Welcome My name is Shirley Nan Ruchong and I am so pleased that you are here!
If you have browsed through the "Gallery" you might notice I do love flowers and, as my daughter Melissa noted, I am partial to the red/pink family! But I am learning to expand my color palette and so a larger variety of colors is on the horizon!
I especially enjoy painting photo-realism (florals in oil are my speciality) and so all designs started with my camera!
Just to tell you a little bit about myself:
I moved to Eureka, California in 1973 when my former husband Ron completed school. It was an area that he grew up in and it seemed like a really good fit - the Pacific Ocean to the west, mountains to the east and Redwood trees all around. Who could ask for more!! When I first saw this place I could not believe that people could actually spend their lives in the midst of all this beauty. You have to understand I was Los Angeles born and raised and had never been too far out of the city!!
What a wonderful place to raise our two children - Matthew and Melissa. At this time Matthew lives in Phoenix running his own sales business. Melissa is in Tampa, is married to Dan (a theater professor) and works from home.
I have always loved art but the "how-to" never seemed to be offered! It appeared that you were just supposed to know! So, I did everything else trying to fill that creative hole!
In 1979 I discovered Tole Painting, as it was referred to then, and now known also as Decorative Art. Finally an art form taught as "how-to"! Little did I know that those beginning classes would take me on a journey that would never end!
I began in oil (still my first love) but have painted, and taught, in acrylics and watercolor also. In 1985 my friend, Donna Mays, and I opened our shop "Tole Country". In 1999 we closed the walk in shop and moved it to my Home Studio.
In 1988 I received my Certified Decorative Artist designation, in Still Life, from the Society of Decorative Painters. In 2006 I passed the Master Floral.
I have had the privilege to teach at National and Regional Conventions: Society of Decorative Painters, Heart of Ohio Tole, and New England Traditions. I have been published in the SDP's award winning magazine The Decorative Painter as well as Japan's Decorative Artist magazine. Ornaments painted to hang on Christmas trees featured at the White House now reside at the Smithsonian.
I have not come to this place in my life all by myself. Many people contributed to this journey: my Grandma Shirley (that's right - it is her last name! An interesting story for another time!), who inspired me from the beginning; my parents Ralph and Nan; an untold amount of teachers who were willing to share their knowledge to increase mine; JoSonja Jansen - she was willing to take a chance; Joan Johnson gave me the vision; my kids who appreciated and accepted what I did; my former husband who provided the means so that I could study, have a studio to teach in and, most importantly, encouraged me in every way; and most especially, God, where it all started. Thank you all!
Please feel free to contact me about anything that you see on this site.
Thank you for spending this time with me! May you be inspired to take the next step in your creative journey!
Golden Glow, my beginning Rose project featured in the first issue of the 2009 Decorative Painter, has been donated to the permanent collection of the Society of Decorative Painters! It will reside at the headquarters along with all the other beautiful pieces that comprise the Society's collection. I count this quite an honor!