Artist Needed Something For Herself



The bright light of the sun shines through the north windows onto the delicate rose in progress on Ruth Overton's easel.

"With northern light, the colors are truer, there is no glare, it is just better light to paint from," Overton said.


Ruth Overton began painting when her children were little.

"I just look out and enjoy the animals eating my garden," she added, then laughed.

Overton claims she could not draw a straight line when her friend Betty talked her into taking an oil painting class in 1957.

"My children were all little, I needed something for myself, so I painted while they slept," she said.

She painted to please herself, then, she reached a point where she could not figure out what to do next to capture the essence and spirit of her subjects.

Overton had been painting 13 years before she took her first beginning oil painting class with Helen Van Wyk.

"Helen told me, I don't know how you got as far as you did, your color sense is good, but you don't really know what you are doing."

It was taking Overton a half-an-hour or more to achieve the colors she wanted with many paints. Van Wyk showed her how to take two or three paints on her brush to achieve shadow and how to mix colors.

The newly learned process gained Overton time.

"Learning to mix colors made all the difference in my work," Overton said.


"Untouched Beauty"

When it came time for the Overton's children to go to college, Helen needed to go to work.

Her husband asked her what she wanted to do and supported her decision to open an art store.

With the help of the Small Business Administration, Overton opened her Kansas City studio.

At first, she just sold supplies, and then she moved to a bigger building and hired instructors.

"Hallmark was located there, so there were wonderful, talented artists to teach classes," she said.

Overton found she loved teaching more than the business aspect of owning a studio. She continued to teach five years after she sold the studio, so has a total of 19 years showing others how to express themselves on canvas.

Upon retirement, she decided "selfishly" it was time to take time to simply paint. Every day -- for long stretches, instead of dabbling for a few minutes before an errand.

"Up until two years ago I played golf. With my golf, my gardening and painting, who could ever worry? And now that I can't golf, I paint," Overton said.



"Twilight Parade"

Name: Ruth Overton

Medium: Oil paintings.

Goal: All the beauty that God has created I am trying to capture for other people.

Advice to beginning artists: Don't be afraid to try something because you get better from experimenting. The more you paint, the more you save in class fees. Don't be afraid of failure.

Award most proud: I have won the Payson Roundup's people's choice award for art in the Best of Payson contest three times.

Hometown: I was born in Cottonwood Falls, Kan., but I spent most of my life in Kansas City, Mo.

Why Payson? Relatives lived here and we came when Bill and I retired in 1988.

Upcoming project: Right now I am excited about the first anniversary celebration for Artists of the Rim Sept. 14-16.


Food: My muffins.

Books: Mysteries, light romance, historical and of course, art books.

Music: Oldies and easy listening.

Points of contact: home studio at (928) 474-4984, Artists of the Rim Gallery, 408 W. Main St., Payson (928) 472-1159 and Work of Artists Gallery, 7000 E. Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, (480) 596-0304

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