Jemma's Tales

Meet The Artist Anita Rivera

November 01, 2015
We can officially say that the Holidays are upon us, and what better way to kick off the season than meeting an artist French Teacher who is a student of poetry and photography!
Anita Rivera is first and foremost a Lady, an articulate woman who delivers first class inspiration, and talent wherever she goes.


This month you will find her poetry published in Prairie Style Magazine.

I have had the joyful opportunity to chat with Anita and exchange weekly emails.
This communication all developed into a caring and cherished friendship, and an interview.
So, please sit back, relax, enjoy her decorating, photography, poetry and become inspired!

Anita was born and raised in Los Angeles but really grew up in Boston, Massachusetts where she and her husband went to school.  Her journey into academics and teaching started in Boston, but the artistic rekindling of her spirit began in  Minneapolis, where she lives now.  It all began seven years ago when she started her blog.  She and her husband have enjoyed transforming their brick house into a dream French cottage where they both enjoy writing and nurturing the inner child.  Both of them are goal-oriented learners and Anita has set her mind on what she calls her final frontier: 
to write professionally and to be published.

1-When did you develop your passion for poetry?

A friend and colleague came to my home one day after the death of a beloved colleague and friend from school. She brought over a copy of Mary Oliver’s book, Blue Iris and I fell in love. I had previously been introduced to 19th century French poetry during my studies at the university, but only on an analytical level. Mary Oliver’s poems spoke life and death, and from that point on, I devoured every one of her works that led me to other important, contemporary poets. Shortly after that, I signed up for a scholarship at our local Loft Literary Center and I was awarded a scholarship to take a memoires class that set me on my course. However, prior to this experience and without even knowing it, I was on my way to writing poetry, thanks to my blog. I was simply having fun expressing myself in multiple mediums such as incorporating images and music on my blog to accompany my pithy style of writing. As I started to develop a certain style on my blog, more and more readers commented that I was writing poetry. That’s where my real work all started: my blog. 

2-How many years have you been developing your writing skills for poetry?

When I took up the courage, to go back to college at the age of 34. I started to teach myself French for the fun of it, but immediately registered for an adult night school program while working full-time while my husband pursued his Ph.D. The experience of learning another language from an analytical perspective and to see how language works merged with my passion to communicate. Writing and developing my style in French for academic purposes lit the wick in my mind to continue to write for enjoyment like I never had experienced with English. I never learned how English works; I just learned it. But my tendency is to try to understand how words can engine thought taught me that writing can unleash their power to move the reader. My development in ongoing, and as long as my mind continues to be occupied and lucid, writing will be my elixir for youth. Thinking, arranging thought through syntactical variations, searching for new vocabulary (this is what is necessary in poetry) – how can this not continue to develop the mind and heart?

3-Your decorating inspires many of us, how did you discover your own style?

Over many years of observation and finally identifying what I always loved. During my years in Boston with my husband, we lived on campus as well as in various apartment arrangements with no personalized touches. We were concentrating more on our studies so decorating was not on the forefront, however, when both of us finally started to feel the nesting instinct, my thoughts turned to a European style. It took me years to finally identify and simplify that style as well as many a bad purchase to finally learn that I feel more at home with a vintage, antique and minimalistic environment. I just recently de-cluttered my home of unnecessary furniture and knick-knacks and the open and airy feel is what both of us prefer. Fresh flowers and other gifts of nature help make my version of French country more accessible in our post-war brick cottage in Minneapolis. 

4-You are an artist at heart, what is your favorite artistic outlet?

This is a loaded answer! In my youth (and still very much to this day), my primary passion is dance. Theatre performance soon followed and I continued until I got married. I currently play the harp but the performing arts will always be in my blood, and as a teacher, these skills are very useful for various circumstances. But the perfect artistic outlet for a maturing body and mind in my opinion, is writing. There are no materials to clutter the studio, and there is a wealth of inspiration around and inside each one of us.

5-Any tips for developing your creative passion?

I believe that if anyone is interested in pursuing a creative outlet, they must eventually face the reality that creativity is hard work and that one must be persistent in developing their medium of choice. A creative person must also allow time for input, or rather, inspiration. Many of us creative types always feel we must be generating output, producing and the result is fatigue, a sense of failure, and most of all, a blank page. I am learning that this rest period is vital. We are like vessels that need to be refilled on a regular basis in order to give back to a thirsty world in need of HEart.  Love what you do, and have fun. 

Thank you Anita, for sharing your poetry, glimpses of your beautiful French Cottage and the genuine artistic talent that your caring soul is infused with.

If you would enjoy seeing more of this talented poet, inspiring artist and decorator you will find Anita Rivera on INSTAGRAM.

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  1. I am totally honored. Reading your frame around which lays my ideas, it is truly a collaborative work of friendship, honor and FUN! Jemma, I don't remember how we hooked up on Instagram, but am I ever glad we did. Your kindness was immediately recognized, your sense of genuine character, and your sense of fun stole my heart. Thank you for this moving and beautifully articulated honor. WOW, this is really a blast, sharing each other's passions! Tons of love to you dearest Jemma! XOXOX Anita

  2. I really enjoyed this interview and getting to know Anita, too. Her photos and her home exterior and interior decor was very inspiring! I will go check out her Instagram.. did you give a link to her blog? I couldn't find it. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  3. Really nice interview with Anita.

