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Ruth Dwyer

Please click here
to preview and purchase
my book
Artists in Their Studios

Please click here to view my YouTube video

''I paint during the night when the crickets sing and dance...''

All paintings are originals,
oil on canvas. 

A portion of all sales
is donated to building
schools for
Free the Children

Ruth's paintings are
on permanent exhibit
at the following galleries

Trias Gallery
Bronte, Ontario

The Koyman Gallery
Ottawa, Ontario

Also there is a book titled
The Paintings of Ruth Dwyer
North of the Tree Line
Sandra Jane Mathies



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 n the arts

by janina birtolo

It is said that the arts are what make a civilization civil – and with good reason. Whether musical, theatrical or visual, the arts enrich our lives. They entertain us, make us think, get our toes tapping and delight our senses.

Each month, n the arts highlights the best our area has to offer. It is the place to discover what is happening – and what is not to be missed!

Artist Ruth Dwyer has found haunting beauty and magnificent colors in the barest of landscapes

Small Cottage,
Cadmium Field

the beauty of bleakness

The idea of a barren landscape with just the merest suggestion of human presence might overwhelm most people with oppressive thoughts of loneliness. But artist Ruth Dwyer is drawn to these desolate vistas – for she sees the beauty that resides there. Her paintings sing with the colors and light and liveliness that fill the land and sky in places where the view is unimpeded. And far from being lonely, her paintings speak of the warmth and comfort of solitude.

''There may be a hint that humans are present, but the landscape is what matters,'' Dwyer explains. ''They’re very colorful. Color is all around us. It changes the light of what you see and makes you happy.''

Although she’s painted landscapes for some time, Dwyer's love affair with remote places started in earnest a few summers ago when she traveled to the Arctic to visit a friend who teaches in a small Inuit village.

''The school is in a very remote location,'' she reports. ''You can only reach it by dog team or by air. There are no roads. But there are curtains of light that swing and dance, leaving reflections on the tundra.''

''The visit changed my life,'' she continues. ''To look in every direction and never see a tree – it’s astoundingly beautiful. The light from the sky plays very differently there. It’s very dramatic.''

Field of Raspberries

The experience set Dwyer on a more abstract course in her painting. The goal became to capture the intense light and the vivid colors on canvas in simplified terms, that are open to personal interpretation. And the light and color do seem to dance in her works, shape-shifting and mesmerizing the viewer. You realize you could get lost in a landscape like hers – and you are content to do so.

Part of the fluid and shimmering effect can be attributed to Dwyer’s masterful use of oil paints – a skill that she acquired recently after years of painting in acrylic.

''I love working in oils,” she says. “The fluidity of the medium is extraordinary, and you are not limited by time. With oils, I have the luxury of blending, adding, changing. It’s like painting with silk.''

Dwyer begins by taking photos of the landscapes that intrigue her. As she did in the Arctic and two years ago in the mountains of the Czech Republic. When she doesn’t have the opportunity to travel to a specific place, she searches for photos on-line – the method she employed to paint landscapes from Iceland and Greenland. Or she may simply call forth images from the memory of flying over the American Midwest or some other vista of flat, beckoning land.

Often, she will sketch a scene before approaching the canvas, simplifying, always simplifying. By the time she picks up her brushes, she has an idea of what colors she wants to use and perhaps even where they will go. But the process is always a flexible one.

Mist, Blue Cottage

''A metamorphosis occurs,” she says. “Things change by themselves. They take on a life of their own.''

Dwyer is nonplussed by the question of how she started her pathway into art. ''That’s like asking me when did I start to have brown eyes,'' she says. ''You either have the creative urge inside, or you don't.'' She did take time off from painting to earn a masters degree in art history and a PhD. in film studies and also to raise a family. But as soon as her son went off to school, she found her way back to her canvases and landscapes – a path that her husband, Daniel, has fully encouraged and supported.

Dwyer tends to work primarily in square or slightly off-square formats, and her works have recently been growing larger – up to 4 feet by 4 feet. But she also continues to paint in smaller sizes, including 1 foot by 1 foot squares. ''Those tend to be quite intimate,'' she says.

That intimacy is one of the seeming paradoxes of her work – bleak and barren, yet full of color and welcoming; vast yet personal. ''I hope people feel a serenity when they look at my work,'' Dwyer says. ''That they’re aware of the air and the landscape and the light. I love it when people interpret my paintings in their own way and see what they want to see.''

And what they see is the beauty that resides at the ends of the earth.

Ruth Dwyer exhibits her work locally at the Sweet Art Gallery on Trade Center Way. She also exhibits in Manhattan, Connecticut and Canada. To see more of her work, visit her website at  or call her at 239 498-1524 to schedule an appointment. Commissions are welcomed, and a portion of all sales are donated to Free the Children ( ), to help that organization build schools.

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Surf, Golden Sky




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