We interviewed one of our artists, Megan Ruch, to talk about her newest paintings, displayed on the second floor of Albany Barn as part of her exhibition entitled H2O. The series, featuring water, pools, and oceans, reminds us all of summer fun.
What inspired you to create this series?
Well, for many years now, I’ve been a David Hockney fan. And he started out painting pools. And back in the 60s he was famous for some of them. I’ve loved water, swimming (I was on a swim team when I was younger). And I just love the way the pool reflects the sunlight, the caustic reflection. And whether it’s like the ocean or the Caribbean, I’ve just always been fascinated by water, and so that was my inspiration. I’ve been painting for a while, but started painting the pools in the last year.
What feeling were you trying to express?
I was trying to express a feeling of fun, like that summer feeling. Maybe some of that whimsical, fantasy, abstract, because some of the paintings, when you look at them, evoke the same feeling, but it’s not always realistic. My style has a sort of surreal, I feel like, representational feel to it.
What experiences were you reminded of when you were painting?
Back in the 70s, my parents had a little getaway in the West Indies. When I was younger, we would go and stay there. And I remember just being on the beach and just the water. I was painting then, but not a lot of water related paintings, just was painting, just anything. But I remember thinking how much I loved the water and how good it felt. I started to get into a little ocean painting, but not as much as I’ve done in the past year.
For some of the watercolor scenes, did you paint them from memory or from photos?
Some of my work is from pictures I’ve taken in the past, and if I love them I like to paint them in watercolors. They are the first medium I’ve loved and I still love to use them. But some of the ideas pop in to my head and I think “Boy, what an idea,” and I paint it.
There are a lot more paintings of scenes than of scenes with people. Do you enjoy painting landscapes over people?
I do love landscapes, but I’m learning to love people as well. Actually, I just started this year, practicing on my iPad with Adobe Sketch. My sons are programmers and they’re making a video game. So they make people! They encourage me to start practicing a lot of people because people seem to like people in the paintings. So I want to incorporate more people in my work. I still love the landscapes, but I do think that I’m getting great feedback when people see somebody in the picture, and they say, “Oh, that’s fun,” or “I feel like I could be there.”
Is that why you haven’t started painting faces yet?
Faces. Faces are really hard to do. I did one fun one, drew my mom, from the 60s. I did a digital drawing. It was very Andy Warhol. Round pink face, red hair. That’s the only true face I’ve ever done. She came out great, but realistic faces are still pretty hard. As time goes on, I aspire to learn and keep painting and do portraits. But for now, my people are either turned away or they have no faces. I’m just concentrating right now on the bodies, but yes, I hope to get better at painting faces as well.
You’ve painted a picture of a yellow float and its shadow at the bottom of the pool. How were you able to recreate something so precise?
Both my sister and my friend have a pool. That’s my made up, abstract water in the painting, but the doughnut, I found the right time of day (2:00) to take a picture. I zoomed in and got a good shot!
Be sure to come by The Barn to check out Megan’s exhibition, H2O, on display now through August 22nd.