American pastel artist Rita Kirkman received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1988. Meanwhile, in 1986 she began a 12 year career sketching quick portraits at amusement parks, and in 1988 she began a business drawing detailed pencil portraits from client photos.

Since 2003, Kirkman has improved her own style and technique with pastel through independent study and workshops with renowned artists each year. This effort has been consistently rewarded with major awards in national and international competitions. Her work has been featured in the Pastel Journal and the Pratique des Arts Spécial Pastel, and published in many others. She is a Signature member of the Pastel Society of America and a recipient of the Master Circle Award from the International Association of Pastel Societies. Her portraits and paintings are in private collections all over the world.

Rita is well-known for her sun-lit animal portraits; she has done more than 500 in the last few years!