Faculty Spotlight

Ruth Scotch

Artist Ruth Scotch  
ink and collage drawing by Ruth Scotch  
Palette knife painting by Ruth Scotch  
Palette knife painting by Ruth Scotch  
Ruth Scotch is our faculty spotlight for the month of May and June. Ruth has been an instructor at the Danforth for almost 14 years now, most recently teaching adult palette knife painting classes as well as high school portfolio and development classes during our Summer Arts Program. Ruth has also been teaching art at Framingham State University for the past 8 years. Ruth first got an art history degree from the University of MI in Ann Arbor, but then went back to school to get her BFA and MFA at Boston University. Ruth was creating art at a young age and was encouraged by her father to explore her artistic side alongside him. Her path initially brought her to represent other artists while working at a gallery post-undergrad, however, she went back to school in order to focus on her own work and then soon fell into teaching. She found herself surprised by how much she enjoyed teaching art as well as how it affected her own work. Ruth realized she enjoyed making a difference in her student’s studies by pushing them past discomfort and helping them achieve something they thought beyond their capability.
In her own work, Ruth primarily paints with oil on canvas and is often using a palette knife, for which she loves the clean and sculptural effects she can achieve. The common thread with all of her work, whether it be of an outdoor market, figures in interiors, or paintings of fish, is her fascination with color, light, shape, and pattern. “The shift in color as light falls on a person’s face, breaking the facial planes into patterns of shape, is as fascinating to me as a light on a box of sardines”. Ruth will approach a piece by looking at the mass of different shapes and colors and try to figure out how to create a dynamic composition that is harmonious and visually intriguing. “For me, creating a painting is like detective work. It is trying to get to the truth of the matter while stumbling upon clues that will help solve the case”.  By looking at subjects as colorful shapes and patterns rather than actual objects, Ruth renders the geometries and balancing contrasts of the composition first, and then the scene emerges.
Ruth is currently teaching a Beginner and Independent Palette Knife Painting classes at the Danforth School this spring session and will be teaching a High School Portfolio and Development course this summer, and a Professional Development course called Creativity Retreat: Recharge & Refresh designed for fellow teachers to practice some self-care through creative exploration. If you’re interested in learning from her in one of her palette knife courses, keep an eye out this August for our fall class schedule!
Ruth currently has an ink drawing and collage piece titled “She Dreamt of Fish” at a group show called Bits and Pieces at the Belmont Gallery of Art, which will be on display until May 8. Ruth gave a virtual talk about the work which can be watched  here. She was recently awarded best color in the group show titled Creating the Figure at the Workshop13 Art Gallery in Ware, MA, with her piece titled “Polka Dot Dress”, which can be seen here . Ruth is also exhibiting in a juried group show called Green/Light, at the Cultural Council of Cape Cod. Her piece, titled “Lydia’s Peas”, can be viewed in their digital exhibition space here . For more information about Ruth and her work, you can visit her website.


A selection of Ruth Scotch’s artwork will be on view in the Danforth Art School’s gallery (3rd floor). The Faculty Spotlight Exhibition is free and open to the public. The school is open Tues-Friday 9am-5pm and Saturdays 10am-2pm. Hours are subject to change, therefore please call our number ahead of time to ensure we are open. 508-215-5116.
Artwork from left to right: Hopper House, oil on canvas; Man Reading Paper, oil on canvas; She Dreamt of Fish, newspaper collage and ink on paper.