Ariana Richards possessed a love of traditional art at an early age. An internationally noted actress, known especially for her role as “Lex” in Jurassic Park, she went on to Skidmore College to earn a B.S. Degree in Fine Art and Drama, with distinction.
She continued with instruction at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California and has been mentored by some of the finest names in Contemporary Impressionist art.
Art has long been a tradition in Ariana Richards’ family. Her own genealogy can be traced back to the early Italian Renaissance with Carlo Crivelli, a contemporary of Botticelli. Ariana’s ongoing work shows the classical influence of the Old Masters, along with the dynamics of Impressionist artists, most notably Monet and Degas.
She draws inspiration from historic painters such as John Singer Sargent, Anders Zorn, Mary Cassatt, and Joaquin Sorolla.
Though Ariana paints works for occasional exhibitions, currently she focuses on painting special pieces by commission for individuals.
Scores of media interviewers asked, “What can she possibly do as a follow up to her film career?”
She hasn’t disappointed them. Ariana is an award-winning artist, has been featured in many art magazines, and has already become one of the most celebrated young artists of our time, known among her collectors for her evocative figures and landscapes.
She is also a member of the Portrait Society of America, the Oil Painters of America and is a Member of the California Art Club est. 1909.
Curriculum Vitae ~ Ariana Richards
- 2001 – 2004
First young female artist invited to prestigious California Art Club, est 1909
Intensive mentoring with the most acclaimed Traditional and Impressionist artists in the United States–
- 2002 – 2003
Art Center College of Design
Anatomy for Art Drawing and Sculpture
Professor: Rey Bustos.–
- 1997 – 2001
Skidmore College, New York
Bachelors Degree – Fine Art and Drama–
- 1992 – 1996
Private tutoring in Classical Drawing, Painting Methods, Work from Live Model
Tutor: Rey Bustos
(Acclaimed professor from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California, and instructor for Disney Animation Studios)
- 2013 – National Competition Winner,
“Official Artist for the Children for Children Organization ~ Interpretational Painting of Music”–
- 2009 – Award Winner at “Annual Members Showcase Competition”
National association, Portrait Society of America–
- 2008 – Awarded “Judges Choice” for oil painting
2nd Annual International Raymar Art Competition 2008–
- 2006 – Art of the West Award of Excellence, Blue Ribbon Winner
Oil Painters of America Western Regional Competition–
- 2005 – 1st Place in the National Oil Painting Competition, American Artist magazine–
- 2003 – People’s Choice Award at the Wine Country Exhibition, Napa Valley–
- 2001 – Painter of the Year Award from the Media Arts Institute and Moorpark College
2013 – “Timeless Visions” (Solo Exhibition) | Carrasco Country Club | Montevideo, Uruguay
2011 – “Traditions” Invitational Exhibition | Legacy Gallery | Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
2010 – “Wagner’s Ring Cycle” | Los Angeles Cathedral | Los Angeles, California, USA
2009 – California Art Club 93 Annual Gold Medal Exhibition | Pasadena Museum of California Art | Pasadena California, USA
2009 – “Celebrating The Golden State” | California Art Club Gallery at The Old Mill | San Marino, California, USA
2008 – Oil Painters of America Western Regional Exhibition | Devin Galleries | Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, USA
2008 – California Art Club 97th Annual Gold Medal Exhibition | Pasadena Museum of California Art | Pasadena, California, USA
2007 – “A Fine Art Fair” | The Pasadena Center | Pasadena, California, USA
2007 – Oil Painters of America Western Regional Exhibition | Waterhouse Gallery | Santa Barbara California, USA
2007 – California Art Club 96 Annual Gold Medal Exhibition | Pasadena Museum of California Art | Pasadena, California, USA
2007 – Ariana Richards (Solo Exhibition) | Willow Gallery | Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
2006 – “Viva La Femme” | Lee Youngman Galleries | Calistoga, California, USA
2005 – “Summer Leisure” | California Art Club Gallery at The Old Mill | San Marino, California, USA
2004 – “Miniatures Holiday Show” | Lee Youngman Galleries | Calistoga, California, USA
2004 – “Portals of the Heart” (Solo Exhibition) | Lee Youngman Galleries | Calistoga California, USA
2004 – “Visions In Radiant Light” (Solo Exhibition) | McLean Gallery | Malibu, California, USA
2003 – “Miniatures Show” | Lee Youngman Galleries | Calistoga, California, USA
2003 – “The Young Artists Show” | Wendt Gallery | Laguna Beach, California, USA
2003 – “A Return To Tradition” | Morseburg Galleries | West Hollywood, California, USA
2002 – “Sights of Santa Ana” | Bowers Museum | Santa Ana, California, USA
2002 – “Salon d’ Automne” | Edenhurst Gallery and Morseburg Galleries | West Hollywood, California, USA
2002 – “Young Brushes II” | Mission San Juan Capistrano Museum | San Juan Capistrano, California, USA
1995 – “IWorld” (Solo Exhibition) | Igarashi Building | Tokyo, Japan
The Actress | Film Highlights
Jurassic Park ~ 1993
Steven Spielberg was sure that Ariana Richards was his “Lex Murphy,” but would she answer the next question correctly?
He put it like this; “Ariana, are you going to be busy this Summer?”
You guessed it, she was thinking on her feet that day, and as a result joined him and the rest of the production team on Kauai that summer where she starred in his blockbuster film, “Jurassic Park”.
She has many wonderful memories of working with Steven and the cast of the film based on Michael Crichton’s epic novel. Her fellow cast-members included Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, Joseph Mazzello, the late Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, Wayne Knight, B.D. Wong and of course, the late Lord Richard Attenborough.
A wealthy entrepreneur, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), owns a company called In-Gen and uses the advancements in genetic engineering and scientific technology to secretly create a theme park on a remote island called Isla Nublar, featuring living dinosaurs drawn from prehistoric DNA. Due to an accident involving one of the park’s workers, he must prove to his investors that his park is safe before he can officially open Jurassic Park.
…the park’s computer programmer, Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight), has other ideas. He disables the park’s security system so that he can make his escape with some stolen embryos, planning to sell them to In-Gen’s main competitor. Unfortunately for the remaining staff and new visitors to the island, these systems include the electrified fences that keep the prehistoric animals contained.
