Call VAS: (703) 319-3971
HOURS: Tu-Sat, 10am-4pm

Why I Paint What I Paint — Program March 8

Ruth Ensley will present her art experiences at VAS meeting on March 8 at 10:30 in the VAS Art Center.  

When asked about her program, Ruth explains, “why I paint what I paint, and how I create the images and compositions that I use” through her art experiences, range of subject, and varied style. She is a member of VAS, Potomac Valley Watercolor and Springfield Art Guild. Her work is often included in exhibits at Green Spring Garden Park and the VAS Gallery.  Ruth’s presentation is sure to be captivating.

From There: War (Vietnam), collage circa 1970-1973, Ruth Ensley

From There: War (Vietnam), collage circa 1970-1973, Ruth Ensley

To Here, watercolor by Ruth Ensley

To Here, watercolor by Ruth Ensley

In her own words

I will show and talk about how I started my painting in the mid 60’s, what I did, why and what I believe.

I will continue on to show how and why my painting and subject matter and media changed.  I will also explain how I develop my paintings (the design and composition).  I will discuss and show how I build the intensity of color using transparent layers and build the depth of textures shown in my work.  I have always been aware that I have to have some kind of an emotional attachment to what I am painting be it just a love of birds, which I find fascinating, and make me smile with stronger emotions of sharing in the human condition.  I strongly share with Skip Lawrence the belief that “Realism without an idea is an illustration and Abstraction without ideas is a decoration”   

And In Between: Cycle Of Life, watercolor circa 1982, Ruth Ensley

And In Between: Cycle Of Life, watercolor circa 1982, Ruth Ensley

My work in collage ranged from non-objective designs and abstract landscapes to people from 1965 til the early eighties.  I used a very limited color pallet.  At the same time I used my black and white photography as inspiration for the subjects of the collages, which were mostly indigenous women. I wanted to show the universality of what I was seeing and feeling as I traveled from country to country.

I also worked in batik as a break to the more serious collages.   The subjects were various animals but predominately birds.  During this time I was also showing jewelry.  In the late sixties I had taken graduate courses in photography, jewelry, and textile design.

Upon arriving in Costa Rica in 1984,  I switched exclusively to watercolors as I became much more enthralled with the colors of the tropics.  I had already seen first hand the devastation that deforestation can do from other countries that I had lived in.  My main concern has been what would be lost as the forests disappear.  It was there where my training in color, design, and composition really came together.  Watercolor is the perfect media for me to explore textures, transparencies, and color that I saw in those varied forests.

Ruth showing how she creates an interesting composition

Ruth showing how she creates an interesting composition

This media also allowed me to create the compositions that I imagined could  exist within a tropical eco system.

See more of Ruth Ensley’s art on her Gallery page http://viennaartssociety.org/ruth-ensley/

and more of Ruth Ensley’s art here  http://www.springfieldartguild.org/ruth-ensley/