Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Ruth Draper - Art a Life Long Passion
Not many people can say they were born in a farmhouse on the kitchen table. Ruth Draper can. She came into this world from just outside the hamlet of Bond Head in the 1930's. "My mother lived to the age of 95," she says with a laugh.
Ruth started painting 55 years ago when she got married. During her childhood she was too busy with Junior Farmers and 4H (showing cattle and vegetables) to get involved with art. Her mother, however, was an artist, and one day Ruth joined her for some classes. Jessie Monkman of Cookstown was her teacher.
Ruth's first love was with oils until their use was banned at the university she attended (to prevent use of turpentine in public places). Ruth found the switch to acrylics difficult. "They are much too harsh' she says. She thins the acrylics with water, otherwise she finds them unworkable. When she first started painting at the age of 21 she was taught to use a paint brush for roughing in her drawings rather than
a pencil. She says it is rare to use black paint, and that any shade of blue can be used in a shadow. Payne's gray is her favourite colour.
Ruth uses photographs as a reference while painting. To start a painting she decides on the main colour of the photo and washes this colour over the canvas. The Nova Scotia landscape she is working on has a soft yellow base which reflects the geographical tones of the area.Then she blocks in the placement of the buildings, rocks, and water. Despite the fact that the photos form her composition and vision,
Ruth redesigns while painting and sometimes incorporates features from other photos. In the Nova Scotia painting, she chose to use the sky from a second photo.
"That is what you do when you are an artist. You take a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and you put it together in a pleasing way" Ruth says. "I don't paint perfect" I tell my other artists, "your buildings are too straight". My husband agrees. "If you want perfect you can take a photograph".
Ruth is a retired school teacher. Over her long career she worked at a secondary school in Barrie for 23 years, and several other schools closer to home. She still sees former students in the neighbourhood. "Some aren't much younger than me and they still call me Mrs. Draper", she says with a laugh.
She and her husband - who jokes has put up with her for 55 years - like to travel and took an Alaskan Cruise for their 45th wedding anniversary. They have two children Sandra and Wayne, adopted when they were just seven and nine days old.
Ruth's gallery, Art Unique, is in her home just north of Cookstown. It is open seven days a week, with the occassional closure for holidays. Hand made jewellery with glass beads, crystal quartz and fresh water pearls are available for sale, as well as china painting and the works of 21 consignment artists. Framing, including customs mats, is available. Ruth teaches pottery, painting and jewellery making. Proof this it is never too late to learn something new, Ruth has started working on the potter's wheel at the age of 77.
In addition to art, Ruth enjoys her flower garden. She is a member of the South Simcoe Palette Club, the Bradford Arts Guild, and many community organizations and events. She also participates in the "Around the Corners Studio Tour', which takes place in the fall.
It is my whole life really, Ruth says of her art.
You can see more of Ruth's work featured at Art Unique by clicking here.
For more information about "Around the Corner's Studio Tour, click here.
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