(Left) Here is a newspaper clip of Ariana, Steven Spielberg and his wife, Kate Capshaw meeting Princess Diana during the London Premiere of Jurassic Park. Ariana had the pleasure of sitting with Diana during the movie and was honored to present the Princess with the bouquet of flowers you see her holding. Steven told Ariana later that he had chosen her to give the bouquet because he knew she would have the courage to use the right words, “Your Royal Highness” when addressing the princess.
Princess Diana was excited about the film and told Ariana, “I’ll have to bring William and Harry to this film very soon, they will love it.”
Angus ~ 1995
Portraying the beautiful (though anorexic) “Melissa Lefevre” in the outstanding coming of age film “Angus”, Ariana Richards enjoyed being the dream girl of every young man’s heart. She worked alongside Kathy Bates, George C. Scott, Charlie Talbert, Chris Owen and James Van Der Beek. This film was only released on VHS. Recently, due to high demand, it has been made available on DVD. Ariana is pleased that so many people have told her that “Angus” is one of their all time favorite films.
Angus Bethune (Charlie Talbert) is a teenage boy living in Minnesota, who, despite his talents as a football player and in science class, holds deep insecurities about himself. Since kindergarten, Angus has been regularly harassed by handsome Rick Sanford (James Van Der Beek), and his complacent cohorts, for not being “normal” due to being overweight and is, in their view, “named after a cow”. His only friend is Troy Wedberg (Chris Owen), who is also a social outcast like him. Angus also had feelings for Melissa Lefevre (Ariana Richards), though is fearful of expressing it because she is dating Rick. Eventually, tired of the abuse from Rick, Angus applies for a magnet school where he hopes to be free of the constant humiliation. However, well aware of Angus’s feelings for Melissa, Rick rigs an election so that Angus and Melissa will dance together in the upcoming freshman Winter Ball as King and Queen, respectively.
To get ready for the dance, Angus gets help from not only Troy, but also his mother Meg (Kathy Bates), and his narcoleptic Grampa (George C. Scott). His grandfather tells him about a dance move called the Irish Swoon that he claims is a guaranteed lady-pleaser, but Angus fears that his largeness makes him an inept dancer and would embarrass both him and Melissa.
He is left with two choices: Back out and let Rick have his victory, or go for broke, chase his dreams and possibly change his life forever…
Tremors ~ 1990
“Tremors” is one of Ariana Richards’ earliest films, in which another right answer to a question assured her the role of “Mindy Sterngood” – the young girl who jumps on her pogo stick almost to her own end and that of the entire township. Yet Mindy is gratefully among the survivors in this classic monster film “Tremors”.
In this case, when Ariana was asked by the producers if she knew how to jump on a pogo stick, she assured them she could jump with the best of them (though she had never even seen a pogo stick in her life!)
Giant worms are the monsters in this case, and between these giants of the deep and the tongue-in-cheek humor, this film has an almost cult following.
Ariana enjoyed working with director Ron Underwood and alongside stars like Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Michael Gross and the country singer Reba McEntire, and has especially enjoyed staying in touch with Reba.
Valentine “Val” McKee (Kevin Bacon) and Earl Basset (Fred Ward) work as handymen in Perfection, Nevada, an isolated ex-mining settlement that contains only fourteen residents, among them Mindy Sterngood (Ariana Richards), general store owner Walter Chang (Victor Wong) and survivalist couple Burt Gummer (Michael Gross) and Heather Gummer (Reba McEntire).
A new arrival is Rhonda LeBeck (Finn Carter), a graduate student conducting seismology tests.
Val and Earl tire of their hand-to-mouth existence and leave for Bixby, the nearest town. They discover a man dead at the top of an electrical tower, though still holding on to the beams. Jim Wallace, the town doctor, announces that he died of dehydration. Val and Earl wonder what could possibly force a man to stay high up off the ground in an electrical tower long enough for him to die of thirst. Putting their concerns aside, the two men once again head off to Bixby to start their new life. On their journey however, they run into an unforeseen danger that leaves Val, Earn and the entire residence of Perfection fighting for their survival…
Grand Tour: Disaster In Time (Timescape) ~ 1992
Ariana Richards stars in another classic sci-fi film. In this quirky and mysterious film about time travelers, she portrays the young “Hillary Wilson”, the daughter of “Ben Wilson”, a character played by Jeff Daniels. Filming in the green countryside of Oregon, the story involves a meteor strike that transforms the landscape and brings out the best and the worst in the people of the small community.
Ariana remembers perching high on the edge of a huge crater with Jeff Daniels, and being grateful that she didn’t suffer from fear of heights!
For Ariana Richards, remembering the shooting of this film brings back the memory of giant spiders as well since Jeff Daniels took her to see the screening of his upcoming film Arachnophobia during the making of Disaster In Time.
This film has different titles in the U.S. and Europe. It was also called Timescape.
The Incident ~ 1990
It was several moving scripts that called Ariana Richards to The Incident movies to portray the young “Nancy Cobb” opposite the late Walter Matthau, who played her grandfather “Harmon Cobb”, and Susan Blakely, who played her mother “Billie Cobb.”
Filming in Colorado Springs and Pittsburgh, Ariana had a lot of fun in both locations with her movie family. She later worked with Susan Blakely again (see Race Against Fear below). They’ve maintained a close friendship ever since. Walter Matthau enjoyed teaching Ariana how to be his “straight man,” and helped her perfect the skills during the second movie.
Ariana Richards stars in both movies;
The Incident at Lincoln Bluff, and Against Her Will: An Incident in Baltimore.
The story takes place in the year 1944 in Lincoln Bluff, a fictional, small Colorado town. The Second World War is still raging and the town faces tragedy when the town’s only doctor George Hansen (Barnard Hughes), is murdered at a local US Army POW camp, Camp Bremen.
The story takes place in the year 1944 in Lincoln Bluff, a fictional, small Colorado town. The Second World War is still raging and the town faces tragedy when the town’s only doctor George Hansen (Barnard Hughes), is murdered at a local US Army POW camp, Camp Bremen.
