02 Dec 2021

Interiors column: The strength of art in interior design

All Things Interior column with Louise Higgins of Aspire Design

Interiors column: The strength of art in interior design

Layers of Understanding by Rita Oates

In the world of interior design, I am always looking for interesting artwork that creates a visual statement in a room whilst also reflecting the homeowner’s personality.

One amazing Irish artist is Rita Oates from Roscommon, who creates stunning artwork with messages of positivity, hope and strength. Rita delivers not only beautiful fine art prints but also beautiful uplifting messages of comfort, perfect for the challenging times we are currently facing with Covid-19. This week I caught up with Rita Oates to ask her some key questions about her artwork, her career to date and where people can purchase her stunning pieces.

What medium do you use for your art?

“I work with most materials - oils, acrylics, watercolours, graphite and inks. The medium I choose for any given work is determined by the effect I am trying to achieve and the message I’m seeking to convey. If I want the piece to be delicate and subtle, I typically use graphite or watercolours. If the subject is strong, vivid or emotional, I often use oils, acrylics or charcoal.”

What inspires you to paint?

“Positivity – the idea that uplifting art can contribute to positive wellbeing. I want my artwork to be meaningful, to be more than just aesthetically pleasing to the viewer. The aim is to create something beautiful whilst being thought-provoking and uplifting also.

I’m inspired by natural beauty in our environment. Many of my pieces are images from everyday scenes… a star, the ocean, a wildflower, birds and then I connect each image with a message and the story behind each piece.

My work ‘The Field’, for example, is an etching of an isolated oak tree in a landscape of fields outside the village of Knockcroghery in Roscommon. The message underneath the image is “There is a field beyond fear, I am travelling there…” The piece was inspired by nature and the lessons it can teach us. I saw the solitary oak tree as a symbol of strength and resilience determined to thrive despite its isolation.

Many of my pieces are also inspired by and reflect the power of human relationships and how interconnected we all are. My ‘Measure Our Worth’ collection is inspired by the power of human kindness and the idea that we can measure ourselves by our acts of kindness rather than material signifiers of success.”

Any advice would you give customers when choosing artwork for their home?

“The art in a room contributes to how you feel in that space. I would advise customers to choose art that speaks to them and reflects something of their personality in their home. I would also advise against overcrowding walls with contrasting artworks as each unique piece requires space.”

My favourite fine art print of yours is ‘Layers of Understanding’. Can you tell us a little about this?

“Each colour in the image represents an attribute or quality. Green is kindness, yellow is appreciation, gold is forgiveness, blue is truth, lilac is compassion… The image reflects the idea that there are so many ingredients required for true understanding/empathy. The piece encourages the viewer to dig deeper beyond the obvious, to arrive at a more profound understanding.”

What was your biggest achievement?

“Professionally my biggest achievement has been the impact my work has had on some people. I have been delighted to receive positive feedback from customers advising that a certain piece comforted them or affected them in some other positive way. A lot of people have contacted me in relation to The Eclipse and The Star in particular to advise that they have been moved by their messages of hope. “

Rita's art is produced in fine art prints, greeting cards and scarves and can be purchased on her website or at ETL Craft and Giftware Shop, Main Street, Roscommon. Rita is also producing some of her work on canvases that can be purchased rolled or framed. For further information you can contact Rita by email at or visit her at Art Source in the RDS in November.

I hope you enjoyed my interiors column this week with its message of hope and positivity, particularly now in times of adversity and uncertainty. Remember if there is a topic that you would like covered in a future column then please drop me an email with your suggestions.

Louise is a former winner of TV3’s Showhouse Showdown. Contact 086 3999926; e;

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