Collecting deposits now for 2019 France workshop

I am now collecting deposits ($500 US pp) for my 7-day painting workshop from April 1-7, 2019 in France's gorgeous Lot Valley (just north of Toulouse) at the beautiful Domaine du Haut Baran.  This updated French chateau is run by William and Rosalie Haas, accomplished hosts who will take care of every detail and will transport us to many great painting locations in the area. This location has been the setting for dozens of highly-acclaimed painting workshop experiences with well-recognized artists.  See their website for details about the site (

The fee of $3000 US includes workshop tuition, double occupancy accommodation in luxuriously-appointed rooms, transportation to and from the airport and throughout the week, and most meals, prepared by accomplished chef Rosalie. The spring timing will mean cooler temperatures and fewer tourists, for a unique and enjoyable experience.

The week will be designed to review foundational painting principles and apply them to both studio and plein air painting.  I will be demonstrating in pastel and acrylic, but painters in any medium are welcome.  This session will be suitable for any level, beginner to advanced.

Spaces are limited, so contact me ( to reserve your spot soon!

Ruth painting pastel 1.jpg

Pastel Journal Feature article

The Pastel Journal magazine has been the single most important resource for me as I developed my skills as a pastel artist over the past dozen years. I have every issue since its inception at the kitchen table of pastel artists Maggie Price and Janie Hutchinson, through to its continuing excellence under the steady hand of editor Anne Hevener of F&W Media corporation. I have written a number of articles for the magazine about other pastel artists' work over the years, but it is a great pleasure to announce that the current issue includes an article that features my own work!

I was asked to write a piece for the 'Creative Life' column, tracing my experience of creating the sixty 'Beach Bits' paintings to commemorate my sixtieth birthday in 2016.  Pick up a copy of the April 2018 issue and tun to page 10! The four images they chose to illustrate the piece are some of my enduring favourites from the series.  Hope you enjoy reading the article as much as I did writing it!


Bucket Brigade ; the original painting can be seen in the offices of Dr. Brian Nelson, ophthalmologist, in Sechelt, BC.

Bucket Brigade; the original painting can be seen in the offices of Dr. Brian Nelson, ophthalmologist, in Sechelt, BC.

Federation award

I was pleased to have two pieces in a recent 'Works on Paper' show at the Federation of Canadian Artists' gallery on Granville Island, and even happier that one of them, Knock Three Times, received an Honourable Mention award.  Both works are now back in the studio and available for purchase.

Knock Three Times, mixed media, $650 framed

Knock Three Times, mixed media, $650 framed

Morning Meditation, pastel on paper, $700 framed

Morning Meditation, pastel on paper, $700 framed

Animal Totems--a new series

For over thirty years, my parents had an Airstream trailer dealership which, in accordance with our family's love of puns, they named Totem Trailers (towed'em, get it?). Perhaps it was a childhood surrounded by the logo of a totem--on the road sign, their letterhead, their business cards--but I've always had an affection for this iconic image.

Recently, I noticed a billboard ad for one of the four (?) pet supply stores in our small village.  It featured a Golden Retriever with a bird perched on top of its head, and the store name was "All For Pets." It got me thinking about the role pets play in our contemporary households.  Research indicates that, in 2015, Canadians spent $4.1 billion on their pets. Somehow the image of the dog/bird, and my thoughts on pets, and the totem image, all came together and I imagined a totem of pets. This idea has little to do with First Nations totems; rather, it represents a message about what we revere, what we spend our time, money, and resources on. Please note, no judgement of pet owners is intended (I have had many beloved pet companions myself!)--just thinking about our value system...

So here's the first result, which uses some of the same techniques as my recent Pacific Northwest bird series:

Pet Totem  Mixed Media on canvas, 30 x 60 $1200

Pet Totem Mixed Media on canvas, 30 x 60 $1200


Having completed this image, I found that the idea went further.  How about another totem of the 'wild' equivalents to these pets?  Do we give as much value, time, and money to these animals as we do our pets?  Something to think about...

Wild Totem  Mixed Media on canvas, 30 x 60 $1200

Wild Totem Mixed Media on canvas, 30 x 60 $1200

I'm still thinking--perhaps a totem of agricultural animals (chicken, pig, cow, horse?) and one of endangered animals (elephant, panda, cheetah, gorilla, condor?).  Not sure where this series might yet take me...we shall see.

An Update on these two pieces--they were selected for installation at the brand new Gibsons Public Health Unit (located opposite the Wheatberries Cafe, on the Sunshine Coast Highway in Gibsons). I hope they bring much enjoyment to the staff and patients for many years! At the official opening on January 11, I was touched by my conversation with the Squamish Elder who blessed the unit--he supported my message about valuing animals of all kinds, and generously sanctioned my use of the First Nations symbol of the totem.  As he said, "It's all the same thing, the same message!"