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Donna Ruch About

Kodiak, Alaska resident, wet on wet style oil painter, mainly self taught, diagnosed with cancer, had surgery, chemotherapy & radiation, cancer free 9 1/2 years 13 comments


Born & raised in Oregon, I moved to Kodiak, Alaska in 1976 with my husband who was a commercial fisherman. For several years I watched an instructional oil painting class using the wet on wet technique on PBS & marveled at the work. The instructor would say ___anyone can paint___ which sounded appealing to me as I had no previous painting or drawing experience since my grade school days when we would make papers to take home to our parents. The instructor would also say ___there were no mistakes, only happy accidents___. Being a perfectionist & sometimes unwilling to tackle new projects for fear of making a mistake, this sounded like something I could do.

It wasn__™t until after my cancer diagnosis in 2000 that I decided it was time for me to paint. I had surgery, chemotherapy & radiation. God has gone before & taken care of all the details & I continue to be healthy & cancer free. It was during my time of radiation treatment that I first put a paint brush to the canvas. I painted from memories of watching the TV program but decided I needed to watch a few more programs before trying again. My first mountains looked like mountains but had no character. I couldn__™t quite figure out how to make the brush work to do pine trees & they ended up looking like weeping willows. I still have that first painting. (see From the Beginning Gallery)

In 2001 I continued to watch the instructional program on TV & even purchased some books & videos. I began to paint off & on & enrolled in a college class for watercolor. The instructor graciously let me use oil in the class while everyone else used watercolor. I was able to learn basic techniques even though the wet on wet style I wanted to learn wasn__™t taught.

In August 2001, my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor so I stopped painting & gave my paints away. My husband passed away April 2002. I decided to start painting again & it was as if I could see things more clearly. I began seeing mountains & clouds like I__™d never seen them before. I began looking at the trees & the way the sun & moon played among the clouds. I took another college class & I learned a little more but again the wet on wet technique wasn__™t taught. I struggled with one of the lessons during class, unable to paint the scene as instructed so came home, found a video of a similar scene & then painted the scene from class using the wet on wet technique. What a difference it made. It was a much better painting. (see From the Beginning Gallery)

In 2003 I was encouraged to attend a 5 day Art Alexander workshop in Oregon where I did one oil painting a day under the instruction of Master Artists. What an experience! After returning from the workshop I moved into a new home that had an out building I turned into my art studio.

I continue to paint off & on & mainly use oil as my medium. I have used Genesis some & have just started using acrylic. I have always wanted to paint flowers & this summer had the opportunity to take a 4 hour class learning the one stroke style using acrylics. July of 2008 & 2009 I had the opportunity to show my art at a local coffee shop, sharing the walls with another artist. Next year I plan to have the walls to myself.

My ___photo___ is of a lady wearing purple. It came about when I took my husbands insulated coveralls & stuffed them with plastic shopping bags. Added some gloves, old boots, found a Halloween mask that wasn__™t too scary & attached that to a foam head used to hold wigs. I didn__™t want him to be alone so I created the purple lady. (see From the Beginning Gallery) That was the start of my working name. I also have purple tubs, anchors & rocks in my yard. Yes, I have a purple couch & I wear a lot of purple clothes. I even have all my friends & family trained to only give me something with purple.

If you__™re going through deep valleys right now just remember: God has already gone before & taken care of all the details of your life. He is carrying you in the palm of His hand. Isaiah 40:28-31


2608 Spruce Cape Road
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