Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting 94-year-old local artist, Ruth Cook. Holding a paintbrush steadily in her hand, she expertly painted the canvas in acrylic paint. Pinks, blues and purples careened together, meeting each other to create the perfect sunset. Cook grasps the bottom edge of the canvas and holds a photograph of a deer to it.
“I have a lot of paintings with elk. But not with deer,” she says. “I’ll fix it up a little, and it’ll go here in the corner.”
Cook bases most of her paintings off of photographs, touching up colours and positioning animals with her imagination.
In one canvas, Cook says she uses multiple photos to get her trees to a perfect image, the sky to a perfect pitch and the animals to a perfect shape.
As I stood there, I was amazed at what this 94-year-old was creating. As I stood back, I thought to myself, “I can’t even do paint-by-number”.
Cook told me she started painting one year after her husband passed away, in 2009.
“That’s when my life started coming together again. It was coming back to me,” she says.
I sat and listened to her story, enthralled by her. She told me what it was like growing up on a farm, her first experience with art and how she eventually found herself in Hinton after travelling the world.
Sometimes these gems pop up in the community. They make you want to sit and hear their whole life story and they make you want to invest in who they are. I’m sure I’ll visit her again to purchase one of her beautiful canvases.