Rhonda Hager

Acrylic & Oil Paintings

"My passion is to capture the beauty observed in everyday fleeting moments all around me. My heart races to record the essence of a sunrise plein air and I love to create color on my palette that I can almost taste as it defines the shape of flowers in my garden or the weathered history of a local barn."
Rhonda’s passion for art began as a child with crayon murals on her parent’s walls in rural Delphos, Ohio. Her first art teacher, Pat Raymond inspired her love for painting.  In the early 80’s she attended OSU, exploring majors that seemed “sensible” but continued to take art classes as electives. Her passion for art eventually lead her to the Columbus College of Art & Design until she married her husband Jay, a soldier in the Army.

Frequent moves and travels as a military wife created a unique challenge as Rhonda eventually achieved her bachelor’s of fine arts from Austin Peay State University with a painting major. Soon after, Rhonda and Jay’s first child Andrea was born. Andrea is currently a graphic designer in Columbus, OH and helped her mom create her website. Rhonda put away the oil paints to focus on raising and homeschooling her growing family which also includes their son Steve who currently is a mechanical engineer for Honda.

Rhonda continued using her talents volunteering to make art for church and school programs. In 2009, Rhonda decided she should pursue a career so she went back to college graduating from The Ohio State University with a master’s in education in 2011. Teaching jobs were hard to find locally so that summer she started painting again. Her family urged her to enter an oil portrait in a local art show, but it was rejected.  “That sent me into a tailspin. I told myself that I didn’t have enough talent and why am I even bothering,” said Rhonda “I started keeping a sketch book and occasionally got out my paints and dabbled when I couldn’t contain my passion. I couldn’t stop painting with my eyes. I kept taking pictures of things that I hoped I could paint someday.”

This past summer was Rhonda’s turning point. “Our children were both graduated from college and in their careers and I felt like I needed to get serious about pursuing my dream of being an artist,” Rhonda says. “As a birthday present, I attended an all day painting workshop and discovered that I had everything I needed to pursue my dream.  I needed to trust God, believe in myself, and ‘Just do it’! That next week a friend showed me and article about a female artist who had a similar experience and how she gave herself a challenge.  She inspired me to pursue my passion so I gave myself a challenge of 100 paintings in 100 days. I prayed, and then trough tears of joy and with a sense of freedom”. Rhonda shared her fear of failure and her painting challenge with Facebook friends and enlisted them as accountability partners. “I started painting almost every day and posted my finished paintings as I went, says Rhonda. “It was a struggle to keep moving forward and to sign my work because I am such a perfectionist and didn’t feel they were ever finished. I have learned a lot about myself and grown in my confidence as an artist. I am thankful for my husband’s patience when I couldn’t stop painting.”  “I have learned that I have to keep my priorities straight,” says Rhonda. “People are more important than things.  I have to seek God first by reading the Bible and praying before I do any painting and I have to seize the moments to paint even if I only have an hour or two at a time. I haven’t reached my goal of 100 paintings yet, but I’ve painted over 60 so far and I have so many more trapped inside of me just waiting to be set free!”