Learn More About Ron

A native of Loretto, Pennsylvania now living in Pittsburgh, Ron Donoughe is best known for his spirited realistic landscape paintings of Western Pennsylvania. He has a B.A. in Art Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and has studied at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California.

Like many painters he has held a variety of odd jobs – landscaper, gravedigger, chicken catcher, art teacher, museum installer, graphic designer, and college instructor.

He works full time now as a professional artist/painter. His work can be found in many corporate and private collections as well as the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, The Westmoreland Museum of American Art and The University Museum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Ron’s interest in plein art painting led to the formation of The Plein-Air Painters of Western Pennsylvania. The group meets informally to paint Pittsburgh from April through November. In addition, his work has appeared in 12 films which were shot in the Pittsburgh region.

Please visit this link to see the journey Ron took in 2014 as he painted his way through every neighborhood in Pittsburgh – all 90 of them!


I’m also using Instagram for weekly posts


One cold day in a cornfield changed my life. That day I had taken my paints to a remote area to do a painting on location. I went there with the desire to make an ‘‘honest’’ painting, because I felt much of my work up to that point was clever and contrived. As I watched the way the light changed the landscape, I suddenly realized that my art could describe my experience, and thereby connect me to the world. The painting I did that day was not very good, but it captured the spirit of what I saw. That desire to capture the spirit of a particular place and moment has stayed with me to this day.

Painting from life has become a ritual for me, but it is also my work. Every day I go somewhere to make a painting without knowing exactly what will happen. Because I have no preconceived idea as I set out, my subject matter is unlimited. I might choose to paint a scene on the basis of light and shadow, or because of the feeling I get when I see a lone building at the top of a hill. I do not seek postcard scenes; I seek an intensity of feeling that comes only from being in a particular place at a particular time. So many things in the landscape are interesting, especially here in Western Pennsylvania: steel mills, city skylines, snow-filled parks, twisting side streets, and even back yards. For me, it is a painter’s paradise.

My small panel paintings are completed within a day. Light changes so quickly that I must get something down before the scene becomes entirely different. I have found I can usually finish these paintings in my studio from memory after getting a good start outside. Often I go back to the site at the exact time on a similar day to finish the piece. I am trying to capture a moment in time, and the light must be unified for that to happen.

When I look at a scene, I analyze the colors, simplify the shapes, mix the paint, and then put it all together very quickly. This is a skill that has taken me many years of experience to develop. It becomes a struggle against time and the elements, especially when working in windy or extremely cold weather.

Ron Donoughe, June 2006

Video credit: Thanks to Darren Samuels for creating the video at the top of this page. Visit Darren’s vimeo page to see more of his work.