Nevada County People: Dreaming art and mellow jazz scenes |

Nevada County People: Dreaming art and mellow jazz scenes

Grace Kelly Rivera’s paintings have a dreamy quality to them. Her large canvases are swathed in midnight blues, crimson reds and dark greens against the figures of humans who appear with a misty translucence.

Rivera, 52, is influenced by dreams, poems of Rumi, nature and artists such as Picasso, Romare Bearden and Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo, she said.

“The art world today values shock more than aesthetics,” said Rivera. “But I’m more old school, and high aesthetics is an important aspect of my art.”

Rivera, a Nevada County resident for 25 years, has been a full-time painter for nearly three decades, she said. Her paintings have been displayed in galleries in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Sacramento, she added.

Four of Rivera’s artworks will be on display at the Copper Top Lounge in Grass Valley at a group art show starting June 27, she said. The paintings will focus on jazz music – a theme often explored by Rivera.

“I showed signs of artistic abilities at a very young age, but I started painting seriously during my high school years,” Rivera said.

Rivera wanted to learn oil painting just so she could do a portrait of her Hollywood heartthrob Al Pacino, she said.

“My art teacher from my junior year said I could take her class again and took me aside and taught me oil painting,” she added.

Over the years, Rivera has taken art classes at the National Academy of Art and the Arts Students League in New York, she said. She’s also been mentored by local artist and author E. J. Gold, she added.

Today, Rivera works an average of 45 hours a week at her studio, she said.

“For me, my art is like a mission,” Rivera said. “It’s something I have to do. I don’t know what it is that compels me. But it’s like my way of breathing.”

Rivera was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and was raised in Hyattsville, Md. She now lives with her husband, Oz Fritz, 49, in Grass Valley.

To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail or call 477-4229.

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