A Conversation with Percy Ritchie


These illustrated audio segments are from a conversation Percy had in March 2001 with Kelowna artist, Sara Lige. Through the winter, Sara had been helping Percy organize and document her work.

Both the documentation and the conversation have been invaluable to the development of this website.

Conversation segments:    

Sara’s thoughts;

My experience of working with Percy during the winter and spring of 2001 is a cherished memory. What started out as a documentation contract turned out to be a rewarding friendship with both Percy and her husband, Fred. The Ritchies were so graciously hospitable and always made sure that there were cheese sandwiches and tea available when required!

Percy was sometimes a reluctant interviewee and needed a little prompting. She didn’t think it would be very interesting to talk about going to art school in Paris in the 1930’s, for example, which to my ears sounded fascinating.

Our recorded conversations were sometimes interrupted by Fred banging around in the basement or starting up the lawnmower just outside the window, but Percy and I always had a chuckle about that when it happened and didn’t hold it against him.

What did I learn from Percy during our time together? On a practical note, to make sure all my own artwork was documented (with one date and one title!). On a more personal level, I was privileged to observe the practice of a mature female artist who chose to combine having a family with her studio practice and furthermore kept up her practice until the last few months of her life. Percy had an intention with regard to her work that she did not waver from. She did not appear to be motivated by the commercial market, but rather stayed true to a well formed approach to her work, although I believe that there were certainly times in her life when the sale of some of her work would have been very welcome. I observed a woman artist who was actively engaged with her world, both in the wider context and the smaller community, and was always immersed in learning… always reading.

I think of Percy often and greatly value our time spent together.