Sarah (Skinner) Ruh has been a lifelong artist, with a passion for painting that dates back more than 20 years. She also creates work in other media, including drawing, printmaking, collage and graphic design, sometimes blending disciplines into mixed media pieces.
Born in Kansas in 1978, her family moved multiple times during her childhood, first to Muncie, Indiana and then to West Lafayette, Indiana. Wherever they moved, she always found her closest friends through a shared love for creative expression – from music, literature, and theater to visual arts. She graduated from West Lafayette High School in 1996, and later went on to earn a BA in Fine Arts from Purdue University in 2000 where she studied drawing, painting and printmaking.
After college, she moved to Austin, Texas with her husband, Brian, and began a career in graphic design, web design, and marketing communications. In early 2015, they moved back to the Lafayette area with their two daughters.
Sarah now balances managing a web design company alongside her studio art work (which explains why her laptop often has paint smudges on it.)
My paintings often walk a fine line between abstract and representational, hinting at urban environments or natural landscapes, yet remaining open to other interpretations.
I typically begin a painting by immediately covering the entire surface with a base layer of color. From there I work by responding to the colors, forms and textures that emerge. While I may have a general theme or color palette in mind, I find I get the best results when I’m open to what is revealed in the moment. I’m able to lose myself in the creative flow and allow the painting to unfold without a specific end result in mind.
I often draw inspiration from the study of geology, and the effects of water, wind and time on natural and man-made structures. As I gradually build up layers of paint and selectively remove areas of color, it reflects the processes of sedimentation and erosion, creating complex surfaces that offer glimpses of what lies beneath the surface. Sometimes the first layers of the painting end up entirely obscured, but those hidden layers were an important part of a discovery process that led to the finished piece. The result is a composition that contains many subtle details, encouraging the viewer to discover something new each time they encounter my art.