As he spoke, I was mesmerized. I think we all were. He spoke with such eloquence and sincerity. We learned about his adventures as a young boy living in the country. How he developed his love of art and nature. How he went on great journeys for new species. How he was commissioned to paint works for the white house, three times. Here stood this 86 year-old man, so vibrant and filled with passion for life. It was impossible not to be completely captivated by his every word.
As an art teacher, this was a special experience for me. And I took full advantage it, soaking in all I could. First, I had to have a photograph with Mr. Ruthven in his studio.
Check. Next, I asked him about his process. He proceeded to sift
through books and photographs, and pull thumbnail sketches from
a beautiful antique chest to explain his methods in detail. He talked
about how much research he still does for every piece. (And he still
does 12 commissions a year) He studies the anatomy of the animal, the landscape, and photographs all before he begins.
I can't wait to get the opportunity to teach my students about John Ruthven; his beautiful work, his charming personality, and his passion for art and nature.