Friday, September 27, 2013

Artist who drinks colors and images from painting

Interview with artist Ruth Morgan by Miriam Schulman of @SchulmanArt

Today we get to meet artist Ruth Morgan who makes charming paper mache sculptures of pets and backyard creatures.

Morgan's Paper mache Raccoon Sculpture for sale on etsy
SchulmanArt: When did you first fall in love with art making?
Ruth Morgan: 
I have to say that as a child I was one of those little kids that had a notebook and wrote down things about birds and other creatures. As a child, I saw a Bluejay once. When my dad gave me a "Roger Tory Peterson's Field Guide to the Birds" for my birthday I was beside myself with happiness. We then moved from a city to a neighborhood that was full of trees and the songs of birds. I was in heaven. I began making paintings and drawings of birds as a child and continue to this day. Drawing and painting things was, for me, a great source of joy.

SchulmanArt: How long have you been a professional artist?
Morgan: I began selling on etsy in January of 2013. I had always tried to sell my work. I move to the San Francisco Bay area in 1976, believing it would help my career. I did sell work but not enough to make a living so I enrolled in technical school and learned how to do drafting. I painted when I came home from work. I married and had children in 1988 and that's when the ideas really started to roll in. I stayed home to take care of my kids and found a way to fit in my painting. I sold paintings at the Jessel Miller Gallery in Napa, CA. I had a show: "Narrative Paintings" at the "Sonoma's Own Quicksilver Mine Company" in 1989. Even so, the paintings I sold were not enough to make a living. I was in my mind trying to think of ways to do this, but with my family to raise and a home to take care of, I also was thinking I could produce the work and the rest would eventually reveal itself. When the kids were grown, I started making prints from my paintings to sell, and designing notecards from them. I started doing craft fairs. I started making paper mache airplanes with spinning propellers, and animals and ornaments and gradually improving my technique over time and through trial and error.

Get notices of her new art on Morgan's twitter feed!
SchulmanArt: Where did you study art?
Morgan: I went to Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan and earned a BFA in painting and printmaking.When I married with kids, I began to value and appreciate a sense of humor. This is when the funny cat paintings began, as well as general humor in my paintings. This is also when the paper mache figures appeared. I have always valued paintings and other objects that entertain me...that I can put on my wall and never be bored by. They tend to be tell a story.

SchulmanArt: What is your favorite art medium?
Morgan: I tend to alternate between mediums. I will work on several paintings and set them aside for a few days or a week, and work in another medium. When I go back I will see perspectives or colors that need to be changed or altered.  I can see it in a fresh and different way. Painting is my favorite medium because it is the most satisfying. I can drink from the colors and the images.
A working artist studio in the middle of the home
When I am away from the paintings, I will work on paper mache, and then go back to the paintings, and when I return to to the paper mache Just lately I have been asked to make sculptures of peoples pets, or a favorite wild animal, and I think that that will continue.

See what inspires Ruth Morgan on her pinterest page!

SchulmanArt: How do you stay focused?

Morgan: When I'm working I like to put on a video I've seen before and enjoy, so I can listen and not have to look at it. That keeps me focused when I'm working. Music that I like. Old Columbo tapes are great. I paint or do sculptures at my kitchen table. My husband sits and reads, and if he finds something he really likes, he reads to me. I'm usually able to get to my art by 3PM, then make dinner and after the dishes start on my art again. I fit my art in when I can.

SchulmanArt: What is your studio space like? 
Morgan: My studio is right in the middle of my house, in the middle of everything I paint or do sculptures at my kitchen table. My husband sits and reads, and if he finds something he really likes, he reads to me. My studio is right in the middle of my house, in the middle of everything.
Miriam Schulman of SchulmanArt :: Artist, blogger

Morgan loves gardening and nature and creating art from the world around her...what about your backyard inspires you?