Harmon J. Cobb (Walter Matthau), the story’s protagonist, is a local lawyer given the unfortunate task of defending the German prisoner accused of the killing the doctor, a man who also happened to have been Cobb’s good friend. This also brings trouble from the locals, not only for him, but for his daughter Billie Cobb (Susan Blakely), and granddaughter Nancy Cobb (Ariana Richards).
As difficult as things seem, Harmon decided not to give in to the pressure. He believes that no matter the man’s nationality during times of war, every man is innocent until proven guilty and deserved a fair trial.
In the sequel, Harmon Cobb and his family move to Baltimore where he becomes the law partner of his old adversary, where he goes against the State of Maryland, suing on behalf of an institutionalized mental patient for release.
Prancer ~ 1989
Filming Prancer in Indiana in the wintertime made for the perfect frozen backdrop for this Christmas classic. Speaking of contrasts, the timing for this film was challenging for Ariana Richards’ whole family! They were enjoying the gentle sun of Kauai when the studio called Ariana to La Port, Indiana, for a final audition for the role of “Carol Wetherby.” Fortunately her mother was already experienced in the unusual nature of promises from the studios (in this case it was, “We’ll fly you home for your luggage after the reading”).
Accordingly, Ariana Richards’ mother packed all night in preparation for a long stay in Indiana and for the flight the next day. Once there, Ariana didn’t return home again for nearly four months!
Nevertheless, she enjoyed working with Sam Elliot, Johnny Galecki, Michael Constantine, Cloris Leachman, and of course, the reindeer.
Jessica Riggs is an 8-year-old girl whose mother died of unknown causes and who is in the care of her rough, quiet, protective father John Riggs (Sam Elliott). During the Christmas season, Jessica finds a hurt reindeer who she believes to be Santa’s reindeer Prancer. As she nurses Prancer back to health, a deep bond grows between the two. She is helped by a friendly old veterinarian, befriends the old town recluse, and comes to forge a closer relationship with her older brother Steve.
Jessica’s father discovers Prancer living in the barn and does not understand Jessica’s special love for helping the reindeer. After a misunderstanding, he sells Prancer to a business owner temporarily. His walls of hard feelings begin breaking down and he and Jessica finally forge a deep, loving bond. After several emotional struggles between her family and the town, Jessica and her best friend Carol (Ariana Richards), manages to cure Prancer and set him free, where he is seen flying to the sky to rejoin the other seven deer of Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve.
Spaced Invaders ~ 1990
This was Ariana Richards’ first feature film role. She stars as “Kathy Hoxley”, a new girl in a small town who begrudgingly agrees to go out trick or treating with the neighborhood children. When the reading of the War of the Worlds draws some small aliens from a distant galaxy to wreak real havoc on the world, Kathy is the only one who can save the earth from mass destruction.
Was it the great sci-fi story spoofing The War of the Worlds, the wonderful cast and writer/director, Patrick Read Johnson, her own custom-built ET suit, or the little E.T. friend “Spiff” that makes this one of Ariana Richards‘ favorite experiences?
The space armada from Mars, known as the Imperial Atomic Space Navy (Battle Group Seven), fights an interstellar war against their long-time enemy, the Arcturans. The armada is forced into battle by Enforcer Droids, tasked to keep the Martian soldiers in line. Meanwhile, an incompetent crew of a small Martian spaceship, from the Civilian Asteroid Patrol, intercepts a distress signal from the fleet, followed by a Halloween rebroadcast of Orson Welles’ 1938 The War of the Worlds radio dramatization.
Mistaking this for a real invasion and not wanting to miss out on the glory, they land their ship in the tiny community of Big Bean, Illinois and begin their invasion of Earth.
The ship’s smart-mouthed pilot, Blaznee, with more common sense than the others, doesn’t think it’s a good idea, but he is ignored by the rest of the crew. Led by Captain Bipto, the overzealous optimist of the group, they search for the invasion fleet they think has already landed. Because it’s Halloween, everyone assumes just kids in very good costumes.
Eventually, though, a few locals realize the truth…
Among them is the town sheriff, his daughter (Ariana Richards) and an elderly farmer named Wrenchmuller.
The Princess Stallion ~ 1997
Ariana Richards portrayed “Sarah Stewart” in The Princess Stallion, a beautiful horse-lover’s movie which was filmed in Scotland.
The “Princess Stallion” was a horse from an ancient story. This magnificent, mythical horse seems to live again for Sarah and the old man Fergus who really need him to be real.
Ariana Richards found being on location in Scotland and working with the horses magical, and especially appreciated working with a very talented sterling cast of all Irish and Scottish actors, and with one of her all time favorite directors Mark Haber.
Following the death of her divorced mother, the young Californian teen Sarah Stewart (Ariana Richards) is sent to the Scottish highlands to live with her father. It is a wild, lonely place and her one friend is a hermit who has devoted his life to protecting wild and domestic animals, healing the sick and injured ones and destroying any traps set by hunters. The girl’s life changes when one day she spies a ghostly white stallion on a foggy day. Sarah tells her father about her sighting, but he thinks it a figment of her imagination and that she is spending too much time with the strange loner, thinking Fergus is having too big an influence on her. The hermit, however, believes the stallion is real, a mythical horse from an ancient story. The magnificent horse seems to live once again for Sarah and the old man.
Danger is soon nearby however. Word of the white stallion spreads and eventually a very difficult situation arises when poachers show up to capture the elusive horse. Sarah realizes she must do something to prevent his capture. This young Californian girl decides to team up with the old hermit Fergus in an effort to protect the “Princess Stallion” in this wonderful, magical tale.[maxbutton id=”70″]
Born Free: A New Adventure. (Born Free 2) ~ 1996
Working with lions had not been part of Ariana Richards’ resume until shooting Born Free II on location in the veldt of South Africa where she enjoys remembering growing close to her real-life lion, the landscape, and the people. The movie was produced as a sequel to the original Born Free movie which was based on a true story and shot in Africa 30 years earlier.
Ariana Richards stars as “Val Porter,” the young woman who had grown inseparable with the lion cub she had rescued.