  4. How beautiful! I'm off to visit her. :)

  5. I know Anita, and her works, her sweet bricked English cottage and the evolution of her transformation of turning her home into a French villa that speaks her language she so understands.
    Art is just in you, and you know it from birth, it becomes a life path and you become this gatherer of what is placed before you.
    Art should never be forced, it should just freely flow allowing each piece to tell you what it wants to read like or what it wants to become. I admire all the artist out there in blog land and feel in each and everyone of us there is an artist of sorts in some form locked away waiting to be found.

    I have followed ANITA, way back when her home was taking on a remodeling, a room addition of French charm. It's always inspiring to take in what bloggers share, we all find a bit of ourselves in each other that we connect with.
    Nice post, and an honor to be selected to be featured in a beautiful publication as Prairie-Style with Fifi O'Neill and her beautiful good company of staging artist and photographers who leave a lasting impression on one who has shared any part of her visits.

    See you soon.


  6. She is a beautiful lady and amazing inspiration to us all! What a wonderful interview. It's an honor to get to know her better! Sweet hugs, Diane

  7. My gosh- What an amazing woman and what a wonderful interview with her, Jemma. She is lovely on top of being talented. I can see why you love having her as a friend. Thanks for the introduction and I just picked a copy of that magazine up the other day and will do a short post on it soon. xo Diana

  8. I adore Anita!! She is so lovely and has a gifted spirit. I miss always reading her blog but I am so happy for her to be adding her talent to this magazine!

  9. You did a wonderful job honoring Anita's talent and many gifts. She's an amazing woman...

  10. ANITA...........oh how I love her! This picture of her just makes me smile; so soft and elegant, yet courageous with a keen mind. Her home is the loveliest, and that picture of the stagecoach has always been one of my favorites. She's a teacher, a wife, a friend, an artist, a writer, a photographer....... a gracious woman who teaches and comforts and loves in a way that only she can, just by being her. Isn't her cottage gorgeous, and I think I could frolic in her front yard all day hehehe.

    She shines in my heart each and every time I talk with her.

    What a nice interview this is, Jemma.

    love, ~Sheri

  11. Enjoyed reading the interview of Anita. Thanks for sharing them...

  12. Jemma, I really enjoyed this interview on many levels. Thank you, to both of you. xoox Su

  13. Jemma, I really enjoyed this interview on many levels. Thank you, to both of you. xoox Su

  14. Hello Jemma, what a wonderful interview with Anita. I love the images, just beautiful. Thanks for sharing, enjoy your new week!

  15. Great post! I am a big fan of Anita's!

  16. Thank you for this marvelous interview about Anita.. I have known her for many years, and have found her to be not only a gifted Artist , writer and inspiration, but truly a kind and giving soul.. Her smile brings joy, and I am blessed to have actually met her face to face.. A lunch in Old Orange, then antiquing with her and her dear husband, Ruben. Anita is what you see.. A force of love, laughter and light. A true friend. I am so very proud of what she has accomplished.

  17. Hi Jemma, I am so thrilled to see Anita here in your wonderful interview. She is a dear and encouraging friend and this was a great post to showcase her journey through the years and creative talent.
    Her photos and poetry are ever inspiring. It is so exciting she has a poem published in Prairie Style Magazine. Thank you for sharing this incredible interview. Love to you and Anita. cm

  18. I really enjoyed learning about Anita - she was a friend to another friend I used to follow.

  19. So perfect and beautiful. Anita is such a beautiful woman with a heart of gold. So many talents. I am so happy for her and the things she has accomplished. You were so thoughtful to share this with your readers. I know Anita is over the moon with this blog post. I just love her and you too Jemma. xo

  20. I have been an enthusiastic follower of Anita's blog for several years now and have enjoyed our off-blog exchanges as much as her beautiful writing and photography online. Thanks for offering such an insightful, informative and lovely profile of a really remarkable woman. I learned things I never knew and have a rather big smile on my face right now, just thinking of her work -- and your tribute. Lovely, Jemma.

  21. Once again I'm so appreciative of the diversity in your blog posts. This time around, thank you for introducing to many of us, at least me, to Anita. A lovely talent. I love to read poetry and I love her input on creativity. I know for me it ebbs and flows and there are times when I really think I just don't have 'the right stuff'. We have to make our dreams a tangible goal, and that's not always easy for creative souls. As Anita also mentions, we need to take breaks and not feel like failures.

    Again, thank you and I'm off to Instagram! :)

    Jane x

  22. Anita's writing and photography is almost as beautiful as she is.

  23. What a beautiful article about Anita and her world of beauty!!!! You have captured her heart here and
    quite exquisitely!!!! Truly an inspiration. I am honored to be her friend, even though we have not
    met in person, we became friends several years ago through blogging. This interview is marvelous!!!
    ~ Violet

  24. Such a treat!
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

  25. How nice to get to know Anita! Thank you for introducing her, her home and her lovely poetry to us!

  26. Beautiful post and tribute to the talented and very special, Anita Rivera. Thank you for this excellent interview. I've been a friend and follower for years, and all the while have admired Anita's talent and focus. She is an incredible woman. It is a pleasure to see her honored on your bog, Jemma. Thank you!

  27. I just adore Anita and it is so nice to learn more about her. I was disappointed when she stopped blogging, but now I follow her lovely photos on Instagram and I saw her poetry in the magazine!! I can say I knew her when! Congrats to you lovely Anita and thanks for sharing her inside story, Jemma!

  28. Anita is truly one of the kindest people in Blogland. I had no idea anything about her other than that fact and about her beautiful blog. And I had no idea she was so gorgeous on the outside as well. It was truly a pleasure to learn more about her. Thank you Jemma!



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