Lily pads, wooded trails, and, most important, trees are all at Ria Krishnan‘s favorite place to paint, just 10 miles from her home. 

The scene depicted in “Park Fence”

Her spot is Rood Bridge Park, located in Hillsboro, Oregon. The 60-acre municipal park is a popular spot for walkers, but Krishnan says she never feels crowded. “You can find a quiet spot for yourself even if there are people,” she says. “It’s a huge park, and there are a lot of trails. People take their dogs for morning walks. I can always find a spot deep inside the park and have it to myself.”

“Lily Pads,” by Ria Krishnan, oil

“Lily Pads” in progress

Rood Bridge Park’s paths allow Krishnan to drag her rolling suitcase wherever inspiration lies, and that means all over the 15-year-old park. “The diversity of it attracts me,” says Krishnan. “It has a small pond with lily pads, way too many trees — I cannot think of painting them all. I can paint along the wooded trails, with the water giving me some variety.” Trees always pull her in, and she particularly favors white-barked species, such as aspen and birch. “I love to make paintings of trees, almost like portraits. They are distinct characters.”

“Winter Stance,” by Ria Krishnan, oil, 10 x 8 in.

“Winter Stance” in progress

The studio painting “A Quiet Spot” with the smaller plein air study that inspired it

If she can find a charismatic tree near water, even better. “I like sharp light on water,” says Krishnan. “I can explore what’s on top of the water, what’s reflected, and what’s visible underneath.” Spontaneity counts for something with the Oregon artist. “I make a painting because I like to capture the light in the scene,” she says. “It’s the moment in time that I like to capture. Because I live so close to this park, I don’t have to plan a few days before. I can just get in the car and get there fast. The weather here can be unpredictable in this area, but I can get there fast if the weather is good.”


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