Val faces the dangers and heartbreak of having to release the young lion back into the wild.
Ariana’s fellow cast members include Linda Purl and the late Jonathan Brandis.
A young South African teenager, Valerie ‘Val’ Porter (Ariana Richards) meets a young American, Randolph ‘Rand’ Thompson (Jonathan Brandis), who is visiting his father in Africa. The two of them take up the challenge and daunting task of teaching the animal a lifetime of survival skills in a mere three weeks so that she can be safely released back into the wild.
If they fail, Elsa faced life in a zoo.
Race Against Fear. (Broken Silence) ~ 1998
Ten years after Ariana starred in the award-winning mini-series Switched at Birth, the producers cast her once again in the starring role of “Mickey Carlyle” in their based-on-fact, tense coming of age drama Race Against Fear.
This movie was shot in Vancouver, Canada, where Ariana got to put in a lot of time running through the countryside. After the first day of shooting, her muscles were so tied up, she couldn’t walk! But she recovered quickly, and enjoyed working with Susan Blakely who played her mother once again.
She also worked with William Bumiller, who did a excellent job as the villain of the story.
Switched At Birth ~ 1991
Acclaimed as best mini-series of the year, Switched at Birth took all the top awards. Ariana portrayed the character “Kimberly Mays,” a child who had been accidentally switched with another infant at the hospital shortly after birth. The newborns had been sent home with the wrong families. The error wasn’t discovered until 10 years later, to everyone’s great shock.
This film was based on the real life story of two very real children, one of which died very young, leaving only Kimberly and the two families to deal with the tragic situation.
The real Kimberly Mays visited the set and spent some time with Ariana during the filming. She told Ariana, she was amazed and moved and so happy that Ariana had been cast for the role because she was doing such a good job in the part.
Other words of appreciation on her performance came to Ariana years later when an acting coach shared with her that he had used her “blood draw” scene from this movie as the quintessential example for other actors of an actor giving total commitment to a scene.
Ariana worked alongside Brian Kerwin, John M. Jackson, and Bonnie Bedelia.
The Golden Girls ~ 1987
In Ariana’s very first TV appearance, she played “Lisa” in an episode of The Golden Girls called, And Then There Was One. She was one of the children Betty White was left to babysit when the other Golden Girls left for the evening.
As one can imagine, being babysat by a “Golden Girl” led to a colorful experience.
Betty White was especially memorable, and Ariana remembers how she opened her dressing room door when the little cast member knocked. Betty was more than happy to greet her and pose for this photo, rollers and all![maxbutton id=”70″]
Island Son ~ 1990
Not long after Richard Chamberlain completed the movie The Thorn Birds, he was off to Hawaii to shoot his series Island Son. Ariana was invited into the cast where she portrayed the young girl “Tess Delaney” acting alongside Richard Chamberlain. She lived near Diamond Head and remembers spending many hours building sand castles on the beaches with her younger sister Bethany.
Had the series continued for a long run (perhaps seven years), would she have been free to run with the dinosaurs at age 12? As it was, the series finished a few months after Ariana joined it, but she would soon return to the islands to shoot Jurassic Park. With all the ups and downs of being in the entertainment business, Ariana feels especially grateful to have spent so much time in the islands.[maxbutton id=”70″]
Jake’s Women ~ 1992
At age 9, Ariana took part in an unusual reading at the home of Playright Neil Simon. Later that afternoon, she was cast in Neil Simon’s play Jake’s Women as young “Molly”, who was actually the younger version of Helen Hunt’s character.
It was stage work that inspired Ariana to come into acting, and she really enjoyed herself in this play with its live audience, and its delightful and engaging Neil Simon who was sure Ariana reminded him of his own daughter.
Ariana also enjoyed working with several “greats” – Kathy Bates (who had just received her Academy Award), Helen Hunt and Alan Alda.
Locked Up: A Mother’s Rage ~ 1991
In Locked Up, Ariana’s character “Kelly Gallagher” is the young daughter left behind when her mother, played by Cheryl Ladd, was framed and sentenced to prison. Based on a real life story, this movie gave Ariana an opportunity to play a suicidal child, but fortunately the family gets help.
Working with director Bethany Rooney and actors Cheryl Ladd, Jean Smart and her two on screen siblings was a real pleasure for Ariana.
When the Starlight Foundation approached Ariana for a promotional shoot for their organization, Ariana agreed to help. Starlight Foundation had teamed up with Jordache to do a national campaign using young actors to promote the cause. Ariana’s younger sister Bethany agreed to join the project with her, and the result was several images like this one that became familiar billboards around Hollywood and across the country in national magazines.
Others who took part in this campaign included Jonathan Brandis and his mother Mary.[maxbutton id=”70″]
Ariana’s First Job
Ariana Richards was first discovered at a “Mommy, Me, & Mozart” class her mother, Darielle, created for the community. One of the mom’s asked Ariana if her might be interested in modeling for their Mother’s Day magazine issue for The Oaks Mall in Thousand Oaks, California (where they lived at the time). She thought this was a wonderful idea. She was six years old, and ready for the adventure.
Ariana was quick to spend the money she made on a puppy, and the “rest of the story” started from there.
Ariana Richards has won many awards for her acting over the years.
The picture below shows her, Joseph Mazzello and David Copperfield with the 1993 Bambi Award in Germany.
1994 | Favorite Newcomer, Japan – Jurassic Park
1994 | Favorite Newcomer, Australia – Jurassic Park
1994 | Favorite Newcomer, United Kingdom – Jurassic Park
1993 | The Bambi Award – Jurassic Park
1993 | International Youth In Film: Best Young Actress in a Motion Picture – Jurassic Park
1992 | International Youth In Film: Best Young Actress in a Television Movie – Locked Up: A Mother’s Rage
1991 | International Youth In Film: Best Young Actress in a Mini Series – Switched At Birth
Ariana Richards is an award winning artist who is recognized as one of the “Young Guns” in the world-wide contemporary traditional art community.
She has already received numerous national & international painting awards. Ariana is a member of the Portrait Society of America, Oil Painters of America and is a Mentor Member of the California Art Club.
