artist Chris Rapa with her work
artist Chris Rapa with her work

How did you get started and then develop your career?
Chris Rapa: My parents set me loose on a basement wall with brushes and cans of house paint when I was 4 years old, and I have been painting ever since. My career as a working artist began about 25 years ago, when a mural I painted as a favor for a friend won an award at the DC Home and Garden Show. Suddenly, unexpectedly, I had a business, and began painting murals and decorative finishes in the Baltimore area. I have transitioned over the years, and now devote my energy almost entirely to my studio work and plein air practice.

How do you find inspiration?
Chris Rapa: For me it is simple; I paint what I love. I paint still life arrangements of collected treasures, interior spaces illuminated by natural light, and the landscape, wherever I find myself. I work mainly from observation, and over the years, my work has evolved from careful rendering to looser, more interpretive depictions. I work quickly, “alla prima” in one painting session to capture a moment of light. For me, a successful painting is colorful, energetic, and a celebration of simplicity.

To see more of Chris’ work, visit:

oil painting of barn with small house next to it; surrounded by trees
“Built to Last”, Chris Rapa, oil on linen, 20 x 24 in; Harford County, MD, Plein Air, 2023
oil painting of still life of flowers in a pot, on a table
“Hydrangeas” Chris Rapa, oil on linen, 9 x 12 in; Flowers cut from my own garden, 2022


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