"Vigil" ©Ruth Armitage, Watercolor on Yupo 26"x20"

“Vigil” ©Ruth Armitage, Watercolor on Yupo 26″x20″

I was remarking to a friend today that even though I am busier than ever, the holidays seem less rushed this year. Perhaps this is because I am making time to paint, and that makes me feel calmer. This painting began in October in my Spark Session workshop. I had a difficult time bringing it to resolution, possibly because it was such an emotionally charged subject for me.

The painting was inspired by a conversation with my mom, in which she directed me that when the time comes, she would like to have her body brought home and have the rosary and vigil on the farm. Mom had been going to quite a few funerals that week.

The painting is still part of the “Down on the Farm” series, but shifts from a view of the land to a view of Mom’s living room. The armchair, which I have changed from violet to gold, will probably be the one item that all my sisters will compete for when Mom passes.

I think it is fitting to finish this painting just before Christmas, as the word vigil can also be used to mean the eve of a holy day. I think many of us see this period just before the solstice as one of watchfulness and wonder. One of my favorite places in church is the area used for votive or vigil candles.

Holding the light, keeping awake, and devotional are all ideas associated with the word vigil. In many ways, my whole series of work about the farm is a form of vigil, watchful observation and meditation.

I hope that as we move toward the longest night of the year, you are able to keep a wakeful watch for the beauty in the world, and celebrate warmth and love for your fellow beings.


Open Studios This Weekend

Open Studios This Weekend

"Halloween" ©Ruth Armitage 2013, Mixed Media on paper, 15x15"

“Halloween” ©Ruth Armitage 2013, Mixed Media on paper, 15×15″

You’re Invited!

Who: Ruth Armitage, Painter & Darla Lynn, Mosaics

What: Open Studios of  Beavercreek

When: Friday through Sunday
10 am. – 5 pm.

Where: Ruth Armitage Studios
Click here for a map!

Why:   Art, demonstrations and Inspiration

We have had such glorious fall weather, and fall is one of my favorite seasons in Oregon. No rain for the past few weeks has had forecasters dubbing this ‘Dry-tober’ and we have had record warm temperatures. I’ve been out in the garden, planting trees and cutting things back. I know this won’t last and the rains will return.

When I wear myself out, I retreat to the studio. I’ve had several demonstration paintings going, from the Emerald Art Center Demo and from my studio workshop two weekends ago. The painting above was from the workshop, and was inspired by a memory of my father reciting “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert Service.

We had few close neighbors on the farm, so our trick-or-treat involved driving to my grandma’s house (about 7 miles away) and to her neighbor, May’s, house. The drive was often spooky, foggy, moonlit, and accompanied by my gruff-voiced father’s recitation. Ah, the excitement and anticipation. We often were treated with favor bags full of goodies by each granny.

I may have time to post one more teaser before the big studio tour, but if not, I hope you’ll stop by to see the art in person. If you do, mention this blog for a special treat from me!



Back to School Nostalgia

Back to School Nostalgia

The season is here for back to school preparations: parents, kids, teens and teachers are gathering school supplies, shopping for school clothes, decorating bulletin boards, dreaming up dorm room layouts, and getting organized to prepare for the first day of classes. It seems the summer is winding down, with more mellow  weather too. This painting was inspired by summer thunderstorms, always a dramatic event during harvest.

"Summer Storm" ©Ruth Armitage 2013 Acrylic on Yupo 20x28"

“Summer Storm” ©Ruth Armitage 2013 Acrylic on Yupo 20×28″ SOLD

Since my kids are out of school (just one left in college) this season brings on a sense of nostalgia for me. I’ve always loved school, from kindergarten through having my own classroom! I think my love affair with art first started when I opened that fragrant box of eight chubby crayons and the jar of paste with the little brush built in to the lid.

This past week I got into an organizing frenzy in my studio and started going over the calendar. I’m offering several classes in the coming year, and figured it would be a good time to get them on the calendar. Still room in my Creative Spark Session in Salt Lake City, coming up next weekend! I’m busy packing goodies for the class 🙂

If you are ready to get back to a painting routine this fall, sign up for an art class  with me. I offer some wonderful creativity starters, and we always have  productive, inspiring sessions. Check out all my ‘Back to School’ offerings, including a special Columbus Day Seminar for Intrepid Explorers, on my Workshops Page.

Need more inspiration? Please enjoy this poem by Tom Atkins, kindly reprinted here with permission.

Art Class

by Tom Atkins

You draw,

not well perhaps,

with tiny lines, not quite straight,

proportions less

than perfect,

the tower leaning,

like a tree battling a hundred years

of winds,

not the stuff of art school,

a clutterscape of pen and ink,

details abound, and yet

the impression

is abstract,


not the stuff of museums

or glossy magazines,

but something else,

something that resonates

with line and color,

the black ink, scratched

on textured white paper

crying out for

order and fairy tales

that we dream of,

yet never quite

come true.

And yet,

long after class is over,

and the teachers are gone,

you draw

your life, flawed,

at times smeared and untidy,

beautifully imperfect,

but undeniably,

and unexpectedly,


Springfield Here I Come…

Springfield Here I Come…

Waterlily, Japanese Garden

Waterlily, Japanese Garden

“Sometimes I arrive just when God’s ready to have somone click the shutter.”
– Ansel Adams

The universe has its own quirky sense of timing. You can never predict how things will work out, but they usually do! A while back, I sent information to the Emerald Art Center about teaching a workshop. I didn’t hear from them, but I did get an invitation to jury the Mayor’s Art Show along with local watercolorist Beth Verheyden.

It is always an honor to be asked to choose work for a statewide exhibition! When I got a call from the Emerald Art Center recently asking about teaching, I thought it might be an add on to the Mayor’s Art Show gig.

I was thrilled to schedule a workshop for November there, and surprised to hear it had nothing to do with the jurying. I was requested by a former student, Nancy Erickson Ward. Thank you Nancy! I am flattered that you enjoyed our time together & you felt it valuable enough to put in a request!

Here are all the details:

Light Your Creative Spark at Emerald Art Center

All Watermedia: Acrylic, Watercolor, Gouache, Collage…

November 9, 10 & 11 (Veteran’s Day Weekend) 9-4

Members $180, Non-Members $205

Register Here!

In order to garner a bit more interest for the class, I will be demonstrating my work during the art walk on Friday, October 11, 5:30 pm at the Emerald Art Center! Mark you calendars and come by!  And don’t tell me I didn’t give you enough advance notice 🙂

I have several new paintings that I’ve just finished. I decided to have them professionally photographed this time, so you’ll have to wait to see them. Click the Subscribe button in the sidebar to get new posts emailed to you!




"Spring Forest" ©Ruth Armitage 2013, Oil on Panel 11"x9"

“Spring Forest” ©Ruth Armitage 2013, Oil on Panel 11″x9″

This is another plein air sketch from Boskey Dell Nursery last month. Our weather here has rapidly progressed to summer, and I’m missing the crispness of spring! Getting out and painting with friends is one of my favorite ways to spend a day. This quotation sums it up for me:

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. -Albert Schweitzer

My ‘Spark Session’ last weekend was just that… a rekindling of spirit, for myself and my students! We enjoyed painting together, looking at great art, and even snuck in some time sharing the nearby labyrinth. I’ve walked them alone before, but this was my first time sharing the experience with others. What a joy!


Judy and Shawn on the Labyrinth

The other Judy, working!

The other Judy, working!

Our instigator, Jennifer

Our instigator, Jennifer


The other friends I’ve been spending time with lately are books. My book club has recently chosen some new reads, and I am eating them up like candy. Here we are at our 20th anniversary meeting! These women have become some of my closest friends, and I look forward to our gathering each month for a wonderful meal and meaningful discussions.

First Tuesday Literary Society

First Tuesday Literary Society

Here are some links to my recent reads. I’m warning you though, they are addictive! I think I read each of them in 48 hours or less! Happy reading. The first and second are moving portraits of friendship. Click on the book images to go to the page for each book, or check them out from your local library.



A Long, Sad Kiss Goodbye

A Long, Sad Kiss Goodbye

“A Long, Sad Kiss Goodbye” ©Ruth Armitage Watercolor, 22×30″

I’m teaching at Keizer Art Association this week. Trying to encourage the idea of painting in a series, choosing a subject that is important and personal. What fascinates me about doing this, is that each painting in this series has taken on meanings that I didn’t intend. The painting above was begun on the day I learned of the death of an artist buddy, from a long battle with cancer.

Long goodbyes. They can be bitter or sweet, often both. Though this painting is another in the ‘Down on the Farm’ series about my connection with the land, it is also about long goodbyes, love and loss. This is a very different palette for me, inspired by the girls bathroom at the farm. Those who have been there will know why I wanted to paint something to hang there! Perhaps the wild woman who hangs near the shower will finally be de-throned!

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