Where I am
I live in a beautiful valley in Northern California, called Sutter Creek. The hills are green in winter and turn golden in summer. It is a glorious place to live.
Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
I was raised in southern California on a small ranch. It was the country life and I spent a lot of time on horse back scouting the hills around our property.
My college years were spent in the city and then work took me to Los Angeles. I spent quite a few years in Los Angeles working as an artist representative and doing my own art on the side.
Wanting a more rural life, I moved to the San Diego area and started working for Andre Floral Company, a wholesale flower company, as a sales representative.
My first company trip was to a flower convention in Holland. The trip was the beginning of many adventures in the world of flowers. I was happy to be back in the beautiful country surroundings.
The company had growing fields in Baja California and we processed the flowers in Encinitas, CA and then shipped them across the country and sometimes across the globe.
Five years past and I married my boss. The two of us decided we wanted to experience farming as farmers and moved to Southeast Missouri. The Midwest was more than we ever expected but it was grand and our farm was our constant challenge and pride.
The farm had two rather large stable areas and an arena for riding. I had not ridden a horse in years when we trotted off to find me, the perfect trail horse.
Angel was the first horse, to arrive at the farm, a Spotted Saddle Horse. Then we bought Angel’s half sister, Mystery and then Angel had a filly, Cayenne and then we purchased a Paint filly, Hopi. We had four horses and 20 acres of fescue pasture just for the them.
I started riding weekly with a group of riders called the “Cardiac Riders “. They were a bunch of great guys and gals that grew up with horses and we would meet once a week to ride through the woods of Missouri. I saw a lot of beautiful country and met the greatest people you could ever meet on horseback.
My husband and I moved back to California in 2003 with horses in tow. Now with just five acres to care for, I have more time for painting and do my best to paint everyday.
When did you first start painting?
I took my first painting workshop from an artist, Maurice Larioux, in Santa Fe, NM in 1992. I have taken workshops with known artists and read books and more books on painting over the years.
I found the best way to learn to paint is to get to the easel and paint. The more you paint the more you learn and the more you know you need to learn.
What is your favorite animal to paint?
I love painting horses and cows. I am fascinated by the eye of an animal. If you watch carefully, the eye tells all.
Who are your main influences?
Emille Gruppe’s books have been a major influence for me and my painting. The artist, Ann Templeton taught me the basics of painting that I still use today. The artist, Michael Workman has given me a renewal of faith in my own work.
Do you (or did you) have an animal that is the muse behind your work?
My muse is to find the spirit and put it down on canvas, of each animal I paint.
I love commission painting when the owner says, it is not just a horse, it is my horse.
Do you have any secret rituals you do to help you get in the zone for your art?
Walking into my small studio is very calming. It is my own space. I always say the first step is the hardest, so sometimes I will do a drawing or some studio cleaning before getting the paint on a canvas.
Just being in the studio sets the mood for work.
Is there a particular place that brings you inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere I look. I look out my studio windows and see my horses in the pasture. The hills are in view, all around and the cattle are grazing on neighboring ranches. Just driving out of the valley along the Rancheria Creek fills me with inspiration.
What effect do you think the Internet will have on art in general?
The Internet is glorious. It has given artists the opportunity to show their work and have it be seen. No longer is emerging artist’s work hidden away.
The professional artists can be seen outside the gallery arena. Art can be seen and appreciated everyday at any time of the day.
Has it had an effect on yours?
My website is my personal gallery and I have been able to show my work and have it be seen for sales and show invitations.
Which one is your personal favorite piece?
My favorite painting is always the painting I am painting right now. A personal favorite is “Mystery” a 60×40-inch painting of my horse Mystery. The image is of Mystery loafing in the sun. You can feel the easy way of the horse and the hot summer sun.
Would you ever sell it?
If someone wanted to buy the painting, it would be for sale.
What else are you passionate about?
Life pretty much is my passion. I have found that the simplicity of life is very comforting and rewarding.
Cooking good food, laughing with family and friends, having a loving and thoughtful partner in life makes life fulfilling.
Working on anything new?
My notebook is bursting with ideas for my work. One near the top of the list is to paint a series of Ranch Women with their horses. I need to find and photograph these women and then tell their story with paint on canvas.
There is a strength and gentleness in women that I would love to portray.
More to Come
Thanks to Ruth for answering the interview and sharing her art. Be sure to check her art website for updates about her latest works.
Are you a horse artist or do you know an equine artist you’d like to see featured? Add your name and website in the comments below or drop me a note to get involved.