Below we have listed some of the art awards Ariana has won, accompanied by the painting for which the award was presented.
Photograph of Ariana Richards with judge William Scott Jennings.
Here she is pictured receiving the Oil Painters of America Award of Excellence.
Here are some of Ariana’s art awards
Oil ~ 12×9 inches
International Competition Winner
Ariana was awarded the position of, “Official Artist for the Children for Children Organization ~ Interpretational Painting of Music”, by the founder of the International Music Syndicate after winning a national competition.
“Lady of the Flowers”
Oil ~ 24×16 inches
Ariana was among the artists receiving awards in the Annual Members Showcase Competition hosted by the Portrait Society of America.
Oil ~ 18×14 inches
Ariana’s oil painting entitled “Tropical Dawn” received high honors in the 2nd Annual International Raymar Art Competition 2008.
“Forget Me Not”
Oil ~ 16×12 inches
Oil Painters of America Western Regional Competition, Art of the West Award of Excellence, Blue Ribbon Winner.
Giclée Print on Canvas Available
“Lady of the Dahlias”
Oil ~ 30×24 inches
1st Place in the National Oil Painting Competition sponsored by American Artist magazine.
Giclée Print on Canvas Available
“In the Early Light”
Oil ~ 20×16 inches
People’s Choice Award at the Wine Country Exhibition at Napa, on the grounds of Clos Pegase Winery.
Painter of the Year Award from the Media Arts Institute and Moorpark College.
Fine Art Articles
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“21 Under 31″
September 2002 Southwest Art
SPECIAL SERIES: EMERGING ARTISTS
Born: Healdsburg, CA, 1979
First Artwork: A Self-Portrait at 3 years old.
First art sale: “I sold a piece in 1995 in Japan. I’m best known as an actress, and I had traveled there to help promote Jurassic Park. I played Lex. While I was there a Japanese businessman saw some of my artwork and bought a painting.”
Art education: Bachelor of science in fine arts and drama from Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA, and the California Art Club Mentor Program.
Style of Work: Poetic Realism.
Favorite Subjects to paint: The Pacific coast, nature, and figurative works because they have a story to tell.
Favorite Artists: Claude Monet, John Singer Sargent, and Joaquin Sorolla.
Creative spark: “When I see something beyond the ordinary, my heart takes flight and I want to create an image of what inspired me. It can be a color in the sky, the curve of someone’s face or sparkles on the water.”
Second-choice career: Acting.
Other passions: Acting and horseback riding. “I enjoy the thrill of jumping.”
Fantasy art trip: To the northern Italian countryside.
Favorite studio music: Opera, classical, and sometimes Enya.
Best Advice Received: Three words by philosopher Joseph Campbell: “Follow your bliss.”
Next big goal: “To develop a distinct voice that reflects who I am. And to continue developing my art as a craft by studying with my California Art Club mentors Peter Adams, David Gallup, Jeremy Lipking, Lynn Gertenbach, and Daniel Pinkham.”
Price range: $600-$6,000.
Galleries: Morseburg Galleries, Los Angeles, CA; McLean Gallery, Malibu, CA.
“A Promising New Generation of California Artists”
April 2003 American Artist
Ariana’s painting, “Under the Magnolia”, made the front cover
“THROUGH THE EFFORTS OF ART SCHOOLS, GALLERIES, AND THE CALIFORNIA ART CLUB, YOUNG REALIST ARTISTS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ARE FINDING VALUABLE TRAINING, SUPPORT, AND EXPOSURE.”
By M. Stephen Doherty
Many art schools and universities have dropped foundation courses in drawing and painting because the faculty no longer believes students need the skills developed in those traditional courses. Students who aspire to draw and paint like the great masters, however, know that kind of instruction is critical, and they recognize the importance of the art schools and private ateliers where drawing and painting are still the bedrock of the educational program. Over the past few years we have featured work by students from such institutions, including the Lyme Academy of Fine Artist in Old Lyme, Connecticut; the New York Academy of Art in New York City; the Water Street Atelier in Brooklyn; the New Orleans Academy of the Fine Arts; The Bougie Studio and The Atelier in Minneapolis; the School of Representation Art in Chicago: The Florence Academy of Art and the Charles H. Cecil Studios in Italy; and L’Ecold Albert Defois in France.
On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I interviewed several young artists who are being well trained and enthusiastically supported by local teachers, commercial galleries, and the California Art Club (CAC). Three of those individuals are part of a CAC mentoring program that helps them gain valuable tutelage, advice, and exposure. The CAC encourages artists accepted into its program to attend lectures, exhibition openings, and painting events, as well as invites them to work with signature members and other artists in the program. In some cases participants serve as studio apprentices to senior members, working with the mentors in their studios and on location. Artist Daniel W. Pinkham heads the program.
Although in many ways these young artists are typical of dozens I have met over the past 20 years, they seem unusually mature both as individuals and artists. Their drawing and painting skills are remarkable: their knowledge of today’s masters is extensive; their network of support is solid; and their ambitions are grand. Collectively they represent a great promise for realist painting.
This development has likely been fueled by the strong economy of the 1990’s that made it possible for more artists to support themselves through teaching and selling paintings, and it probably allowed more young people to visualize futures as professional artists. The recent downturn in the economy may discourage both teachers and students from pursuing their ambitions, but for the time being, their dreams are intact and their work is exciting.
Like all students, the three artists I spoke with are constantly shifting their approach to painting in an effort to grow and establish a unique personal expression. Their inspirations range from contemporary artists such as Richard Schmid, Peter Adams, Clyde Aspecvig, and Malcolm Lipke to historic figures such as Edgar A. Payne, Emil Carlsen, and Nicolai Fechin. They tend not to look back more than 125 years for models on which to base their approach to painting. Only a few university-trained artists turn to 15th and 16th century masters for guidance, perhaps because those young artists benefited from more extensive education in art history than what is typically offered at private ateliers and art schools.
