Kathy Rivera


1. Owned and ran a gift shop business for 33 years before she discovered painting. 

2. After running into Chuck Larivey during his painting demonstration, she was awestruck and asked if he would teach classes. This eventually led to what is now Swimming-in-Paint.

3. Now, years later, she teaches her own classes and even has a student show at Crossroads. She says, “you really feel like your little birds are spreading their wings, it gives you such a good feeling.”

4. Though she has been exploring painting en plein air, she actually prefers painting in her studio where she can focus on creating more detailed work. 

5. Has recently begun working on a new series of artworks which will feature wild ponies of Assateague and Corolla, NC



Kathy Rivera fell into the art world by chance, in search of a creative diversion after 33 years of running her own business. After receiving a copy of Watercolor Magazine from her sister for Christmas, she fell in love with the work of a featured artist. Shortly after Christmas, by happenstance Kathy walked into Crossroads and saw that artist, Sue Stuller, and discovered she offered watercolor classes. “That was the beginning of me studying under Sue Stuller and I took her class for a couple of years until I was in a car accident and could not lean over. I started using acrylic at an easel but then I found Chuck Larivey doing oil demos at Crossroads and I never looked back.”

After asking several times, Kathy finally convinced Chuck to teach oil paint-along classes now called Swimming-in-Paint (SIP). “So I’ve been with him from the very beginning when he first started teaching. Now years later, I teach and have students with their own show at Crossroads! You really feel like your little birds are spreading their wings, it gives you such a good feeling.”

In life and with painting, Kathy prefers variety. Most recently she has shifted her focus to painting en plein air, particularly at the beach. “Every morning at the beach is totally different. You learn how to paint the atmosphere and light.” While Kathy often prefers more detailed work, she has learned to embrace the freedom and spontaneity of painting en plein air. “I think every artist needs to get out there and paint from life. You learn so much about light and see more in life than what you capture with a photo.”

For Kathy, the possibilities are endless when an idea pops into her head. “I get something stuck in my head, like with my painting Chincoteague Crossing. My husband said it was the most impressive painting I ever made…but also the most expensive.” Once the idea emerged to paint the famous annual Chincoteague Island Pony Swim, Kathy knew she would need references from life which entailed housing accommodations and boat repairs. “Chuck always says, ‘you never make it easy do you!’”

Not one to back down from a challenge, either with business or painting, Kathy says the key to her success is being fearless. “A lot of my students are afraid of making a mistake and I say, you just need to be fearless and make your mark!”



Kathy Rivera fell in love with oils in 2016 with Chuck Larivey as her mentor. She has no words to describe how she feels about the painting process. She just gets lost in the process of capturing the feeling of what she wants to portray. Whether it’s the excitement of horses running out of the waves, the serenity of still water, or the intimacy of an interior room, Kathy wants her viewers to feel a part of that mood. Sometimes she takes photographs to use as references to capture the light like the sun reflections on a table or streaming in the window. Other times, she has an idea in her head, like the horses running out of the ocean. She hopes she pulls the viewer along with her in the story she is painting.

2019 - current Oil Painters of America    

2018 - Current Signature member of Swimming in Pint