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May 7, 2020

What subject matter do you love to paint? For you maybe it’s going outdoors and painting en plein air or to a crowded marketplace. Each artist has to find their own source of inspiration and motivation as they travel on their artistic journey - for Ricky Mujica - it’s all about family. 

Ricky is an award-winning artist whose work appears in collections all around the world including Africa, Norway, Germany, and Mexico. His paintings have been exhibited at the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art, The Bennington Museum of Art, The Salmagundi Club, the Museum of American Illustration and is in the permanent collection of the Portrait Society of America.

Drawing from a wide range of artists, Ricky has forged his own creative path that is clear and distinct. While constantly honing his technical skills, Ricky also has an eye for the human experience - capturing scenes full of heart and emotion. I can’t wait for you to hear from Ricky’s unique and fascinating perspective - you might even catch a few helpful tips along the way. 

Painting power 

Who did you idolize when you were younger? Did you look up to an older sibling or maybe one of your parents? From great warriors to majestic mountains, artists throughout time have been drawn to powerful subjects. Ricky Mujica started painting scenes with mothers because he was drawn in by their power - the power to create life and sustain it. 

In our conversation, Ricky was kind enough to share a fascinating story about why he painted an image of his wife breastfeeding their child on a subway - simply put - he was in awe. Hearing from Ricky, you really get the sense that he seeks to capture the essence of the moment in his paintings. Make sure to check out the captivating images of Ricky’s artwork located at the end of this post.  


Let’s face it, life as an artist isn’t for the faint of heart - we go through a lot! We also get the profound privilege of honing our craft and showing the world what we see through our creative eye. In the midst of these difficult times with COVID-19 - I wanted to see what insights and advice a seasoned artist like Ricky had to share for those of us going stir crazy at home. In our conversation, Ricky opened up about his painting method he calls OPPA. Before each stroke of the brush, Ricky goes through the OPPA formula. 

  • Observe - Be a detective, look around for clues that will inform your painting. 
  • Plan - Wait and plan your stroke - don’t go on autopilot, be deliberate. 
  • Put it down - Don’t wait too long, put something down on the canvas or paper. 
  • Assess - Is it right? Did you miss anything that you need to change? Take an honest look.  

As deliberate and planned out as Ricky’s approach seems, this is just the first pass. Ricky will often take a second, third and fourth pass before he is ready to continue. What can you learn from Ricky’s approach? Do you have a formula you’ve created over the years? 

Outline of This Episode

  • [4:00] I welcome my guest, Ricky Mujica. 
  • [8:00] Ricky talks about why he enjoys painting mothers. 
  • [18:00] Adapting to life under COVID-19. 
  • [27:30] Is it OK to work from photos? 
  • [30:00] Positive habits that Ricky has picked up over the years. 
  • [36:30] Ricky explains technical details about his painting. 
  • [41:15] What is OPPA? 
  • [48:00] Taking a second, third, and fourth pass. 
  • [57:00] Closing thoughts. 

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode