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"Gabriel’s Crossing Bridge"
Agnes Ruest, "Gabriel’s Crossing Bridge," 1993, acrylic on canvas, 54” x 72”.
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Agnes Ruest, "Spruce River," 1998, acrylic on canvas, 50.5” x 72.5.
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"Just Beyond the Garden"
Agnes Ruest, "Just Beyond the Garden," 1998, acrylic on canvas, 54” x 72”.
By Maureen Latta
Agnes Ruest’s commitment to painting outdoors is so great that during Saskatoon’s frigid winters she used to rent a downtown hotel room so she could paint riverbank scenes from a window. Her recent move to Victoria was prompted, in part, by the longer plein air season on the coast.
Ruest’s formative years were spent under the tutelage of such Saskatchewan luminaries as Eli Bornstein, Reta Cowley and Dorothy Knowles. Bornstein and Cowley taught at the University of Saskatchewan, where Ruest studied art some 40 years ago. She met Knowles, one of Canada’s foremost landscape painters, at the renowned Emma Lake artists’ workshop in Saskatchewan.
During her summers at Emma Lake, Ruest established her process of doing small watercolours outdoors and then working up larger paintings in the studio.
Her acrylics are influenced by watercolour techniques and batik printing; she works in layers, allowing the white ground of the canvas to carry light through transparent washes.
Her loose brushwork shows the mark of the human hand and she credits her trips to Mexico for her amped-up colour and relaxed approach.
“My motivation to paint comes from something very personal,” says Ruest. “You want to make the art for the experience of making the art. It’s not for any other reason than to touch yourself and to touch someone else.”
Agnes Ruest is represented by the Rouge Gallery in Saskatoon. Her work is priced at $500 to $2,700.