Seasons and Change – New Work for Portland Open Studios

Seasons and Change – New Work for Portland Open Studios

They say Change is inevitable but Growth is Intentional. I have a few new pieces for Portland Open Studios, getting them framed up this week! Please plan to visit me October 14-15 or 21-22, 2017 from 10-5. My studio is #7 on the tour in Community 1. There are several other great artists showing in our area! You can download the free app with addresses, or the paid phone app that shows 3 images per artist. Here is the link! Or you can purchase the tour book, which also includes a directory of teaching artists. Only $15. I have several available here at the studio. Here is a link for a map to my studio from points North. And this link provides a map to the studio from points South.

This week will be my first try at framing an oversized work myself (Fishing in the Dark – below.) Wish me luck! My least favorite part is placing plexiglass over the mat and painting without getting any dust or specks on it! Difficult! If anyone has any tips or tricks for this, I’m more than willing to listen.

"Fishing in the Dark" Watermedia on TerraSkin, 30"x30" ©Ruth Armitage

“Fishing in the Dark” Watermedia on TerraSkin, 30″x30″ ©Ruth Armitage

Changing Artwork

I adore this change in the seasons and cooler, crisp fall temperatures here. My mom reminded me that each fall and spring, during the Big CLEAN, her mother would rearrange all the artwork in the house. It is amazing how changing the position of a painting lets you see it with new eyes. I’ve been doing a bit of that myself… getting ready for the Portland Open Studios tour. I think this year I will re-hang work in other rooms of my house too. I’ve had to do that unintentionally, since I robbed our powder room for the Local 14 show last weekend. I didn’t get all my paintings packed up and have to go back for them! OOPS! So I put Orchard’s Edge in the powder room instead of “Autumn Tilling.” I like how it looks!

Complex Vs. Simple

Orchard’s Edge is an homage to this fall weather, the neutrals, and subtle colors of grasses against the backdrop of a dark orchard. I have been thinking about my parents’ farm and what it will look like when the hazelnut trees are grown up. I don’t like to think about how that change will look. But I have to accept it. As a painter, it is difficult to abstract something like an orchard. I chose to represent it as the dark band at the top of the painting. The next band represents grasses, and the bottom area represents water. Attempting a banded composition like this requires an artist to find exciting ways to break up all the stripes and make each one interesting, to hold the viewers eye.

"Orchard's Edge" Mixed Media on Paper, 15"x22" ©Ruth Armitage

“Orchard’s Edge” Mixed Media on Paper, 15″x22″ ©Ruth Armitage

I have been finding that many viewers prefer a calmer composition like this to the more complicated, active compositions of a painting like “Seismic Shift.” Just like some people prefer seafood and others prefer steak… What is your preference? Do you prefer simple or complex paintings? Leave me a comment.

“Beauty is the only thing that time cannot harm. Philosophies fall away like sand, creeds follow one another, but what is beautiful is a joy for all seasons, a possession for all eternity.”

-Oscar Wilde

Don’t Miss This Weekend’s Local 14 Art Show

Don’t Miss This Weekend’s Local 14 Art Show

This weekend I’m participating as a guest of the Local14 Art Show! Tonight is the gala 50th Anniversary Opening reception, from 6-9 pm. $10 admission gets you a great night out with catering by Elephant’s Deliand first access to the bounty of wonderful art presented. The show is open September 28 – October 1 at the Left Bank Annex in NE Portland.

Location & Hours

Left Bank Annex, 101 N. Weidler St., Portland OR 97227 Click Here for a Map

Hours during the weekend are:

Friday, September 29, 2017, 10-7 p.m.

Saturday, September 30, 2017, 10-5 p.m.

Sunday, October 1, 2017, 10-5 p.m

Ruth Armitage at Local 14

My Space on the Main Level

There are 2 levels to this great industrial space, so don’t miss exploring all the show has to offer. You can use the bucket style elevator or the stairs to move between levels. There is so much to see, you’ll want to spend some time here! I’ve created a special box set of 4×6″ notecards for this show and Portland Open Studios. Each set contains 2 each of 4 different designs. I can’t wait for you to see them! They’ll be on the small pedestal you see in the photo above.

