Abstract Painting – Hot Wind – Three Painting Ideas

Abstract Painting – Hot Wind – Three Painting Ideas

"Hot Wind" ©Ruth Armitage, 2014 Watercolor on paper, 30"x22"

“Hot Wind” ©Ruth Armitage, 2014 Watercolor on paper, 30″x22″

Looking at this on the computer made me realize that I like it, despite the criticism I received about a certain area of the painting. Seeing an image smaller on the screen really helps me see the whole at once. In my blog surfing this morning, I particularly enjoyed this blog by Rebecca Crowell about Coping with the Negative in your art practice. Be sure to click over to the linked and related Comic by DoodleAlley!

“Hot Wind” began as a demonstration in my January Art Journey. I took my time finishing it, adding more glazes of opaque watercolor, mixed with Jacquard iridescent pigment. Very hard to capture the sparklies that are there, but if you zoom in, you might be able to see them. Perhaps I can post a detail shot?

Close up of the sparkles...

Close up of the some of the sparkles… Everywhere you see white glazes, they are iridescent.

Hot Wind detail two

One of my other favorite areas… I love how the yellow marks show through the opaque watercolor so subtly.

Though this painting looks sort of wintery, my original idea was to paint the shimmering heat waves over a field at harvest, and contrast that with the cool river and woods of the upper part of the painting. I’m not sure I accomplished it, but I do like the painting. My other goal was to paint something fairly high key, in contrast to yesterday’s post of a low-key painting.

When I say High-key, I am referring to a painting with mostly light values or colors, and Low-Key would be the opposite: mostly dark values or colors. I love the subtlety of the layered glazes at the bottom here; they remind me of the muted golds of harvested fields, and I think they echo some of the beautiful color in the upper portion of the painting.

It would be an interesting exercise to paint from these cropped detail images. I think the compositions are fairly interesting. So, here are three ideas for painting subjects in a different way:

1. Approach with the idea to do a painting that is more High-Key or light values

2. Do a similar painting trying for a dominantly Low-Key values like “Night Walk”

3. Crop an existing painting and use the resulting composition as the start of a new work

Tracking Progress

Tracking Progress

small more than ordinary

This new year, I have set more specific goals than I have in the past for my art business. I owe the accomplishment to Alyson Stanfield, author and coach at ArtBizBlog. I am happy to report that I have achieved my income goal for January.

One of the challenges will be to keep the momentum going through each month of the year. In thinking about how to do this, I have fallen back on using my calendar to make sure that I give enough time to all aspects of my art, from creation to teaching to marketing. If you need somewhere to write your goals, think about my art calendar: In the Studio with Ruth Armitage… the colorful paintings will make you want to check in daily!

The reviews are coming in from last weekend’s workshop. So far, all who have taken the survey were extremely satisfied. That makes me very happy 🙂 Here are some comments from participants:

“Thank you Ruth for a most enjoyable and informative workshop.  I know I came away with more to think about than I was actually able to execute – but I know these thoughts will be in my head the next time my brush hits paper! ” -Marcia

“Ruth- thank YOU for sharing your insights and knowledge with us in such an honest and helpful way.  Your metaphor of taking a journey was interestingly applicable and understandable. I especially benefit from your reminders to play , create, and push comfort zones.

You are a joyful artist who relishes the process and potential of painting. I have modified  my 2014 art goals to embrace that way of thinking. I’m excited to continue my tree series and finish what was started at your workshop. It was great to watch you paint and see how your painting progressed over time.

I appreciate all the effort and planning you did for the workshop – you’re a fabulous teacher and a warm generous spirit! ” – Jean

Putting goals on the calendar makes me realize how much time each task really takes, and keeps me accountable to myself. I also use this blog to review how far I’ve come in the past years.

I have never really been a journal keeper, but I do enjoy sharing my progress in art this way. It reminds me that though there have been peaks and valleys in my achievement, the general direction has been upward growth. If the goals were easy, we wouldn’t be as interested in achieving them, right?

I also look at putting things on the calendar as a sort of manifestation. It makes me realize that if I want something, I have to make it happen. That includes putting myself out there by asking for what I want, and analyzing the results. My friend Margaret has a great blog post this week about listening to feedback and tracking the progress of an individual painting here.

