Creating art is a transcendent experience and I've found it even more satisfying when I paint subjects that have special meaning to me. 
My focus on Western-themed art is inspired by my Grandfather, a cowboy in his younger days, with whom I shared a special bond as a child. Consequently, I'm fascinated by the trappings of cowboy living and working.


I paint a bit intuitively in a stylized representational manner and believe being selective about details allows the strength and personality of subjects to shine through. To convey an uplifting visual experience, I enjoy using harmonious, sometimes muted, occasionally punchy but always feel-good colors!

My art is intended to celebrate my Grandfather's cowboy experience as well as the historic tradition of the American West that he so respected. However, my paintings are not destined solely for a decidedly rustic decor. My aim is to create paintings with a playful, lighthearted treatment that can bring lively interest to a space. Everyone deserves to enjoy the Western experience and allow it to brighten their lives, spirits and surroundings!






"Even though we'd seen it countless times, when our frequent summer trips took my Grandfather and I by the house with the tilted window, we'd laugh uproariously as though seeing it for the first time! I'd wonder aloud if it looked that funny from the outside, it must look even funnier from the inside! And, we'd start laughing all over again! My Grandfather laughed all the time and not just at funny things; whenever something delighted him, he would bubble over with laughter and he'd be slapping his knee! Being with him was my delight!"

An artist born in the 1950's, raised and continues to live in Rhode Island USA, Ronna A. Pate has always found ways to be creative. As a teenager, she learned to sew and made most of her own clothes. Over the years, she's had great fun decorating her homes and apartments, playing with color and furniture placement while putting her personal stamp on every room. She also loves to write; this, no doubt, was borne out of her life-long love for reading. An only child, Ronna would while away many hours, feeling transported by the books she read. 

Both of her parents were artistic. Her Father was a self-taught house designer and builder with an uncanny eye for color. Her Mother loved to draw cartoon characters, often sketching them on coffee shop napkins and leaving them behind to brighten someone's day.


A studio drawing class using graphite, charcoal and colored pencils was the beginning of Ronna's formal journey into the arts. Focusing mostly on still life, she also dabbled a bit in figure drawing. Her instructor, Denise Trainor, was most encouraging and gave a recommendation for Ronna to audit a couple of art classes at Rhode Island College. She enjoyed drawing for many years but due to other life responsibilities, had to stop taking formal instruction for quite a while.


Working in the business end of the healthcare industry was demanding. While it provided a living, Ronna's first love was always art and she eventually felt stifled without a creative outlet. Keen on re-sharpening her rusty skills, she tried but was unable to locate her previous art instructor. When she visited the only studio class in her area, it turned out they only taught oil painting which, initially, was a disappointment. But after a conversation with Nancy Scelsa, owner of Nancy Stephen Gallery & School of Art, Ronna was convinced to give it a try for six weeks. She did and, of course, was hooked!


Her drawing background helped immensely and she loved learning about color-mixing and brush choices under the tutelage of artist, Anthony Scelsa. Her first subjects, chosen by Tony, were an apple and a pear. "I wanted to add a lace tablecloth and Tony remarked that he'd never had a student paint lace in their very first piece! I decided to paint the negative space instead of the lace and it worked out nicely. I knew then that I would have a love affair with painting for the rest of my life.", she recalled.


Ronna continued instruction for the next seven years. During this time, she was a member of the The Art Group of Northern Rhode Island. Then, subsequently began to show her work in local art shows at the Attleboro Arts Museum, New Hope Art Gallery and Arnold's Mills Community House. And, she won some awards:


  • FusionArt Western Art International Online Juried 2022 Exhibition, Artistic Excellence Award
  • Attleboro Arts Museum 2018 Flower Show, People's Choice Award 3rd Place
  • Arnold's Mills Community House 2018 Art Exhibition, Juror's Award 3rd Place


Ronna enjoys her at-home studio, learning new art techniques and taking tutorials by artists whose work she admires. In her spare time, she likes the theatre, equestrian events, reading and music.


After considerable time learning her craft, trying out still life, landscape, architecture and painting a variety of subjects, Ronna felt compelled to bring her painting to the next level and honing in on a theme and subjects that held special significance seemed a suitable place to begin.


Ronna had a special bond with her Grandfather and was able to spend quality time with him as a child. They always made the most of their visits. He patiently taught her many things including how to ride a bike, thread a needle and treat a bee sting. He could fix just about anything and she loved perching on his workbench, watching him tinker around while he told her stories about his life as a cowboy!


Born in Cosenza Calabria Italy, Antonio Pate came to Rhode Island USA at age 10. Then, as a teenager, he headed out on his own to see the American West. He fell in love with the land, ranching, horses, everything about the Western way of life! He lived and worked the cowboy life for approximately ten years before returning to Rhode Island, marrying and starting a family.