With the encouragement and support of her parents, Ariana Richards explored a number of creative activities as a child but quickly focused on acting and painting. By age 6 she was appearing in motion pictures, and by age 10 she was studying painting with her grandmother and Ken O’Connor, an artist who created animations for Walt Disney Studios. As she approached her teens, Richards; acting talents landed her roles in such movies as Jurassic Park, and her artistic abilities blossomed during courses in drawing and sculpting human anatomy with Rey Bustos, an instructor at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. “I’ve been fortunate with my teachers from an early age, beginning with the training from my grandmother,” she explains. “She is an artist and a direct descendant of Carlo Crivelli, a Renaissance painter.”
After high school, Richards enrolled in Skidmore College’s University Without Walls program so she could continue her acting career and her study of art. “The program allowed me to earn credits both on the Saratoga Spring, New York, campus and while on location for movies,” she explains. Art history became a favorite subject in college because I was able to spend time studying artists from the past, such as Monet and Sargent.”
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree din fine art and drama in 2001, Richards returned to her home in California to further pursue and art education. She studied figure painting with Jeremy Lipking at the California Art Institute, and after being accepted in the CAC’s mentor program, worked alongside Peter Adams, Stephen Mirich, Lynn Gertenbach, David Gallup, and Karl Dempwolf. “I think I picked the long straw,” Richards enthuses. “Somehow these master artists of the CAC are making time to mentor me. Someday I’ll pass along that help to younger artists.”
A strong advocate for the environment, Richards believes that art can deepen one’s relationship with the natural world. “I want to share the magic and beauty of the natural world,” she writes in her artist’s statement. “If I could, I would take each viewer along to my favorite places along the seacoast or in the mountains. I hope to offer a gateway to secret places of nature.” Among the places she has already shared with the viewers of her recent plein air oils are the beaches in Malibu, the mountains outside Los Angeles, and the public gardens within driving distance of her home.
Richards is especially interested in painting figures within landscape settings. “I like painting figures in landscapes because of the beautiful light available in a natural setting,” she comments. “That adds an extra dimension to the scene and offers some interesting possibilities.”
Richards received the Painter of the Year Award for 2001 from the Media Arts Institute and Moorpark College and was featured in Southwest Art magazine as part of its “21 under 31″ feature articles in 2002. She is represented in California by Morseburg Galleries in West Hollywood, the McLean Gallery in Malibu, and the Wendt Gallery in Laguna Beach. She is a member of the Conejo Valley Painters Association, Westlake Art Guild, and the Huntington Gardens Art Guild. She teaches at the California Art Institute in Westlake Village. For more information, visit her Web site: www.galleryariana.com.
.March/April 2006 Art of the West
Ariana Richards Keeping Things Lively
By Vicky Stavig
She’s only 26, but already Ariana Richards has two decades of work experience under her belt. She began modeling and acting at age 6, then switched gears and today is an award-winning artist who finds joy in painting figures and landscapes that are finding an increasingly large audience. Her work has been the subject of museum and solo shows and is included in international corporate collections. Add to that a first-place award at last year’s National Professional Painting Competition, and it’s not a stretch to say that Richards has her feet firmly planted on the path to a long and successful career in fine art.
Raised in California’s Ventura County, Richards says she was “a bit of a tomboy, climbing trees and building forts with my younger sister and friends.” That energy was channeled in a different direction when her mother, a dance instructor, was approached one day and asked if Ariana might be interested in a modeling job for a local mall. I did it and I loved it,” Richards says, adding that she used the money she earned to purchase a puppy. She was so excited about that modeling experience that her parents decided to get her an agent and give their daughter a trial period in which to pursue modeling. “I started getting commercials; the first was for Fantastic Sam’s hair salon,” Richards says. That progressed to acting roles, which included “The Golden Girls” and, later, Lex in the movie “Jurassic Park.” Although Richards enjoyed acting and continued until she entered college, she was drawn to another artistic venture: painting. That interest was part nature, part nurture.
The Singing Spring, oil, 24”x30”
“I brought my young friend, Rowan, out to a pond that has an old boat I like because it has a lot of character. I asked her to get into the boat and do whatever came naturally. There was a magic when, with a sweep of her arm, she started letting the water drip through her fingers.”
“My grandmother on my mother’s side is a painter,” Richards says. “I would visit her as a child, and she’d give me lessons in color theory, and we would experiment with different mediums.” Richards’ artistic heritage extends beyond that, however. She can trace her genealogy back to the early Italian Renaissance and Carlo Crevelli, a contemporary of Botticelli. By the time Richards was 12, she was studying art with a private tutor.
“I was doing a lot of pastels during high school and sold my first one to some friends I met while promoting “Jurassic Park” in Japan,” Richards says, “I was about 15. That was my first sale. It was a pasted of two golden retriever puppies. I was painting a lot of animals in pastels then. I also sold a self portrait to the same family.”
Belle Harvest, oil, 36”x24”
“There is something that captivates me about the in-between moments of a model between stillness and movement. In this painting, I especially liked how the scene, combined with my model’s lyrical clothing, felt like a mixture of the earth and the exotic.”
Eventually, the desire to create art overtook Richards’ desire to act. “It wasn’t so much that I was making a choice to stop acting,” she says. “It was more that art gradually bloomed and became more important to me.” Richards enrolled at Skidmore College in New York, where she went on to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in fine art and drama.
Following her graduation, Richards returned to California, this time landing in Southern California, north of Los Angeles, and began to show her work at a local gallery, where she heard about the California Art Club, an organization that promotes traditional and representational fine art. Richards sought out some of its members and soon was accepted into the organization’s mentoring program. “I spent lots of one-on-one time with those artists and learned so much” she says. “I would go out painting with them, taking out French easels, and the friendships that evolved are wonderful.”
In the Garden, oil 36”x24”
“I discovered a dahlia garden lately. Visiting and painting there at different times of day, I was intrigued with the expression of the model’s face and movement amidst the flowers.”
At the time, Richards was painting both landscapes and figures, eventually following her heart—and her genetics—to focus on figures. “As time went on, I became more and more committed to the figurative side of things,” she says. “Part of my artistic philosophy goes back to the Italian Renaissance, when it was all about the beauty and potential in humanity, about the beauty in nature, from light on water to gorgeous sunsets.”
Morning at the Lake, oil, 24×16
“What could be nicer than the warmth of a wooden pier underneath one’s feet in the morning?”
