Artist Statement

Armitage, Ruth 1

My current series, Down on the Farm, deals with my connection to the land, specifically the family farm. I paint abstracted aerial views of the fields and forests with an emphasis on color, shape and mark making.  Rich, vibrant color embellished by narrative and symbolic pencil and brush marks tells the stories of my connection to the land that has been home to my family.

While my earlier work explored family relationships, this series focuses on relationships with the natural world. I am interested in linking the ideas of nature and farming to heredity, inheritance, history and birthright. As a fourth generation Oregonian, the character of the land and its seasons and changes over generations is of particular importance. Stewardship is not just a word, but a daily practice for farmers.

I work in watercolor, acrylic and oil mixed with cold wax, but viewers often have difficulty telling them apart. Use of strong, saturated color has become my hallmark. My strongest artistic influences have been Bonnard, for his translations of domestic scenes into shimmering kaleidoscopes of color, and Milton Avery, whose quirky shapes were drawn from his family and surroundings.

Most of my paintings begin with drawing a few simple shapes on the page. I add color and detail intuitively as the work progresses. I work from imagination and observation, often combining both in one painting.

Ruth Armitage  is a signature member of the  National Watercolor Society , Rocky Mountain National Watermedia, California Watercolor Association and the Northwest Watercolor Society, and Past President of the Watercolor Society of Oregon. The Watercolor Society of Oregon has awarded her its Outstanding Service Award. She is currently planning a large joint exhibition between the Watercolor Society of Oregon and the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies. Ruth’s work has received many local and national awards, including the Loa Ruth Sprung Award in the National Watercolor Society’s 95th Annual Exhibition.

Inclusion in numerous national publications and exhibitions has led to wide-spread recognition for Ruth. You may have seen her work profiled on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s “Oregon Art Beat.” Most recently Acrylic Artist Magazine ran a 10-page feature article in their Spring 2016 issue.

You can find Ruth’s work in Portland at the Portland Art Museum’s Rental Sales Gallery, and at Mary Lou Zeek gallery in Salem, Oregon. She is a gifted  instructor and has juried several local and state exhibitions. She enjoys sharing the creative process in the classroom and watching lightbulbs come on in her students’ eyes. Read their comments about Ruth’s classes on her Workshops’ page. Ruth and her husband Marc, both fourth generation Oregonians, maintain a small farm and studio in rural Oregon City.

In the words of Ruth’s Students:

I really appreciate you as a teacher as well as an artist. I’ve had lots of workshops with many different people – some of them quite famous. But you have been the best at actually teaching as opposed to demonstrating or having students copy exactly what you are doing.”

Corinne McWilliams

I enjoyed your teaching style. Thank you for the very helpful critiques. I tried things I had never done before and left with concepts I know I can continue to work on.”

Sue Anne Seckora

“Ruth is an outstanding art instructor for both beginning and experienced artists working in watercolor and acrylics. She puts much thought and planning into her workshops which helps students’ learning. Ruth is passionate about painting and her enthusiasm is inspiring. Also, she is a genuinely nice person and her workshops are fun as well as educational.”

Hal Wright

“Ruth teaches us design, cloaked in creativity.”


I wanted to tell you how pleased I was with your workshop at the Village Gallery. I have heard about working in a series before but no one ever pointed out how to do that. I liked your presentation style and the way you encourage people to find their own style rather than push yours.”

John Mohney

“Ruth, I think you are a wonderful teacher. Thank you for your positive and fun attitude. I especially liked to learn from your example, and I was glad to see you paint and struggle at times too…then solve whatever problem a work presented.”

Debra Chase

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