The third time, they say, is a charm, and if that’s the case, then Ruth Allen should have a spectacular showing on the walls of the Tomato Head. Ruth’s work captured Mahasti’s eye during a visit to Big City Bread Cafe in Athens, GA. Mahasti recalls that, “there was a really cute artist studio in the back. It was closed, but we peeked in the window and saw some really cute whimsical clay pieces and some of the ones that really stood out turned out to be Ruth’s. When we went into the Café, they had her art on their walls. Her work is so colorful and pure it immediately caught my attention, so I spent most of my time at the bakery walking around looking at her work. “
Ruth brings a fascinating technique and vivid eye for color to her work; this particular exhibit will be no exception, and Ruth expects that we’ll see, “Birds, deer, a rabbit, some tulips, and something strange…” all in a variety of sizes of acrylic and mixed media on canvas.
Although she’s painted a variety of subjects over her career, many of Ruth’s strongest images come from the animal kingdom. “I have always loved animals, flowers and nature,” she says, “I am usually drawing and painting about my love of something. If it’s not love, another strong emotion. It’s a way of communicating…maybe something for which I have no words.” It’s almost ironic, then, that, at times, she seems to capture fauna in an illustrative way, almost as if they were mid-speech in some fascinating adventure.
The shape, line and color of Ruth’s work create a distinctive form – in fact, many of the comments that she hears refer to the singularity of her painting. But Ruth isn’t conscious of pursuing a particular style. Instead, she says, “I take in a lot of visual images via Instagram and curated quite a collection of inspirations during the beta testing days of Pinterest. My influences are many. It still comes back to love. If I love someone else’s work, it can’t help but be reflected in mine, but I do try to be aware of that when it’s happening. So, I confess my loves for artists like Michael Banks and Lauren Marx, who are the most prevalent influences lately. Not that I am anywhere near their league!! Still, I have a great love for what they are doing.”
Ruth’s training came from a gifted teacher, but she says she “did not study art in college though, as much as I wanted to. I let some life events kind of derail that idea… I’m really just doing something I love and sharing it in whatever way I can.”
As her exhibit clearly demonstrates, the path of the artist doesn’t always follow an academic course, but Ruth is adamant that, whatever you do, if you have a passion for art, you ,“Never, never give up. Never stop. When anyone, including your parents, tell you that you cannot make a living doing your art, just know that you can’t really live without doing it.”
You can see for yourself now through November 6th while Ruth Allen’s exhibit hangs in the Market Square restaurant. The show will move to the Gallery location November 7th at remain there until December 5th.