Ronna recalls, "Papa would tell me stories about his cowboy days and, of course, I was enthralled! He loved going on cattle drives and it would astound me how they would take herds over mountain ranges, sometimes traveling for weeks! Cattle were a rancher's most valuable asset and it was a source of pride for a cowboy to be entrusted with transporting and keeping the animals safe and healthy under sometimes adverse conditions. Papa especially loved Montana and Wyoming and longed to go back for a visit."


It comes as no surprise that Ronna's creative focus on Western themed art is inspired by and an homage to her Grandfather who passed away when she was only 12 years old. Despite their short time together, his love, caring, gentle nature and integrity has had a lasting impact on her life. "Initially", Ronna recalls, "it was my intention to bring life to my Grandfather's cowboy experience through my artwork. Interestingly, in doing so, this has circled back and brought life to my paintings!"


Her style has evolved over the years and though she paints representationally, Ronna uses arbitrary color and now paints more intuitively, stylizing her subjects a bit. Currently, she is captivated by saddles and cowboy trappings and the results are unique and decorative renderings. Ronna relates, "Typically, I will apply my darks, lights and mid-tones onto the canvas then do quite a bit of mopping to achieve the look I want, continuing to build color as needed."


"I'm frequently asked about my artistic influences. I've always loved Renoir's work. But my favorite painting of all time is "Fumee d'Ambre Gris" (Smoke of Ambergris) by John Singer Sargent. The first time I saw the painting in person, it literally made me gasp. In addition to the incredible softness and lovely atmosphere he created, the three-dimensional effect Sargent achieved is exquisite!"


"Although Western-themed, my paintings are not destined solely for a log cabin or decidedly rustic decor. My aim is to create paintings with a playful, lighthearted treatment, reminiscent of my Grandfather's personality, that can bring lively interest to a space. Everyone deserves to enjoy the Western experience and allow it to brighten their lives, spirits and surroundings!", said Ronna of her artistic mission.


In 2013, Ronna's Grandmother, Carmela, the cowboy's wife, passed away at age 105. Ronna was tasked with clearing and preparing their family home for sale. While sorting through things, she found a photographic treasure! A photo she'd never seen before of her Grandfather on horseback and what made it extra special was his inscription in the lower right corner: "Taken in Midland, Texas 1923 on the Diamond A Ranch". He'd drawn a diamond shape around the "A".


Ronna relates, "My middle initial is A and I've always used it when signing my name. When I first began painting my Western pieces, just as I was about to sign one, this photo popped into my mind. I recalled how Papa had drawn a diamond shape around the "A" in the ranch name which I assume was the ranch brand. I decided, as a special tribute to him, that I would add the diamond shape around my middle initial when signing my paintings. My Grandfather was 19 years old when the photo was taken and I can only wonder what that young man would have thought if he'd known that over 100 years later, his cowboy experience would be celebrated in my artwork! I like to think it would have delighted him! And, he'd have laughed so much, he'd have been slapping his knee!"






Gallery Coronado, Phoenix AZ

Ronna Pate studied oil painting under Anthony Scelsa at Nancy Stephen Gallery & School of Art for seven years. Additionally, she studied still life and figurative drawing under Denise (Trainor) Baxter for three years.

Arnold's Mills Community House, Cumberland RI
Attleboro Arts Museum, Attleboro MA
FusionArt Western Art International Online Juried Exhibition
Heartspot Art Gallery, East Providence RI
New Hope Gallery, Cranston RI

2022 FusionArt Western Art International Online Juried Exhibition, Artistic Excellence Award
2018 Attleboro Arts Museum Flower Show, People's Choice Award 3rd Place
2018 Arnold's Mills Community House Art Exhibition, Juror's Award 3rd Place

2017 Blog Interview:

Attleboro Arts Museum, Artist Member
Rhode Island Watercolor Society

Deborah & David Britto, East Providence RI
Tom Brosnahan, Concord MA
Phyllis & Salvatore DeSalvo, Coventry RI, 3 pieces
Hope Dooley, Durham NC
Jones Moving Old Line, Harlingen TX
Eileen & Robert O'Shea, Providence RI, 2 pieces
Kathy Page, East Bridgewater MA
Sean John Reidy, Cranston RI
Janet Romano, North Kingstown RI
Donald Sherman, North Stonington CT
Janice Stillman, Attleboro MA
Rosa & Joseph Viveiros, Seekonk MA
Private Collectors, Attleboro MA, 7 pieces
Private Collectors, Cumberland RI, 2 pieces
Private Collectors, East Providence RI, 3 pieces
Private Collectors, West Warwick RI, 3 pieces

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