How did you get started in the art business & a bit about your background...where you grew up and school etc?
When I was a child I found myself wanting to make art and after watching a Saturday Draw-Along TV show I realized being an artist was something I loved and could set my sights to do. I say that to let you know art has always been a part of me but finding my own art making took years.
My first formal introduction to art and design was in college with an elective class needed for my teaching program. I was reluctant and nervous about taking the class. It was this first design class that sent me on my way and let me know how much those first thoughts as a child were truly meaningful. I continued to take art classes and did my best to keep some form of art through study or on my own in my life. There did not seem to be time enough to work, raise children and spend time making my own art. When my children were young I found it difficult to be there for my children and work a regular job. I wanted to be available for school meetings and stay home with my children if needed I decided to start my own art related business.
I lived in Los Angels at the time and decided to be an Art Representative and gathered together a group of artists. My clients were ad agencies, graphic designers, magazines, record companies and direct corporate accounts. I took on several illustrators and photographers and spent my time cultivating work for each talented artist. I also previewed artist's portfolios and suggested clients that would be a good match for the individual artist. This was a time before email and all client contact was done in person giving portfolio showings Follow up visits were made between client and artist once the job was secured. I negotiated the fee for jobs as well as billing and collection. I wore many hats and needed the trust of both client and artist to be successful. I was the voice, the go-between, for both artist and client.
After several years representing artists I was offered a job to work as an outside sales representative with Arc Com Fabrics at the Design Center in Los Angeles better known as the "Blue Whale". Being in the design center was a daily dose of design perfection that was presented to designers and architects. I was totally absorbed in the design world and loved it. I traveled Los Angeles and the outer areas presenting the corporate fabric designer line to interior designers and architects. Again I was surrounded by art and doing small projects of my own when I had time.
When my children were older and in college I took the opportunity to move out of Los Angeles and was hired as a sales representative for a wholesale flower grower and shipper in San Diego County. It was a big change of clientele. I no longer wore silk blouses and gaberdine skirts with spiky shoes but I was once again immersed into a beautiful industry and was able to travel to Holland to meet the top people in the floral industry. I traveled for the company and learned floral design.
A few years later I married and moved with my husband to the mid-west to be a farmer's wife. Once again this move was a major departure from the California culture I had known. I never thought I would be driving a tractor or baling hay. We planted acres of flowers and my design skills became the center for a bouquet business. On the side I became interested in fiber arts and was invited to Washington DC to the White House for a Christmas Art reception with one of my designed fiber pieces. Basketry became its own art form as I designed sculptural vessels and had my work shown in galleries across the country. I also designed a line of children's baskets called, "Wild Pony Baskets" that have given children a true art-craft to weave and learn the ways of an ancient culture. I was immersed in fiber arts but I still spent time painting and continued my quest to be a painter. Each step I took in my past careers groomed me for taking on my own art career. I continued taking art classes and art workshops and thinking seriously of the day I would be a full time artist.When my husband and I decided to move back to California I knew it was time to take my love of painting seriously We found a beautiful property in the remote foothills in northern California. A studio was built and I started painting every day.
What are the various ways you have received commissions for your art work?Presently I am painting abstract works but my first paintings were landscapes and animal portraiture. Commissions came my way though through my Texas gallery, website inquiries, horse show introductions, visiting veterinarians to our ranch. People saw my work and wanted to have their horse, cow, or dog painted. My work was being represented and I was showing yearly at Western and Museum Art Shows. I was making sales and enjoying the painting process. When I changed my painting style I have had to reestablish my marketing and am looking more to painting what inspires me rather than finding commission work.
Do you think that you have an ability to see differently from other people? And do you think that unique ability is what has catapulted your career?Art is in every part of my life. I see nature's design daily as I look out to the open fields and the tall mountains that surround our ranch. My abstract works are fundamentally found in the lands that are a part of my everyday life. I feel strongly about painting what I love and have made a DVD "Art Inspired with Oil and Cold Wax" that follows me through a shopping mall in Malibu finding art inspiration to paint. The video gives examples of how to gain inspiration from what may appear ordinary at first until you stop and see what is there.
What is your favorite part of working as an artist?My favorite part of painting is when I start to paint there is a feeling of excitement that takes me in and fuels each step in the process whether I am painting in the studio or on location with plein air.
What advice would you give to young artists just starting out? If you were giving advice to a young student or an emerging artist who is getting a lot of negative feedback from family or friends, what advice would you tell them?It seems if one takes a stand and begins a project there is always someone that will tell you that you are not good enough or your work will never be meaningful and the list goes on and on. My suggestion for an up and coming artist is to paint and paint and paint. Hold your work close until you feel your own confidence build and track your work and watch how your work changes and grows. There are mentors and teachers that can give you insight into your work. The most important person to listen to is yourself. As you grow as an artist you will see that growth. Try your best to listen to your own voice and be willing to continue to be open to learning.
Do you think you made sacrifices to be able to work as an artist? And if so what were those sacrifices?I feel that I made sacrifices to find time for my own art. I was a single mother for several years. I was very busy with work and child rearing. I found art within my working life representing artists and working in industries based on artist's labors. I chose to wait to work as a full time artist.
What is the most exciting thing that has happened to you in your art career and how did it happen?I remember the day I received an email from the White House asking me to participate in an art showing during the Christmas holidays. I was asked to design an ornament for the occasion. I walked into where my husband was working and he asked if I had seen a ghost because my face must have been so pale. I told him about the invitation to the reception and he immediately called the White House to verify the email. We went to Washington DC, had a tour of the White House and enjoyed a lovely luncheon. It was truly a very special day and I met artist from all over America.
Do you do a lot of commissions or make the paintings first and then hopefully find a buyer?There is nothing better than to complete a painting and have it whisked away by a caring patron. Seeing the work appreciated and purchased that was transformed to the canvas from your own inspiration is so satisfying. With that said commission work can also be satisfying in its own way after the format is suggested and understood
How do you think the web has impacted the art world?The Internet has changed the art world as we all have experienced in different ways. The galleries held the power to help establish an artist and I believe they also helped artists and marketed artist's work with a more hands on approach. The Internet has given the individual artist a way to market their art and to be seen internationally. I do believe most artists would still like for their art to be seen in an upscale gallery. The marketing process is a daily part of an artist's life and the Internet has helped establish artists and given them a platform to have their work seen.
Tell me a little bit about what your current work is dealing with?My paintings are abstract using oil & cold wax medium as well as paper collage. I see these two mediums merging as I continue to experiment with both mediums. My paintings and my palette reflect the seasons that change from with new green grasses in spring to golds in summer and finally to white in winter. I paint the creek as it rises up and slows and finally is swallowed by the sands in late summer. I paint the passing storms and the morning sunrise and the evening sunset as they show themselves. Nature is the essence of my abstract paintings and it brings me great peace that I hope to transfer to the canvas.I enjoy the lovely textures and workability that can be achieved with oil and cold wax. The base for my work can vary from wood panels to printing papers as well as handmade Japanese papers. My current work has been featured in the book "Wabi-Sabi Painting with Cold Wax" by Serena Barton and will also be featured in the coming book "Cold Wax Medium" by Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin.
Please complete this sentence: Art is...Art is what is in view when we stop to look.See Ruth's work http://www.artspecifier.com/mod/artgallery/index.php?artist=2296