Sunday, December 27, 2015

Working the Darks in Painting

Working the Dark

Evening Light      Watercolour    Ruth Hayes

Struggling with darks in painting, loving the dark, working the dark all become metaphor. December is the darkest time of the year and getting through the dark days of winter or life can be a challenge. I have had to work hard to say anything good about winter most of my life but started succeeding when I began noticing how beautiful it could be. Without getting too philosophical it is often the contrast, or the light, that becomes all the more vibrant due to the dark. In painting it is the strong rich darks that make the light areas appear luminous and glowing. This is especially true in watercolour.
In other areas it is the dark rich soil that grows the the first shoots of spring, and in the dark night of our sleep that dreams shape new creative visions. So, there it is, might as well work with it, accept it and appreciate dark for the positive that will emerge.
It is also the dawn of a new year. This can be a great time to set new creative goals and work with them in the long nights of winter. Once again I offer a series of six week sessions or one day Saturday workshops. Working with the energy of a group provides extra warmth and enthusiasm. My classes are small and supportive. The six week sessions start Tuesday or Thursday evening January 12th or 14th and the first Saturday workshop is January 23rd.
For more information click on Classes or email me:

May the hopes and visions born in the dark of winter bring you light and happiness in the year ahead.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mixed Media

                                            Mixed Media

"Love and Light" Mixed Media   Ruth Hayes
After years of working in the media of watercolour I still love it.
I love the washes of pure colour, the playful textures, the "happy accidents", the spontaneity, and a hundred other reasons why it seems to be my media of choice. However I started in oil and have always loved pastel and now "works on canvas" seem to be part of the scene and this often includes a mix of several media from watercolour, ink, collage, pastel or acrylic. Mixed Media could be done on paper, canvas, illustration board or wood panel. What can I say  except that it is all such fun. Whatever I want all in the same painting with few rules?
Where I might have hit an impasse with a work in only one medium I can now give it new life and new energy with a coat of gesso,  a few strokes of pastel, a bit of collage, or some torn newspaper. A bit of imagination and risk-taking and a work becomes a dynamic exciting piece that I could not have envisioned when I started.

Art making is truly a journey, and the journey is the excitement of the creative process. Some of my mixed media works will be displayed during the upcoming Beach Studio Tour Oct 23rd, 24th and 25th. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Dance of Light

Light That Dances

It's a hot Sunday afternoon as I sit near the water. Some things delight the eye and some things delight the soul but some do both and more. I  live near the lake and have seen it so many times but I never cease to be  entranced by the the dance of light on the water. Everything sparkles in the shimmering light and the artist in me would like to paint it, capture it, put it in a painting. I think of Monet and his ongoing efforts to capture the light. Everything vibrates with light and colour and movement and I think capture is the wrong word. Capture would pin it down and it would be gone. It is free and beyond containment. Hopefully my painting might evoke, elicit, suggest the magic of the summer's day. I could resort to taking a photo. That never does it.
I love the challenge. Art always does more than reproduce a picture. I hope I will remember the warmth and beauty of this moment in the cold grey of January.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Gift of Plein Air painting

The Gift of Plein Air Painting

There is something about paitning outdoors. All of the senses are alert and heightened with the fresh air the smells, and the sound of birds. At it's best it's wonderful or I could go on about the whine of the mosquitos buzzing in my ear as pending rain threatens and cold winds try to blow the painting all away. It is all part of the experience and why so many artists love it so much. I recently took a class of students out, some very new, and I was amazed at what they did. The work was immediate, direct and spontaneous. I felt that energetic flow between nature and artist. That seems hard to come by in this age of phone cameras and computers. So often now it seems as if all our experience comes filtered first through the lens of the camera, even those most sacred moments of birth, marriage and death.  Being present with reality as opposed to the image of reality means being first and foremost present to the moment and present to ourselves. What a gift!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Beach Studio Tour Spring 2015

