about me.

Charlie Eleanor DeRuiter

“Stay firmly in your path and dare. Be wild two hours a day!”

Paul Gauguin

The first time I thought about being an Artist with a capital A, I was six years old. However, with my blue collar practicality already well formed, I couldn't see how that would bake bread. No one ever told me I could or couldn't, it was my own internal world and rules surrounding it.

As a far less practical adult, I now realize that you don't chose art so much as ART chooses you. It's inescapable. You must lean into its embrace or be miserable apart from it. I am a serious person that doesn't take them self too seriously. There are so many things we just are. I am often amused by this. I am an artist. It's just part of me.

I grew older, went to college, got married, had a baby and realized that I didn't want the responsible path I had embarked on in college. I wanted, and couldn't live, without art. I realized it as though I was hit by lightening, sudden and alarmingly. Our tiny house had no room to safely paint in, so I took up photography and started a business with a wonderful friend as a mentor.

There, I found that I loved photo journalism, black and white prints, and my medium format camera. I am so thankful that I began photography just right before digital photography took over, because I would have never realized any of this otherwise. I hate digital photography.

I loved taking photos and working with people but sitting in front of a computer left me feeling dead. Digital photography just didn't speak to me. I thought then that if I completed my degree in photography this would change. I applied to UGA, was accepted and passed the portfolio performance review, with a drawing, an oil painting, and a photograph. I thought that somehow, having the keys to the digital world fully unlocked would bring a love and appreciation that I lacked for this medium. I looked forward to the next chapter in my development.

I was wrong though. My love for film and black and white photography increased, but I still hated sitting in front of a computer. The more I learned about digital photography and the editing skills behind it, the more I would have rather be doing almost anything else.

I had to accept that I am 150 years behind that curve and have no interest in going around it.

Just as I was fully waking up to this reality we moved into a house with a sun-room. My husband bought me a studio easel before we had lived here a month. I stopped my photography business and enjoyed being a mother and contemplating painting. Eventually, fearfully and joyfully I returned to my first love that I had put away 10 years before, oil painting.

I found that I had changed, it had changed. I loved it even more intensely. I have since tried other mediums, like acrylic, to see what they were like. And I tried still more mediums to have an easy way to have art supplies on me all the time; I love the results I can get with watercolor combined with oil pencils. Oil paint, though, is my passion. And now I share my art, a bit of myself, with you.