Patty Russell and Rita Smith
Patty Russell enjoyed a long career in education serving as a teacher and more recently as the Assistant Principal of a Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School with the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System. When she retired, it opened opportunities to pursue her interest in oil and pastel painting. She explored these mediums by taking lessons, workshops and by joining art societies such as The Piedmont Pastel Society. It was at a workshop with Master Pastelist, Jeanne Rosier Smith, that she met Dr. Rita Smith, who shares the role of PPS President, along with Patty. She has said, “I always enjoy sitting with Rita at a workshop because she has the latest and greatest pastel accessories, not to mention a fun personality!”
When Patty Russell was invited to take on an important leadership role with the PPS Board, she was reluctant. “I’m no expert!” she said. But when the idea of sharing this role with her friend and fellow pastelist, Rita Smith, came along, she knew it would be an enjoyable and meaningful collaboration.
Dr. Rita Smith picked up “the chalk “ three years ago and fell in love with pastel’s color and immediacy. Newly retired, Rita spent 35 years in corporate senior executive roles. Most recently, she was an associate professor at UNC Charlottes Belk College of Business. Rita hopes that her business and leadership experience will offset her relative pastel novice status. She is thrilled to be working closely with her workshop Buddy, Patty Russell.