Sacré Coeur, Paris Drawing


wp-1459124735189WEb Version

Since today is Easter I would like to share a drawing of an angel sculpture. I did this drawing while sitting in the Sacré Coeur Basilica, Paris France. This is one of four angels that live high up in the central dome, one for each direction.  I hope you enjoy and have a Happy Easter.

UC Davis, Arboretum

drawingoneasel5Web Version

“Live Oak and Soft Rush Grass”

Today, I happily share with you my finished 9 x 12 graphite drawing. This drawing, “Live Oak and Soft Rush Grass” focuses on the historical beauty of the California Landscape.


The Figure in the Landscape, UCD Arboretum

20160206_164854-211Web Version

Today I practiced sketching the figure in the landscape at the UC Davis Arboretum in Davis CA, in hopes of finding inspiration and a good composition.

The Arboretum was in spectacular form this warm February day. People, shrubs, trees, grasses, texture and color at an almost overwhelming rate! After a few warm-up sketches I began to see and understand what the sun’s rays had to show me. My hands were warmed up and my graphite pencil moved quickly over my page to capture the gesture of the forms in front of me.  You can still see the lines underneath my “sketch”. Unless I making a “drawing” I leave the gesture lines alone. I feel they add life and motion.

I’d like to thank my wonderful models that allowed me to study the relationship of the figure in the landscape. UCD students Josie & Lizzie, History and Environmental Science majors respectively, your awesome!

Protect Your Fruit Trees From Sunburn During The WINTER!

Turns out it is very important to protect your fruit trees from sunburn during the winter! One reason is the trees have no leaves or very few to protect it’s trunk from the sun. Secondly, California’s foothills are approximately 1,500 feet in elevation making it that much closer to the sun’s rays.

This is the mixture I use on the trees at the Rita Alvarez Artist Retreat.

50/50 mixture of water and white latex paint. Super easy to do!


This is how most of my trees looked before I started. They still had some paint left from when I painted them last year. You can see another year without fresh paint and the trunk would most likely suffer at least some cracking allowing insects and disease to penetrate the trees outer defense system.

.  Before

This is after I painted the tree with the 50/50 water, latex paint mixture.


Here is an example of a fruit tree that has not been protected from the winter sun. The damage to the trees outer layer, it’s protective layer, makes it vulnerable to insects and disease. The best cure for disease is PREVENTION. So protect your trees and prevent or reduce the need for insecticides on your trees and eventually on your table!


I would also like to mention the above process protects a tree from sunburn but not from rodents or rabbits that could eat around the tree’s root ball also causing a lot of damage to your tree. Therefore, adding a tree guard could also be very useful in raising healthy trees.

Overall it was an exceptionally beautiful winter day hanging out in the orchard. The wildlife was busy, squawking, chirping, ravens zooming about in the sky… I’m so glad I didn’t miss it. What a day!

I hope this post provides information and inspiration to anyone in need. If you would like to know more on how you can help this and other projects at the artist retreat please go to Retreat tab above or contact the artist.  Thank you!

Hugelkultur: In the Sierra Nevada Foothills?

HugelkulturThis common sense and brilliant technique can save you money, and when practiced will improve your communities environmental health. Click on the Rita Alvarez Learning Center tab and go to the Garden section to learn more about this important water, tree and air quality saving tip!

Drawing the Bobcat


This is a study in graphite of a gorgeous creature that lives here in the Sierra Nevada Foothills. The Bobcat, Lynx rufus never ceases to amaze me when it pops out of a bush or strolls across my front yard. I love so many of it’s physical attributes like it’s tufted ears and bob tail as well as it’s hunting adaptability and just plain coolness.

While looking at the Bobcat I realized how intelligently designed it’s fur is, from the speckled pattern that breaks up it’s outline, to longer hairs under it’s belly, and behind it’s legs to wick away moisture. I also noticed thicker hairs on different parts of the body for temperature control. The entire shoulder, arm and paw including the hind haunches are built for the pounce and subduing it’s prey. These may seem like observations that a biologist would make but this is also how an artist sees and thinks when making art.

Here is how I started my drawing. I went from a quick gesture drawing to a precise line drawing that accurately described the form before I allowed myself to even begin rendering the hair and the easily identifiable characteristics. I also check and correct the outline drawing using Unit and Angle measuring techniques until the form can no longer be corrected. “The longer you stay in this stage the more convincing your drawing will be.” This is a first and important step in all of my studies. I hope this has added a little art to your life, helped inspire you to look at and appreciate nature and love the bobcat!

I plan to share more drawing tips in future posts.

This drawing was made from the photography by: DeBold, Don. Calero Creek Bobcat. Digital image. Don DeBold, 1 Dec. 2007. Web. 20 Dec. 2015.

So Many Paintings to Paint!

How exciting the changing seasons are in the Sierra Nevada Foothills. With every rainfall the dry landscape transforms into lush green rolling hills and the blue grey granite outcroppings bloom with moss. I walk around touching, having to feel the moss with my fingers because I’m amazed by the transformation, I’m amazed by nature. How will I ever capture this magic? Can I paint the air, the trees and mother earths essence so that others will feel what I feel? So much to learn, so many paintings to paint!

Tired of Working in the Studio?

DSC02530While watering my garden this morning I noticed how the sun sharply lite the top of a Live Oak.  It’s lacy outline was accentuated by a backdrop of dark shadows.  As the branches faded in and out of the shadows the reflected light shimmered. I realized everything I needed to know about Oak trees was right there! The inspiration every artist needs. Yes the trumpets were playing and the angels came down from the heavens so, I ran and grabbed my drawing bag! What a great morning.

Quail Study in Graphite

Quail Study in graphite on toned paper, 9 x 12 by Rita Alvarez , after photograph by Kim Cabrera
Quail Study in graphite on toned paper, 9 x 12 by Rita Alvarez , after photograph by Kim Cabrera

This is my first study of a quail. I learned a lot already and can’t wait until drawing these gorgeous little birds becomes second nature. They will embellish my future paintings of the Sierra Foothills along with poppies and granite rock outcroppings. I love the California landscape!