June 19, 2014

Photo Credit:

Ruth Shively



Artist’s Work:

Ruth Shively




Ruth Shively grew up in Nebraska, receiving her BFA from University of Nebraska- Lincoln. With a curiosity to see beyond the plains of the Midwest, she ventured to Europe where she lived and worked in Paris. She moved back to the states and settled in New York City. While in New York, she worked in the illustration industry. Over the years, painting became more appealing in her life. Strongly attracted to the human form and facial features, she has concentrated on portraits. Ruth has exhibited her work in numerous solo and group exhibitions, and has recently settled in Portland, OR.

Consenses Interview with Sally Taylor:

Your Name: Ruth Shively
Where you live:  Portland, OR
Where you came from:  I grew up in a small midwestern town, Hastings, Nebraska but also lived in Paris, France, New York, NY and upstate New York.
Your Medium:  Oil paint and gold leaf
The name of your work: Metamorphosis

What made you want to participate in this project? 

I wanted to participate in this project because I had never done something like this before, usually I come up with the ideas for my work on my own.  I thought it would be a good exercise for me to work from someone else’s vision.

What was your first reaction to the song? (thoughts, images, emotions, memories, tastes, smells etc?) 

My first images of the song began with the thought of colors, the changes of the seasons.  Memories of a first deep love, feeling of pain from love and also intense happiness.

What was this song about in your mind? 

To me the song was about the emotions of first love, the excitement of seeing your first love.  The  pain when they go away, even if it’s for a short time.  Maturing from a girl to a young woman.

What did you title your work and why? 

I titled the work, Metamorphosis.  Thinking of the change from one stage of life to the next, a girl and her innocence growing into a mature woman, a butterfly.

What part of the song informed you’re interpretation the most (lyrics, instrumentation, vocals)? 

The lyrics, they were descriptive enough for me for my mind to take off with ideas for a painting.

What part of your painting came to you first? 

The image of a young woman standing alone on a road, watching her love walk away.

What was your process? How did you take your original reaction and turn it into this film? 

The process of this project was listening and reading the lyrics to the song, looking through the hundreds of images I have on hand of women.  I began painting the image of the woman and then adding color to the background, including gold leaf for the changing of the seasons.

How do you normally create? How was this experience different? 

I normally create by looking at a lot of images, using images that reflect my mood at the moment.  This was different in that I had a specific story to convey according to the lyrics.

What techniques/tools did you use to help you express you’re interpretation? (colors, props, people, places, angles) 

Colors were a main theme of the painting, and using gold leaf.  I looked at my archive of images of people/women.

Are there certain choices you made which mean something specific to you that the observer might not know? 

The colors give meaning to the changing of time, putting the young girl in black to me meant she had matured into a woman.

Extra credit: Did you enjoy this project? More you want to say about your experience?

After the initial nervousness of starting this project, I really enjoyed it. The background, using gold leaf, which is new to me, was really funand freeing adding more color and gold, trying to figure out when it was complete.  I feel very fortunate Sally found my work and wanted to include me in such a creative experiment.


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