Meet Cheryl Peterson Rau

Cheryl Rau portrait by Ryan Filgas

Cheryl Peterson Rau portrait by Ryan Filgas

Cheryl Peterson Rau started arts at an early age and has always been intrigued with nature and landscape. Her painting practice centers around en plein air, or painting outdoors. She’s inspired by the works of Georgia O’Keeffe, and professors like Bob Benson who trained her in the fluidness of watercolor, in addition to the impressionists. After learning some acrylics which is often additive, and layered, she was attracted to the sense of permanence watercolor has and when that sometimes sinks in more than usual she laughs that she painted herself into a corner. “Sometimes you just have to cut the good stuff out!”


As some may already know Cheryl had a stroke in 2015. While seeking treatment in San Francisco she lost the ability to paint, and she couldn’t bring her hand to move the brush. After some encouragement she started using her left to draw and eventually was able to reteach the muscles so she could once again make art. While that time was hard, and seemed hopeless at first, some good came of it in the end. Cheryl is able to enjoy painting in a different way. She doesn’t feel pressure to perform; she creates, she enjoys the process, and her work has become more free flowing, meditative, and sometimes whimsical as a result.

Cheryl is continuously looking to the future and while currently learning more drawing, has also signed up for some workshops to keep herself immersed in her paintings.

Cheryl Rau by Ryan Filgas

Cheryl Rau at work, by Ryan Filgas

Cheryl has been on the steering committee for┬áNorth Coast Open Studios for four years, and a participant for five years. In that time she usually averages 75-100 visitors, and always sells at least one major piece in addition a few smaller keepsake pieces to studio visitors. She has return visitors every year who come for updates on her work and it’s always a highlight for her.

North Coast Open Studios 2016 is coming up June 4-5 and June 11-12, 2016. Cheryl’s studio will be open both weekends, from 11am to 5pm.