I saw the ask and receive theory come into practice this month when I approached my gallery for a solo show. I now have another new goal: I am working toward a showing of “Down on the Farm” paintings at Riversea Gallery in June!

A fellow artist and friend, Katherine Dunn, of Apifera Farm is also working toward her next goal. Katherine has a farm and studio near Yamhill, Oregon and her herd of Katahdin sheep is the origin of most of our ewes. Her illustrations and art are whimsical and dreamy, colorful depictions of life on the farm. Each June she celebrates with visits with her sweet donkeys and pie.

After the success of self-publishing her book Misfits of Loveshe is setting out to publish another book entitled Donkey Dreams. You can help her achieve this goal by supporting her on Kickstarter. It is tough to put ones dreams up for support, and I admire her drive and tenacity! Go Katherine!

If you enjoy my posts on Art Is Truth, please share them with a friend and sign up to receive new posts via email or feed reader. I hope you find something interesting that brings you back for another visit! And I invite you to visit me on some of the social media sites. I often post interesting art links…. simply click on the icon of your choice in the sidebar!

15 Reasons to Quit Painting

15 Reasons to Quit Painting


I met with a group of artists last night, and as usual was stunned that some of them had not heard of Robert Genn and The Painter’s Keys.  If you are interested in art, his newsletters are always thought provoking. In a recent post, Genn talked about the art of negative thinking. He highlighted a study that showed artists who are self-critical are more successful than those who are ‘perennially upbeat.’  I have seen this in action, and while I believe that most successful artists have a certain amount of confidence and self esteem, it is also true that they are their own harshest critic.

I started this post in February of 2011, after a particularly rough barrage of rejection letters and low sales. I didn’t quit painting… I furthered my resolve. Although plenty of artists find good excuses to lay down the brush, none of these reasons seemed quite worth sacrificing the thrill of  finishing a painting that expresses my own unique esthetic and emotion or the satisfaction of knowing my art connected with a connoisseur.  That said, here are some of the negative thoughts that were rolling around in my head. Simon Cowell was here, laying it on the line.

  1. When people ask you “Are you still painting?” you can  exclaim “Nope, I finally gave up that bad habit!”
  2. Your walls will finally match your furniture
  3. You can get a ‘real’ job
  4. You won’t have to worry anymore about whether your work is finished
  5. No more subjecting your work to others for judgement
  6. Inspiration can be someone else’s worry
  7. Whether your work has meaning will no longer be a concern
  8. You can devote more time to golf
  9. Travel can now be devoted to eating well, not the vistas and sights
  10. No more impersonal rejection letters
  11. When you go to work, you will know exactly what to do
  12. No more ‘groping’ for something you’ve never seen before
  13. ‘Studio’ space can be devoted to exercise and meditation
  14. You can throw away all those bad paintings accumulating under the bed
  15. When you talk about your ‘style’ you can be referring to your clothes or your life, not your work

Leave a comment: If you’re an artist, what would be one reason you would give up creating? If you are a collector, your purchase may be the one that dissuades an artist from quitting altogether. Support artists in their struggle by affirming that the work they do is valuable and worth collecting. There is no endorsement that is more convincing than a check.

PS: if you have been wanting a chance to collect one of my paintings, I’m hosting a contest over on my facebook page: Ruth Armitage Studios. “Like My Page” for a chance to win, or to throw a little extra encouragement my way…

Sitka Invitational

Sitka Invitational

Next time I’m going through rejection depression, someone please remind me of this month! Yesterday I received an invitation to exhibit in November at the World Forestry Center in the Sitka Invitational. If you haven’t been before, this is a big honor. I love being part of a show that celebrates our connection to the earth, and supports a beautiful place: Sitka Center for Art & Ecology, in Otis, Oregon. I wrote about a workshop I had with Bill Park in this post: http://rutharmitage.com/from-desert-to-rain-forest/

This is just the type of goal I needed 🙂 Last night a friend was asking me… where can I see your work in Portland, what do you have coming up? Here is the answer! This year I’m planning to show some of my new aerial landscapes. Hop on over to my Facebook Page & see one! While you’re there, be sure to ‘like’ my page… and feel free to share it! If you’re in Nw Oregon, enjoy the sun today… I know I will!


