content_copyArtist Statement – Ruth Hunter Studio


Artist Statement

The impressionists make a claim on natural light in the ways they invented to depict how it behaves in nature.. through observation.  That is an idea.  


My use of color, is derived from experience remembered…  

Memory that is informed through the senses… color in terms of emotive power.  

By balancing the contrasts warm and cool.. light and dark.. subtle and acute..  

This is how I find the light that lives in inside of me..  

I experience painting through sensation. 


Before I begin painting.. 

I mount oil paper onto a sealed birch wood panel for the smaller works or  I am rolling out and cutting canvas..stretching it across the panel… 

The production process is very grounding for me…and while doing the handicraft work of it, I think about what I might want to paint, but most often.. I don’t know what…as I rarely start with an idea in mind

When not knowing grows into a great moment of uncertainty, only then can the true beginning be made. 

Armed with a brush loaded with paint.. 

Making that first mark is like shouting into an empty room.. 

What happens after that is more like swimming..


Mark making is my first language. 

Going back to my earliest memories of childhood…  

My favorite place to play was this wet place near the back of our trailer home where the spring water mixed with the black prairie dirt.

I can remember how it felt to put my hands in it… 

..and then the impulse of placing my muddy hand on the side of the house and the print that it made… 

Now that’s an idea…and one which has always been mine to claim.


As mark making is the gateway to language.. 

..the story I’m here to tell can be found between the layers of it. 


So..what has inspired this twenty-five year obsession?… 

I’ve always said, that half the work in painting ends in failure and the other half earns back the privilege to do it again tomorrow. 

The inspiration from failure is different than the inspiration from earning back the privilege..  though, both have something to do with finding something that I haven’t seen or used before.. 

..and then being honest about that..  

The finding is what inspires..

Through the process of layering marks and at times breaking down or excavating the surface… 

figures emerge.. 

Underlying colors and interesting shapes inform the emotion of the gestures.  

I am discovering the idea… finding it.  


Studio life is shared with my partner, Raymond, who is also a the living room of our little one bedroom apartment in st johns. 

Keeping it organized is a must so that each of us can access our tools while painting..  Taking turns between the easel and the workbench.  

It took us nearly three years to get it fully functional..then the pandemic came last march…

Thankfully, we had stocked up on supplies for painting so that we didn’t have to enter the market place while we self quarantined throughout the year… 

We continue to keep each others spirits up by discussing art, walking the neighborhood, photography…I've even found a new obsession with my little corner garden in the studio..playing in the dirt again..

..and reminding each other that returning and remembering our childlike curiosity for discovery is what’s most important in daily life and in painting…


Ruth Hunter - Portland Artist


photo credit: Raymond Chorneau
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