Ruth Gee’s personal commitment in art is based on the Bible verse: “Finally, Brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things.” ~Philippians 4:8
Ruth was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota of Scandinavian parents. Her family moved to Bolivia, South America as missionaries when she was six months old. She grew up in the Andean Mountains among the Inca Indians, being home schooled in English while speaking Spanish, English, & Ayamara, with Danish and Norwegian words all mixed in. Ruth, her parents, four younger brothers, and an older sister moved back to Minnesota when she was a junior in High School.
There she had her first course in art, though she confesses to having illustrated her crib and any blank surface she could find while growing up. These usually included every stucco wall in the house, book margins, the dust paths, her body, her playmates, and more appropriate spots like a 4×8 foot black board her parents painted for her bedroom when she was 5. She remembers fondly staying up most of the night drawing by lamplight. All this practice seems to have left Ruth with a strong sense of form and line. Her style is very realistic and she is locally known as the “renaissance artist.”
Her favorite subjects are people. Oil painting has been her main vehicle for artistic expression. She does commissioned portrait work and allegorical paintings. In the last couple of years she has taken up sculpture as a means of helping her sister, Judy, a nurse and midwife, build a woman’s hospital back in Bolivia, S. A. near where they grew up among the Inca Indians.
Ruth has completed a life size bronze of a young woman stooping with her toe out as if to dip it in the water, and a second bronze is due out next spring of a life size child with butterfly wings called “First Flight.” Ruth lives in Hastings, Michigan with her husband, who is an attorney, and near their three sons and their families. She works out of her art studio in her home and paints or sculptures 6 to 8 hours daily. An average painting takes four months and the bronze sculpture took a year in sculpture time.
Ruth looks at art as a tool of expression, just as a writer uses words. The key lies in the value of the idea and the ability to get that idea across. “Art is a tool for expressing our hearts and heads. The ‘idea’ or ‘message’ is the real gem. Finding a medium that does justice to our idea is a struggle. Techniques and skills, availability, time constraints, cost, the public ear and eye for what we try to share, health and energy all seem to add to that effort.
Learning our lessons from life and finding the gem in the everyday is what life is about. Wisdom is needed to recognize the gem, give it a home in us and know when it’s enough a part of us to share and be authentic. At times I find what I see on my canvas has never been a conscious thought to me but I recognize it as a part of me. Without art I stand mute.”