By Shya Beth
Ruth Green’s journey into the horse world is filled with vibrant locations and enriched by her career as a sculptor. Crossing continents and working in diverse equestrian disciplines while pursuing her love of sculpture, Ruth has become an established animal sculptor.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Ruth’s story takes a different turn as she and her family relocated to Brussels, Belgium, when she was 10. Belgium is known for chocolate, waffles and historical landmarks — to equestrians, it’s also known for being one of the most recognized countries in the sporthorse world. Ruth spent her youth around horses, learning both the American way of riding from her time in California and the traditional training of Europe.
When Ruth returned to the States the following year, she found work taking care of horses in the form of hot walking and exercising polo ponies before progressing to training, teaching and showing in the competitive hunter-jumper world. Training in both California and Colorado, Ruth’s affection for horses extends beyond the ring to the joy of a beautiful ride along the beach at sunset, riding on trails above Aspen or teaching a young child how to tend to a horse. She’s since taken all of that passion and equestrian expertise and funneled it into exquisite art.
Her realistic sculptures bring forth the personality of the horse Ruth’s creating, paired beautifully with a classical feel. “My favorite part of art is the act of creating it,” she said. “It starts with an idea in your mind, a gesture or a feeling. From that, you start to plan out the sculpture with an armature, which is the metal wire underneath the oil-based clay. It’s the intersection of the emotion of the gesture and the skill needed to create it.”
Ruth’s passion for horses is evident in the way she speaks about her sculptures. “Ideas for my pieces come from my emotions and memories I have from my years with horses. Whether it’s the elegance of a beautiful walk, the tenderness of a mare with her foal or the genuine power of a galloping Thoroughbred, it’s these feelings that are at the heart of my work.”
Ruth primarily uses reference images from photographers and clients, but sometimes visits the horses of friends for inspiration on imaginary horses. One of her largest busts is of an actual horse named Contefino, a Holsteiner stallion. Contefino was once a top Grand Prix horse in the USA and Italy, and is presently at stud. “My favorite piece of sculpture is always the one I am currently working on.” Ruth said. “It’s like being with that one beloved friend for many, many days.”
A Life in Art
Now, Ruth is a part of the colorful arts community in Santa Barbara, California, studying figurative sculpting with Santa Barbara City College instructor Story Kornbluth while also being a member of the Santa Barbara Sculpture Guild. Ruth’s thirst for continuing her artistic education is constantly propelling her to discover new depths of her own creations. She has taken workshops with notable artists like Laurie Acott-Fowler and Phillipe Faraut, and the latest series of workshops at the Scottsdale Artist School has been with the acclaimed bronze sculptor Rod Zullo, concentrating on horses and dogs.
When the opportunity arises, Ruth is more than willing to join friends on a relaxing trail ride. “I always enjoy being out in nature on the back of a horse, just as I did when I would ride the hunters and jumpers on the trail or the beach years ago,” she said. Ruth also spends time photographing horses or setting up her sculpting stand to work on-site.
Ruth’s sculptures are in collections in New York, Los Angeles, Aspen, Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez Valley. Her work has been juried in exhibitions in California, Arizona and Kentucky, and has been selected for the National Sculpture Society 84th Annual Awards Exhibition at Brookgreen Garden in South Carolina and the California Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition at Sparks Gallery in San Diego.
“I’m currently working on a sculpture of a powerful, warmblood-type horse,” Ruth said. “He’s back on his haunches, arched neck, pulling back with one leg extended and planted firmly on the ground, the other leg raised connecting to a sphere, perhaps the earth. In my mind it’s about the formidable forces we have to contend with in life.”
Another project Ruth recently finished is one many horse lovers might be familiar with — “Twenty Gallant Horses” by C.W. Anderson. “That was a horse from my dreams as a little girl,” Ruth said. “I still have the original book after all these years!”
As far as future projects, Ruth says she has many ideas. “My next one might be a jumper. I love the motion and beauty of that.”
For more information, visit ruthgreenfineart.com
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