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 and is an homage to my Grandfather, a cowboy in his younger days, with whom I shared a special bond as a child. His stories made me fall in love with all things Western, so I’m fascinated by the trappings associated with cowboy living and working. Saddles are my favorite because I see them as works of art themselves!


Being selective about details allows the strength and personality of each saddle to shine through. I’m quite fond of lovely, curved edges, so they’re sprinkled generously throughout my work! Color can elicit emotion to convey an uplifting visual experience, I enjoy using harmonious, sometimes muted, occasionally punchy but always feel-good colors! Achieving the leathery look of the saddles is done by applying dark, light, and mid-toned colors onto the canvas, then using a mopping technique, lightly patting, and tapping till I get the look I want. When applying this technique to large areas, it sounds a bit like bongo-playing! While the background is laid in as the first step, decisions to adjust it are left until after the subject(s) are completely painted. Values (lightness and/or darkness) are played up or down to create a perfect stage.


Having previously painted realistically, I now paint a bit more intuitively. It wasn’t a conscious choice to stylize my saddles. I can only describe the process as having painted my way to it. All of this allows me to create paintings of unique saddles that don’t exist anywhere but on my canvas! In the process, I’m afforded control and liberation all at once!


My saddle renderings are intended to celebrate my Grandfather’s cowboy experience as well as the historic tradition of the American West. My stylization, hopefully, incorporates a modern flair to bring the spirit of both to broad varieties of decor. Everyone deserves to enjoy the Western experience and allow it to brighten their life and surroundings!







Even though we’d seen it countless times, when our frequent summer trips to Vermont 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, Pate 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. If she were sitting and waiting somewhere, in a coffee shop for example, she would sketch a character on a napkin and leave it behind to brighten someone’s day.


A studio drawing class using graphite, charcoal and colored pencils was the beginning of Pate’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 Pate 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, Pate’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 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, Pate 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 mentioned 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. 


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


Fusion Art Western Art International Online Juried Exhibition 2022, Artistic Excellence Award:

     “By the Bunkhouse Door"

Attleboro Arts Museum 2018 Flower Show, People’s Choice 3rd Place: “Friendly Forest”
Arnold’s Mills Community House 2018 Art Exhibit, Juror’s Award 3rd Place:  “All Dressed Up” 


Pate 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 and reading detective novels.


After considerable time learning her craft, trying out still life, landscape, architecture and painting a variety of subjects, Pate 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.


Pate 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 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 10 years before returning to Rhode Island, marrying and starting a family.


Pate 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 back for a visit.” 


It comes as no surprise that Pate’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”, Pate recalls, “it was my intention to bring life to my Grandfather’s cowboy experience through my art work. 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 realistically, Pate takes license with color and now paints more intuitively, stylizing her subjects a bit. Currently, she is captivated by saddles and the results are unique and decorative renderings. Pate relates, “Typically, I will apply my darks, lights and mid-tones onto the canvas then do quite a bit of mopping to achieve the leathery look, continuing to build color as needed.“


“I’m frequently asked about my artistic influences. I’ve always loved Renoir’s work. My favorite painting of all time is “Fumée 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 saddle paintings are not destined solely for a log cabin or decidedly rustic decor. My aim is to create paintings with a playful, light-hearted treatment that can bring lively interest to a space. Everyone deserves to enjoy the Western experience and allow it to brighten their life, spirits and surroundings!”, said Pate of her artistic mission.                                                      


In 2013, Pate’s Grandmother, Carmela, the cowboy’s wife, passed away at age 105. Pate 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”. 


Pate relates, “My middle initial is A for Anne 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 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 nearly 100 years later, his cowboy experience would be celebrated in my art work! I like to think it would have delighted him! And, he’d have laughed so much, he’d have been slapping his knee!”






10 Tanglewood Lane Apt 208, North Providence RI 02904



Home: 401-563-8523      Cell: 401-484-3995






Ronna A. Pate studied oil painting with Anthony Scelsa at Nancy Stephen Gallery and School of Art for seven years. Additionally, she studied still life and figurative drawing with 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 Art Gallery, Cranston RI


2022  FusionArt Western Art International Online Juried Exhibition, Artistic Excellence Award

2018  Attleboro Arts Museum Flower Show, People's Choice 3rd Place

2018  Arnold’s Mills Community House Art Exhibition, Juror's Award 3rd Place


2017  Blog Interview:



Attleboro Arts Museum, Artist Member



Deborah Britto, East Providence RI

Tom Brosnahan, Concord MA

Hope Dooley, Durham NC

Jones Moving Old Line, Harlingen TX

Robert & Eileen O’Shea, Providence RI

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 Viveiros, Seekonk MA

Private Collectors, Attleboro MA, 5 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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