That doesn’t mean, however, that Richards has forsaken landscapes. She continues to paint them but includes figures, which have become her real focus. Asked what she attempts to convey, Richards responds, “With landscapes and figures together, it’s really about the figure. If I’m doing a landscape purely for itself, it’s getting across a sense of the space, light, and color, the peacefulness of being there, the experience I had in being there. With a model, I want to convey a deep sense of presence.”
Working from models, Richards says she likes to capture “a feeling a mystery.” Her favorite model, she adds, is her sister Bethany, who has been featured in several paintings. “I paint friends, too, people I enjoy spending time with and have a personal connection with. When you are working with a model, there needs to be a sense of teamwork. I t helps me to get their essence across in the painting.”
A Place in the Light, oil, 20x24in.
“The classical elegance of her profile, combined with the sense of light enveloping my sister Bethany in delicious color, offered an enticing subject.”
Richards also uses herself as a model and has painted several self portraits. “It’s just a totally different experience,” she says. “It’s a lot more introspective, a whole new way of approaching the process.”
But plein air painting continues to hold a special appeal for Richards. “I do a lot of plein air painting,” she says. “It keeps me really fresh; it’s invigorating. Any time you work form life, with the wind blowing, the light changing, it keeps things lively. I work in plein air and refine the piece in the studio. I love painting at the ocean. I enjoy the sounds of the ocean birds, the freshness of the air, and the cool breeze. I also love the valleys where I live, the vistas and rolling hills.”
Jazzminh, oil, 24x18in.
“The model brought a fresh, open quality, a strength and a gracefulness that came through in this piece. I titled the painting with her name.”
Oil paints are Richards’ medium of choice and have been since her college years. “I had used pastels, watercolors, and acrylics, by I like the luminosity, the textures, of oils,” she says. “You can play with brush strokes and get very rich effects.”
Two years ago, Richards moved to western Oregon, where she recently completed work on a new studio at her home on six acres of land in what she describes as ‘horse country.” “I enjoy visiting cities and love going to museums and exhibits, the theater and opera,” she says, “but I love living outside the city where I can hear the crickets and sounds of nature.”
A member of the Oil Painters of America and the California Art Club, Richards paints every day “so I can keep everything flowing,” she says. “It’s like exercising a muscle. I paint for a few hours, take a break, and then go back to painting. There’s always something percolating.”
When she’s not painting, this multi-talented young woman often gathers together a group of friends for an evening of music. “I studied singing as a child and did a professional recording when I was about 15,” she says.
What’s on the horizon for this talented young artist? “I intend to keep participating in the Renaissance tradition of art ateliers, events, and lively sharing of ideas within the community of people who love traditional art,” she says. “And I would like to mentor younger painters one day.”
On a personal level, Richards says she would like to marry and have children some day. “Also, besides making time for a horse in my life again, I think it would be great to be bequeathed a castle in either France or Italy so I could visit for the occasional art retreat,” she says with a smile.
September 2003 Southwest Art
By Bonnie Gangelhoff
When Ariana Richards was 6, she was asked to model clothing in a newspaper advertisement for a shopping mall in Thousand Oaks, CA. The tow-haired, blue-eyed little girl took the money she earned from the assignment and bought an Australian Shepherd puppy she named Fauna. She knew at an early age she was hooked on show business. Before long, the talented youngster landed an acting role on the long running television series The Golden Girls. Her television and movie career was off and running from there. As time passed more and more roles came her way, including the role for which she is probably best known -Lex Murphy in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park.
Today, at the tender age of 23, Richards has a website (www.ariana.org) built by devoted fans who discuss her film history, which includes more than 30 films, television programs, and commercials she has appeared in. The site contains information about the Best Young Actress awards Richards has won, along with trivia such as her 1988 appearance in a commercial for cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. But “history” is the operative word here, because Richards’ film career is just that -ancient history.
These days painting is her passion, and she is thoroughly enmeshed in her new career. “I love the lifestyle of being an artist,” she says from her new home in Northern California, not too far from Healdsburg, where she was born. She recently moved here from Southern California, and nowadays Richards spends the majority of her time alone, far from the fanfare and flocks of actors, cinematographers, and sound technicians.
In painting circles Richards is becoming best known for her landscapes, waterscapes, and evocative figurative works. Last year Southwest Art tapped her for inclusion in the annual “21 Under 31″ feature. At the time she was already a member of the prestigious Oil Painters of America and had been selected for the California Art Club’s Mentor Program. Richards was one of 12 artists under the age of 25 chosen, and she considers the honor a major steppingstone in her career.
But the decision to give up acting and devote her life to painting certainly startled her film fans. It was during her freshman year at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, that she shifted artistic gears, “I decided to stop acting, stop auditioning, and throw myself into being an artist full time. And that is a scary thing to do, ” she says. To those who knew her well though, in some ways the change wasn’t all that startling. Richards has been studying traditional paintings and drawing since she was 12, and she eventually received a bachelor of arts degree in fine art and drama from Skidmore, graduating with honors.
Today, she lives quietly in Northern California amid oak trees and rolling hills dotted with sheep. For high drama she turns to the Pacific coastline with its gigantic rock formations and thunderous waves. Among her favorite paintings is “Wetland Reflections” because one of her artistic concerns is capturing the interaction between water and sky.
Although it’s too soon to tell how the move north will affect her work – she has only lived in the wine country for a few months – she is confident some changes will occur. On a personal level, she says, the recent move has given her room to breathe, “I’m calmer, more focused, and I have the time to think and contemplate ideas about my work,” she explains. “The atmosphere up here in the country is more conducive to me creatively and personally.”
Her studio, which is upstairs in her home, is a long narrow room with high ceilings and two skylights. A side window offers views of oak trees and hills. It’s spacious enough so that she can step 20 feet away from her paintings, a vantage point Richards relishes. Whether she paints en plein air, on location or from a model in the studio, she always starts from life, she says. And if the models in some of her paintings, like “Enchantment” resemble herself, it’s because one of her favorite models is her younger sister, Bethany.
