"I create with a childlike abandonment, just as I approach life. What you do with life is meant to bring joy and happiness to yourself and others. I also believe in giving back to our planet and donate to the trees, so I have become known as "The Tree Lady" but my work encompasses much more."
The Ultimate Tree Hugger
"I am the Ultimate Tree Hugger. Really, I mean I hug trees! I plain and simply love trees for their beauty, elegance, strength and the good they do for humanity. And these wonderful trees give us everything — the oxygen we breathe, shelter from the heat, sun and rain, and a place to play when we were kids — without asking for anything from any of us except to let them be and not destroy them.
So I have become known as “The Tree Lady.” That name was given to me by an artist from Ormond Beach, who was introduced to me by a gallery owner. When he said my name she immediately said, “Oh, the Tree Lady!” very excitedly, as my reputation had already begun. So the name stuck, and people still say, “The Tree Lady” when they meet me.
I mainly paint trees, at least for the moment...but that moment has flickered in and out for over 30 years, just can’t stop it from being there. I paint endangered trees, memorializing them for eternity. I interpret photos of trees my friends and clients send me and paint them with their stories. People are always sending me or tagging me in photos they find that remind them of me especially when they understand the figures that are ever-present in my trees.
And, I give back to the trees. Not only am I personally involved in saving our historic and endangered trees, but I donate 10% of every sale to One Tree Planted.
Much of my art tells a narrative. My paintings are more than "pretty pictures." I do not consider myself a landscape artist, but my trees, in their own right, are landscapes.
I want you to see trees like I do. To love them, too, so my narratives are only part of the story and I want the rest to be finished by YOU!"
"Ronda Richley aka "The Tree Lady" is fascinated by the beauty and diversity of trees, a recurring motif in her work for over 30 years. Ronda's body of work includes a variety of styles — from realism and abstraction to surrealism; as well as a variety of media; acrylic or oil on canvas, glass, mosaic, ceramics, found material, installation, mixed media and more.
Often in her painterly works, the trees are anthropomorphized with lyrical figures coming alive through the trunks; their arms or legs stretched in a graceful, surreal dance. Ronda's works have a characteristic, rich texture and the beautifully juxtaposed colors excite the viewer's eye, guiding it around the complex surface of each piece. Her love for trees is evident in the way every trunk is painted, brushstroke by brushstroke each tree is uniquely rendered resembling more of a portrait rather than a landscape.
It is remarkable that after many years of looking at and painting trees, Ronda seems to approach each new tree portrait in a fresh, original way, truly capturing the vast variety of their species. I am particularly drawn to her forest paintings, which carry through a feeling of belonging, a feeling of community with the trees almost affectionately rising next to one another."
- Circle Foundation for the Arts Curator
This review was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist