In Her Dreams (rough draft)

Beyond the First Draft

If you are faithful in your art practice, it is likely you will produce lots of drawings and/or paintings. When completed in a limited time frame, it is probable many will be sketches or first drafts of ideas you could develop more fully in the future. Sketches and rough drafts can be spontaneous, fresh, and uncensored…. Read More

Pure Poetry

Where would you stand?

I posted a new artwork on my Facebook today that could cause discomfort for some viewers. Recently a male dancer posed in a glorious backward swoop of a pose, legs splayed open, arm circling around for hand to clutch foot…it was pure poetry! When I saw the beauty of the pose he had constructed, my impulse… Read More

The Sum of Violence


Chiaroscuro (light-dark)) is an oil painting technique, developed during the Renaissance, that uses strong tonal contrasts between light and dark to model three-dimensional forms, often to dramatic effect. As an artist I am drawn to contrast. To portray a full rendition of life, I must understand, visualize, and utilize the full complement – both light and dark,… Read More

Joanne Beaule Ruggles

Acting Brave, Finding Courage

There is something in each of us that wishes to be brave. We can observe the way someone walks or talks, and pretty quickly assess whether they live courageously or cautiously. Courage is a magnetic property and we are drawn to it when we see it evidenced in others. Are you aware that courage (or the… Read More

Joanne Beaule Ruggles

Running with Sticks

It is quite often the accidental mark, the thing you were not intending to do, that is far more wonderful than the thing you were trying to do. For this reason, I have built chance and serendipity into my creative process. What does this have to do with sticks? Years ago, I was exploring various tools… Read More

Joanne Beaule Ruggles

No Apologies for Structural Lines

Structural lines need no apology. Show how you found your way, what you thought, and how you changed your mind as you shaped your artwork – allow your viewer in! Documentation of the creative process within your artwork provides an additional layer of understanding between you and the viewer. You gain nothing by keeping them in… Read More

Joanne Beaule Ruggles

Turning your Attention to New Subjects

Every summer for the last 45 years, our family has gone to spend time at a remote cabin in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. While my art practice has primarily focused on the human form as my subject, in the summer I turn my attention to what is available in this remote setting. On Grand Mesa,… Read More

Joanne Working in Studio

Name the Terrain

Some days I feel quite brilliant working in my studio. My process flows – it feels as if I am a spectator and the drawing is drawing me, the painting is painting me. I am filled with giddy confidence and technical prowess. While on other days, I am weighed down with despair. Why do I waste… Read More

Mother Earth in Progress

Giving Voice to Mother Earth

The germ of the idea for my Mother Earth: Hanging by a Thread series was presented to me while I was running a figure workshop at the Western Colorado Center for the Arts. A new model asked if she could bring in an exercise ball to work with on some of her poses. She said the… Read More

Joanne Beaule Ruggles

Empathy Required

If you have any hope of creating profoundly true figure artworks, you must bring your heart to the task. When an artist works from a nude model, our subject is made vulnerable by the act of disrobing. At that point, it is an “uneven transaction” between two humans. The observer remains protected while the observed individual… Read More