Connections – Getting Ready for Year 5 of Art is Truth

Connections – Getting Ready for Year 5 of Art is Truth

Sarah Sedwick, Annie Salness, Sarah Peroutka, Jo Reimer, Randall Tipton, Celeste Bergin, Carol Marine and I

Sarah Sedwick, Annie Salness, Sarah Peroutka, Jo Reimer, Randall Tipton, Celeste Bergin, Carol Marine and I

It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to, the feeling for the things themselves, for reality, is more important than the feeling for pictures. -Vincent van Gogh

As I did a couple of years ago, I’d like to celebrate blogging and the connections I’ve made here, by hosting an online art exhibition! June will mark the 5th year of Art is Truth’s presence on the internet. In those five years, my work has changed, my horizons have broadened, and I’ve had the chance to meet and become friends with many artists through their blogs. I like the idea of bringing their work here to share with you, because I think it helps to further our connections. Sharing their art is good for patrons and artists alike, and makes the world a more beautiful place.

Here are the details:

Who: anyone who reads this blog

What: Online art show

When: Email images and info to ruth (at) rutharmitage.com by May 25, 2013.

Why: Celebration and Sharing

Where: Here!

I will link your image to any site you choose, just send me a working link.  Watch this space in June for the next gallery of images from readers… I’m looking forward to it!


My work “Shy” has been accepted into the Red River Watercolor Society’s Annual Exhibition in Moorhead Minnesota. I also have a painting accepted into the National Watercolor Society’s Membership show in California- “Harvest Moon.” I’m thrilled with the recent successes!

2012 Year in Review

2012 Year in Review

Merry Christmas, from my house to yours!

Merry Christmas, from my house to yours!

As 2012 winds down to a close, I wanted to take some time to wish everyone a warm and peaceful Christmas season. Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings 🙂 I often write a family Christmas letter, filled with a summary of family news, and it never really seems quite right to catalog my art activity during the year in a Christmas letter. But people often ask me: “Are you still painting?”

This year I decided to take Alyson Stanfield’s  (ArtBizBlog)  suggestion to review the year’s accomplishments. Check out her post at the above link for a handy list of questions!

I love the quote below… It’s true we often fail to take into account how much we accomplish! My blog was a huge help in compiling this list. Art Is Truth was a virtual journal for me; and it made me realize what a valuable record-keeping tool it is!

I can’t really imagine that any creative artist wakes up and feels, “How good I am!” and “look how far I have come!” because you know yourself to be up against your limitations.   –Elizabeth Hardwick, writer

Over the course of the year I have:

  • written 75 blog posts
  • participated in two invitational shows
  • been juried into three competitive exhibitions
  • delivered new work to 2 galleries
  • entered over 20 juried shows
  • developed a new logo
  • created a demonstration video to promote my classes
  • done a guest blog post on a mentor’s website: Thanks Judy Wise!!
  • gained 93 new ‘Likes’ on my Facebook Page
  • exhibited in Salem, Dundee, Astoria, Portland, Welches, Florence, Lake Oswego, Moorhead Minnesota, and Paso Robles California
  • been featured as one of Donna Zagotta’s “Top 15 Blogs to Watch
  • improved my photoshop skills
  • juried a local art show
  • visited over 20 different art museums and galleries in Phoenix, Sedona, New York City and Washington D.C.
  • traveled to the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies in Las Vegas, NV to represent Oregon
  • received the Top Award in the Central Coast Watercolor Society in Paso Robles California
  • received an Achievement Award in the Watercolor Society of Oregon‘s fall show
  • worked on the Board of Directors for the Watercolor Society of Oregon and Western Federation of Watercolor Societies
  • taught four watercolor workshops
  • took workshops from Skip Lawrence and Randall David Tipton
  • begun a new adventure with oil painting
  • begun a new adventure with painting on location

On a personal level I did a few new things too:

  • hatched a brood of baby chicks with a ‘broody hen’
  • planted a huge number of new plants in the garden
  • bred my sheep to plan for lambs in the spring
  • hosted some fun parties with art buddies and family friends
  • traveled to NYC, Arizona and Washington D.C.
  • watched two daughters graduate from college
  • planned my mother’s 80th birthday party
  • made new art buddies

I am hoping to fill 2013 with an even longer list. Do you list your biggest accomplishments for the year?

Pin It on Pinterest