Born in Scotland in 1918, Ruth Dickson has always found creative art deeply attractive.
Encouraged by her artist mother, she occasionally won drawing competitions for young people. She wished to paint, but supplies were difficult to find during her teenage years in the 1930s.
In 1949, alone with a young family in a remote logging camp, she began to paint greeting cards in watercolours, and then to use oil paints and pastels received as gifts. She received her first commission of three compatible watercolours there, then in 1952, she won first prize in Duncan for an oil painting.
By 1958, she was a serious artist, had joined The Crofton Art Group, painting in oils weekly with Arnold Burrel and other well-known artists, and was showing regularly. She then took an 18-month art course with Jack Wilkingson, then of Victoria. The class finished in the instructor’s studio.
In the ’70s, she participated in a month of daily art classes and chose to work in batik.
By 1975, now able to pass on her art expertise, Ruth taught two day workshops for 12 students. Her work sold well and, combined with her teaching earnings, she was able to enrol in the University of Victoria’s Fine Arts program during 1979-80, taking second- and third-year drawing, painting, printmaking, and poetry.
Her artwork hangs in homes, offices, and collections in Canada, USA, New Zealand. She has created special calendar art and museum backdrops, and has participated in numerous shows, in Comox at the Pearl Ellis Gallery and the Filberg Park and Lodge, as well as in Cowichan and Nanaimo.
Ruth loves to express her love of her environment, but has not restricted herself to any particular subject or style, although she enjoys the realist style. She is proficient in a variety of mediums, including oil, acrylic, soft pastel, ink, watercolour, batik, charcoal and pencil. She has also made collages from tissue/masa paper and seashells.
Ruth has also written four books, a three-part autobiography and a young adult novel based on her family’s experiences as lighthouse keepers on Pine Island.
Colour, movement and life still excite her, and she hopes her August show — Sea & Shore — at the Pearl Ellis Gallery will express this love.
The gallery is located in Comox at 1729 Comox Avenue. For more information or a virtual tour of the gallery, visit www.pearlellisgallery.com or the Pearl Ellis Facebook page.
— Pearl Ellis Gallery