Today we’d like to introduce you to Megan Rieker.
Megan, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Art is the way I express myself – my fears, questions, faith and loves. A gorgeous colorful sky can tell an emotion just as well as words!
I started drawing and painting young and was blessed to be accepted into Suitland Visual and Performing Arts High School and then on to Maryland Institute, College of Art, finishing with a bachelors in General Fine Arts and a Master’s Degree in Teaching Art. I am a firm believer that EVERYONE can make art – they just need to be taught the basics in order to ‘find their voice.’
My own work ranges from Plein Air landscapes to portraits and religious works. The “Women of Inspiration” series is a special project I’ve been working on for over 18 years. It includes women who have overcome obstacles and trials from scriptures and history as well as the positive ideals we strive for. Their examples are not only inspiring to me, but also to the women’s groups that ask me to speak and share the messages from the paintings. It’s been so neat to travel the world and talk with women who have a desire to be positive and uplifted!
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
Although I paint both Landscapes and portraits, my passion is the “Women of Inspiration” series which started in 2000. I had just contracted Bell’s Palsy on the right side of my face, and after my recovery, I felt inspired to start painting women from the scriptures who have also overcome trials. I found that there were many hidden messages in the stories I’d taken for granted growing up. And I wanted to share those stories in the hopes that others would also be uplifted and inspired by these great women. My faith is a very personal thing, and fear of rejection makes it very hard for me to share, but through these paintings, others can feel and interpret the message as well. For instance, the story of Esther may not seem to apply to us in modern times, but that wonderful saying, “You were born for such a time as this” is true for all of us. Perhaps you have something special to accomplish that will better someone’s life! We are all capable of making the world a better place through talent or action.
People from all over the world have told me how the messages and inspiration have affected their lives. It is a humbling experience to be a vessel to help other’s feel their Heavenly Father’s love for them. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been so very kind and supportive of me as well. The paintings have been displayed in museums, book covers, videos, and I usually bring a couple with me when I speak at events.
If I had to pick a favorite – gosh, that’s like saying, “Pick your favorite kid!” – I think it would be, “Lead Thou Me On.” It was inspired by a need to show what my path in life has been like, through painful surgeries, special needs children and other trials. I wanted to show the uphill climb, the torn clothing, and the dangerous pitfalls, but also the hopeful light coming over the ridge signifying the nearness to the finish. The rod that she holds onto symbolizes all the good influences in our life – the scriptures, teachings, etc. The mist of darkness are all the temptations that blind and then bind us, like addictive substances. And the girl in the foreground, who is so close to finishing her journey, takes the time to guide another to the safety of the path and the rod of iron. There is so much symbol packed into this painting; it would take a couple of hours to sort through it. But that’s the joy of art – you get out of it what you put into it. If you look deeper, you’ll feel deeper!
Do current events, local or global, affect your work and what you are focused on?
Everything effects art! Because it is a reflection of our current emotion and thought, there is a direct correlation in today’s events. As different factions battle for our support and tell us what we should believe and do, this is bound to come out in our art.
My most recent painting was inspired by a post on social media, in fact. It was about a very heated topic that I was tempted to debate. But after calming down and thinking things through (mostly through the help of my husband, I admit), I realized how I was being judgmental. And instantly, an image came to my mind of a woman with her back to the viewer holding a set of scales. It was as if she had just noticed that she had been judging behind her back all this time, and in realizing it, she was in the act of dropping them. Yup, that was me. It’s titled, “Who Am I to Judge Another?” It has been a great reminder for me that my job isn’t to judge but to love unconditionally.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
To see works in progress and learn about speaking events or classes:
Megan Rieker Art on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MeganRiekerArt/?ref=bookmarks
To see finished works, videos and order prints or original art: www.meganrieker.com
Videos only: Megan Rieker Art on Youtube
- Website: www.meganrieker.com
- Instagram: megrieker
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MeganRiekerArt/?ref=bookmarks
- Other: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyuH7rzItTI_QWUUJq7UR8g?view_as=subscriber