Art that Connects

"Song of Spring"   Mixed Media    Ruth Hayes

 It is less than two weeks from the Beach Studio Tour on the weekend of May 1st, 2nd and 3rd and I 'm asking myself if I can possibly be ready and why am I doing this?  As with many artists I work alone and from my own inner space. It is then scary to put our creations out into the world. However what completes the equation is a connection and sharing of what has been created.
When I get asked how can I open my home and studio I think warmly of all the many warm and lovely connections I have made through meeting and getting to know people who have bought and collected my pieces over many years. I wouldn't know you if I sold only through a gallery or agent. I still have the note from a collector who told me he and his wife had just sold the family home and bought a smaller condo but somehow they had still managed to find a spot for all my paintings they had collected. I treasure my own collection of  handcrafted items and it means a lot to hear that my paintings have touched a chord, been seen, felt, or just enjoyed. The viewer becomes part of the creative equation in the appreciation and observing of an artist's work. A studio tour is a special and unique way of doing so.
I would love to meet you on the The Beach Studio Tour as you visit the different locations of various artists and artisans. Friday night starting at 6:00 pm  I will be holding a wine and cheese reception at my location 17 Fernwood Park Ave.  Saturday and Sunday I will be open 10 am-6pm.  I t would be great to see you during any of these hours. This is a free walking tour in the Beach at a beautiful time of year. Enjoy the Lake, enjoy some art, and enjoy the tour.

Ruth Hayes   Watercolour   Mists of Magic

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Mystery of Art

The Mystery of ART

"The Most Beautiful Thing we can experience is the mysterious........  "
Albert Einstein

Tree of Life Watercolour - Ruth Hayes
"Tree of Life"     Watercolour  Ruth Hayes
    Having always loved a good mystery must explain I think my total love of the creative process. The mystery occurs not so much in the how to's of painting but where the soul and heart and spirit of being human are stirred and moved and touched. The tools for me are colour, shape, texture and value but for a poet it could be the use of words or a dancer movement. How can a beautiful piece of music send the soul soaring? Looking at the colours in almost any Van Gogh will amaze and delight my eye as well as heart. A mystery is elusive and hard to describe but here I am trying to do so because it drives much of how I paint . As an artist I continually try to improve my skill but am aware that  the excellence of a piece of work might have little to do with highly developed technique. This is why Art is available to all-no experience necessary. It is unconditional in its expression through any and all of us and and a mystery as to how it can speak to one but not another. It is universal but subjective, relative and absolute. Is it any wonder it has me captivated.

     As another winter slowly shifts into Spring a number of my new pieces are trying to resolve their mystery enough to be finished for the Beach Studio tour coming up May 1,2 3.  That might or might not happen. I can only hope. The weekend tour is always fun and I hope to see old friends and new.
"Song of Spring"  Mixed Media  by Ruth Hayes

Follow the Journey with this Video Tutorial
Intuitive Wet in Wet Painting From Start to Finish 

               "Art is a Journey"

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Being a Mother and Being an Artist

Rambling thoughts on life's journey

Climbing Those Rocks!   Watercolour  Ruth Hayes

    Perhaps it is a cliche to say that life is a journey but it is such an apt description. What is even scarier is that it often brings you back to where you started. Starting out upon graduating with my degree in fine arts I realized I needed to discover my own voice separated from the voices of the instructors that had filled my head for four years. Within a year however my arms, my heart and my mind were filled with the arrival of my first child. I was entranced and with it came a renewed burst of creative energy. Instead of life models in a studio I had this tiny perfect being inspiring me to sketch and paint her amazing little form. It wasn't what I had envisioned as being an artist but I committed to painting what was around me in my environment. The next few years brought a challenge to find time to paint as well as raise two children but they became subject matter for many paintings. My decision to paint what I loved opened doors, and galleries and opportunities for which I am grateful.
 All artists must grow, and certainly my babies did. Time passed and I reached a point where I headed back to school to complete a master's degree in Expressive arts therapy. For me it was a journey that explored the great Mother, the dark Mother, the black Madonna and more. I went deeper and learned and grew. My painting changed. I changed. I felt I knew ART in a new way. I hold a deep reverence and awe for the power of art to heal to touch and bridge all the many realms of our human experience. I continued to paint, exploring abstraction, symbolism, myth, nature and whatever else. Years have passed and still someone will find me and inquire about a painting of  a child on a beach they bought. Am I that artist? I live in Toronto on the Beach and participate in the Beach Studio tour and this Spring as a theme they have chosen Mother's Day as a focus because our tour takes place the week before. I smile, yes, I can do Mother,  still do mother but not the sentimental aspect associated with the day set aside.  Mother, that great creator  in us all has been the inspiration of my life's journey.
   May 1, 2, and 3 are the dates of the Beach Studio Tour this spring. It would be a pleasure to see you if you care to drop by.