50 Years of History

Local 14 began 50 years ago when 14 women artists decided to host a show in a garage in Lake Oswego. ‘Local’ is an acronym for Lake Oswego Crafts and Arts League, and 14 denotes the original 14 members. The group uses this show to raise funds for arts scholarships for deserving college students. This year, they have awarded $10,000 in scholarships to 4 deserving students. The scholarship winners will have work on display during the show.

What You’ll See:

I’m excited to be one of 15 former members participating in this show to celebrate their 50th Anniversary. This location is great for all the available space. It has allowed more art from more artists than ever before. You’ll find a juried selection of jewelry, paintings, ceramics, wearables, mixed media art, photography, basketry, printmaking, sculpture and garden art, glass and woodworkingl

The Artist’s Task – Distractions

The Artist’s Task – Distractions

Current Distractions for this Artist:

These necessary tasks are distractions from the real work of making art. They use different sides of the brain, and can become difficult to manage.

What I need to Remember:

“Creative work needs solitude.” – Mary Oliver

I love this essay by one of the greatest poets of our time: Mary Oliver. It reminds me that I MUST ignore the trivial, everyday, monotonous tasks sometimes in order to accomplish what makes me an artist.

As Mary says: “My loyalty is to the inner vision, whenever and howsoever it may arrive. If I have a meeting with you at three o’clock, rejoice if I am late. Rejoice even more if I do not arrive at all.”

I must paint. Recently I’ve started heading to the studio first thing in the morning. The other tasks eventually get finished in odd moments. My first priority must be to paint, or else what is it all for?

A Giveaway for Loyal Readers

I’d love to give you an opportunity to see the great artists and studios on the tour this year. You can enter to win a free tour guide below. Best of luck to you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PDX-CSA: Community Supported Art

PDX-CSA: Community Supported Art

I’m proud to share that I’m one of six artists from Portland Open Studios chosen to participate in this year’s PDX-CSA. The concept is similar to buying shares in an organic CSA farm, but for art! Just as you choose a farm because you like what crops they grow, give them money in the spring to cover costs, and receive your food a few months later, with PDX-CSA you choose artists whose voice you like, give them money to support their creation, and then receive the art in a couple months. It is a perfect combination between choice and surprise.

You’ll be involved in the process from concept to completion. Once the art is made, you’ll be invited to the reveal party to pick it up, or if you’re from outside Portland, the work will ship to you with no handling fee. In the past, work has shipped all over the world!

PDX-CSA offers you the opportunity to support the creation of new artwork by providing artists with funds upfront. You support artists’ creative freedom and in return you get exclusive, high-quality artwork and you get to follow the artists’ process for creating the artwork from concept to completion.

You can buy a pairing and save $ or choose just one of the projects. It’s a great way to support my work as an artist and to see a series evolve from start to finish. The work in this series is only available through PDX-CSA.

This project is separate from my other series:

Working with cold wax’s ability to hold objects, Ruth Armitage will incorporate found objects in her paintings; these textures and patterns emerge from and recede into the swathes of color. Her abstracts are detailed environments, packed with marks and forms, shifts in scale and movement; intense primary colors become permeable hazes, layers are worn away and incised to reveal artifacts and further layers.

Click the image below to see my partner’s work, and the work of the other 4 artists. I’m excited to get started with these new works and to keep you updated on the progress. I’ll only be making pieces for those who invest upfront, and this is a limited opportunity. Sales end September 17th, so get yours now!

Finally, it would be great if you could share this with friends and family who might need some affordable art. It’s a unique idea, and we’d love to have the whole community know about it!


Owning Contemporary Fine Art – Cool and Sophisticated

Owning Contemporary Fine Art – Cool and Sophisticated

In my fantasy world owning contemporary fine art would be commonplace. The public would obsess about artists the way they follow the careers of musicians, movie stars and athletes. The press would report on local artists, young and old, celebrating milestones like changes in style, important awards and acquisitions. Parents would teach their children that collecting art is a luxury to crave. They’d prioritize collecting contemporary art over clothing and accessories, cars, travel, concerts and gadgets. People would compete to own the newest work in a series by their favorite artist, like they stand in line these days for the newest tech innovation.

It’s not difficult to imagine a world like this. Today digital communication and mass production have made individuality rare. How often do you receive anything hand-written these days?  Hand-made and unique items are prime for a renaissance of popularity. What else can you buy today that no one else has? I’m sure that one reason that our former home sold so quickly is that artwork was displayed throughout. It created a comfortable atmosphere in every room, not just above the fireplace.

