shown at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. as well as other galleries in Maryland and Virginia. This year, for the third time, I will be featured in the "Artist of Rappahannock Studio & Gallery Tour" scheduled for the first weekend in November 2007, sponsored by the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community.

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