Jo Ann Ritter: Color Captures It

By: Pamela Quirinale

Topics: Arts

Ritter enjoys painting scenes from the Outer Cape, like this Provincetown streetscape.

CHATHAM As a little girl, Jo Ann Ritter was fascinated by color. She "colored continuously." And later in life, as an artist, this is evident in her work. Beautiful colors in harmony with each other, combined with a subtle use of shading, create a calm, peaceful mood in her oil paintings. Ritter is a plein air painter, one who paints outside and captures the scene fresh from life.

Ritter initially studied Art at both Penn State and Syracuse University, and then at the Museum School in Boston. Although her initial exploration of painting was with watercolors, at the age of 40, she took a seminar on Monhegan Art with Don Stone, a well known member of the National Academy, and was influenced to switch to oil paints. She continued her studies with Stone for 25 years, during which she explored the techniques of brushstrokes and color. Her work might remind one of impressionism.

Throughout the years, alongside marriage and children, Ritter traveled, studied and painted throughout Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico and various parts of the United States. Her teachers included well known artists such as Skip Whitcomb, Kim English and Joe McGurl. Her work has been featured in numerous articles in Cape magazines, as well as in the "American Art Collector" magazine. She received the Isabella Steinschneider National Award from the Hudson Valley Art Association, and has also twice been the chosen to be the artist for Cape Cod's "Pops in the Park."

In 2014, she experienced a lull in her career when, having been a competitive tennis player, she suffered a back injury. Nowadays, she might make the sketch outside, then finish the idea and the painting inside her Brewster studio. Favorite locations to paint are on the Outer Cape in Truro and Provincetown. She is an original member of the "Truro 21" Artists' group, and is also affiliated with the Copley Society in Boston, the Oil Painters of America, and the Chatham Creative Arts Center.

All of Ritter's paintings, whether of homes and buildings, of bathers on the beach, or of mothers and children strolling hand-in-hand, display a wonderful use of color and a soft edging, and have a lovely feeling to them. It is easy to see why people love her work, and enjoy hanging her paintings in their homes. Her paintings seem to reflect her personality, as well.

Ritter's work can be seen locally at Gallery Antonia in Chatham (in the Cornfield complex,, where she will be featured in an upcoming show, which opens on Aug. 11 and runs through Labor Day. For more information, visit