Sharing Inspiration

I celebrate artists and their collectors: those who make the world more beautiful. It is great to be able to self-publish here on my blog, not because I want to glorify my own talent, but because it gives me an opportunity to share ideas. I hope that by sharing my dreams about the future of contemporary art, you’ll start to see it as something attainable, cool and sophisticated!

“As entrepreneurs, we must constantly dream and have the conviction and obsession to transform our dreams into reality – to create a future that never existed before.”

– Clara Shih

Below, please enjoy contributions from a few folks who took me up on sharing their art for this 9th anniversary post. It’s fun to look back and see the growth and changes. You can see other anniversary posts by clicking the links below.

8th Anniversary     7th Anniversary      3rd Anniversary

First, Margaret Stermer-Cox is an artist from Southern Oregon. We connected on the internet through our blogs. I’ve also had a chance to get to know her a bit in person through the Watercolor Society of Oregon. Here is her work “Hang up and Read Me a Story.” Visit her website here: https://stermer-cox.com/

figure painting by Margaret Stermer-Cox

©Margaret Stermer-Cox

Next, I met Chris Kondrat, through the Village Gallery of Arts. You can view more of her work on their website: http://villagegalleryarts.org/chris-kondrat/ 

©Chris Kondrat

©Chris Kondrat

You made a video? Oh My!

Finally, I want to share an interview I did with one of my friends: art collector Kim Madey. Kim definitely makes the world more beautiful! She shares her lovingly curated home and collections with friends and family. Her parties are legendary, and I’m looking forward to an Elvis-themed bash this summer. (Costume suggestions appreciated!)

I so appreciate Kim’s support of my work. We share a common bond through the art that makes me feel understood. There is no compliment higher than a return customer! I hope you’ll enjoy this peek at some of my work hanging in her place, and getting to hear why and how she came to collect contemporary fine art. You can explore more videos here!

 

Breath of Spring: New Work and a Drawing Exercise

Breath of Spring: New Work and a Drawing Exercise

My new painting, Breath of Spring, began as an experiment with line in my workshop at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. One can’t help being influenced by the landscape there. However, in keeping with my series, this work was inspired by memories of the landscape on the farm. Spring breezes always brought out scents of the season…. Mud, blossoms, fresh grass and a chilly breeze are things that I thought of as I worked on this painting.

Breath of Spring, Acrylic on Paper 15"x22" ©Ruth Armitage

Breath of Spring, Acrylic on Paper 15″x22″ ©Ruth Armitage SOLD

The gold colors of the background remind me of bare winter branches covered with lichen and moss. Linear elements refer to tree branches and wetlands.

A New Discovery

One of the things I love about teaching is that because I am not trying to make a finished painting, I often take more risks than I would normally take. In this particular painting, I had borrowed a ‘coke bottle’ pen from fellow instructor Rebecca Wild and I tried using it with sumi ink. That wild experiment was so chaotic that I used a brayer to roll the light gold color over most of it, allowing only hints of it to peek through. The resulting texture was so attractive to me. Another discovery occurred during one of the line exercises I set in class. The small, staccato-like white marks grew out of that exercise.

Give it a Try

If you enjoy painting, you might like to try the same exercise.

  • Assemble as many mark-making tools as you can find: brushes, pens, pencils, sticks, pastels, crayons, graphite, charcoal, black and white paint, etc.
  • Begin by making marks that vary from thick to thin.
  • Experiment with clustering the lines together, and then letting a few stand alone.
  • Vary the direction of your lines.
  • Use some broken lines and some continuous.
  • Try for a wide variety.
  • As you work, you might consider veiling or obliterating some of the lines that stand out too much.
  • Restate some of the lines with a different media.
  • Change medias frequently.
  • Listen to music as you make lines inspired by the rhythm.
  • Make lines that imitate letter forms, but are not legible.
  • Use your non-dominant hand to draw several lines.
  • Make a few lines to convey anger, calm, confusion, movement, etc.
  • After about 15 minutes of work, step back.
  • Decide which lines felt most comfortable to you, and which ones are new to your vocabulary.

This exercise is adapted from Steven Aimone’s Book “Expressive Drawing.” I seem to have misplaced my copy 🙁 If you have seen it, please let me know!

Finally, last call to submit images for the reader’s gallery! I appreciate your time and readership. 

Missing in Action! Reward for its return!

Pin It on Pinterest