“I have it made here in my family.” Richards says. “She used to be an actress and she makes a great model.” In “Enchantment” Richards captures Bethany in a private moment reading. “I was especially taken when I saw the play of light and golden glow haloing Bethany,” she says. “I painted this just before I moved away from Southern California in our sunroom.”
If you step inside Richards’ studio these days you are likely to hear hints of her heritage -Italian opera by Pavarotti or Celtic ballads by Enya. Richards is of Italian-Irish descent and art has been a tradition in her family for generations. Her maternal grandmother, Alma Parmelee, is a professional oil painter in California, known for her florals and landscapes. Parmelee has traced the family’s heritage back to the early Italian Renaissance painter Carlo Crevelli, a contemporary of Botticelli.
It’s no surprise that Richards draws inspiration from the Renaissance painters as well as the old masters, French Impressionists, and American Impressionists such as Californian Guy Rose. “There is something so universal and powerful in the historic artists,” Richards says. “I would like to be like Guy Rose and use my own view and brush to discover my vision. And as Joseph Campbell says in his books, I would like to use my brush to also discover that ‘fortunate rhythm’ in art that creates an incredible effect -a radiance.”
For Richards, about the only thing acting and painting have in common these days is that they both make people think she is a little eccentric at times, perhaps like a character in an adventure movie. For example, when working on “Wetland Reflections” she had to brave the elements, standing in marshy reeds on sultry summer day. “I remember the painting well because I heard this noise and I thought it was someone playing the bassoon,” she says. “Then I thought it was a goose hiding in the reeds. Finally I realized it was a giant fat frog, 7 inches long. I painted to the sound of the frog.”
Another night recently she was painting at a Malibu lagoon. She was attempting to depict a marshland area and reflections of the moonlight on the water. To illuminate her canvas, she wore a minor’s hat with a light attached atop her head. A man passed by and stopped to ask her, “Are you going spelunking?”
“No,” Richards replied. “I am painting the moon.”
November/December 2009 Art of the West
“Young Guns”, By Vicky Stavig
They’re young, they’re ambitious—and they’re talented. The eight artists we feature on the following pages are creating quite a stir. They are “young guns,” artists we predict will make impressive marks on the Western art world in the coming years.
While their subjects range from wildlife and seascapes to still lifes and figures, these artists share a singular dedication to creating the best paintings possible as they share their visions of the world around them. In the process, they are determined to conquer the many challenges they face, from perfecting a technique to creatively capturing a subject.
These talented painters have earned impressive awards, shown in prestigious venues, and been the beneficiaries of sold-out shows, but that is not what drives them. Rather, they are committed to improving with each painting and to creative works that form strong emotional and artistic connections with viewers.
We invite you to turn the page and enjoy a sampling of some of those works.
Ariana Richards began to study classical drawing and painting at the Art Center College of Design, when she was 12, and went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in fine art and theater from Skidmore College in 2001. “I also was a mentor member of the California Art Club, [whose members] include some of the most accomplished painters in the country,” She says.
Beverly-A Portrait, oil, 24”x17”
“A commissioned portrait, this was going to be a face on, but this pose ended up being my favorite. I loved painting the light in this piece; it made this lovely woman even lovelier.”
Today Richards paints landscapes, seascapes, and portraits at her studio in Oregon and is attracting an impressive number of collectors. “When I am hit with something, when something catches my interest, I want to depict it,” she says. “I hope to move people, help them to see the soul and the spirit in the world. I believe art touches the deeper places we live. The spirit and the soul are in the life around us. When our days are filled with beauty, it makes for an abundant life.”
The Girl With Flowers, oil, 30” by 24”
I like to capture moments with a universal quality—timeless, personal, and full of mystery. I like earthiness, too, and emotion. As destiny would have it, I have been given a sister who is all of this, as you can see!”
Richards is moved when collectors share with her their excitement for her work. “I never get tired of [hearing] this,” she says. “I want to convey my experience. When I’m painting an individual, I want to not just express a physical rendering, but get a sense of the personality and put all of that into the painting, so it’s a blending of the eye and the heart together. I’m putting down my experience; It’s a visual journal.”
Early Light 22”x28”
“Landscapes also steal my heart, I was caught up by the moment in northern California and wanted to paint this place as soon as I saw it. The way the layers of the landscape carry back to the mountains—and the trees and sky reflect in the water—captured me.”
Ariana Richards | SAG/AFTRA
THE LOST WORLD
DISASTER IN TIME
DIR. MARK HABER
DIR. STEVEN SPIELBERG
DIR. PATRICK JOHNSON
DIR. STEVEN SPIELBERG
DIR. DAVID TWOHY
DIR. JOHN HANCOCK
DIR. RON UNDERWOOD
DIR. PATRICK JOHNSON
RACE AGAINST FEAR
BOY MEETS WORLD
BORN FREE II
WALTER AND EMILY
AGAINST HER WILL
SWITCHED AT BIRTH**
ISLAND SON (series)
MY SISTER SAM
INTO THE HOMELAND
DIR. JOE SCANLIN
DIR. DUANE CLARK
DIR. JEFF McCRACKEN
DIR. TOMMY L. WALLACE
DIR. JOHN RICH
DIR. DELBERT MANN
DIR. BETHANY ROONEY
DIR. WARIS HUSSEIN
DIR. STEVE ZUCKERMAN
DIR. JOSEPH SARGENT
DIR. PETER BALDWIN
DIR. LESLIE L. GLATTER/HBO
A MAGIC TO DO
BEN FOLD’S FIVE
MUSIC VIDEO “BRICK”
KIBBLES & BITS
FACE OF THE ENEMY
SAYHBER & DENNON RAWLES
TONY RICHARDSON/ TV
- 1994 | Favorite Newcomer, Japan*
- 1994 | Favorite Newcomer, Australia*
- 1994 | Favorite Newcomer, United Kingdom*
- 1993 | The Bambi Award*
- 1993 | International Youth in Film Award: Best Young Actress in a Motion Picture*
- 1992 | International Youth in Film Award: Best Young Actress in a Television Movie***
- 1991 | International Youth in Film Award: Best Young Actress in a Mini Series **
VOICEOVER – SINGING – DIALECTS – DANCE