Ruth Returns to School
Ruth Loveridge graduated from Santa Maria in 2015. She’s back at the College for a three-week practicum as she completes her Master of Teaching.
In her final year at Santa Maria, she was the Lester Youth Art Award winner and was also selected to exhibit in the Year 12 Perspectives Exhibition.
The College purchased her final Year 12 artwork of six portraits (seen in the photo above) which hang outside the Community Room at the College.
Below, we chat with Ruth about her time since leaving the College and her art.
Tell us a little about what you’ve been up to since leaving Santa Maria
Straight after leaving Santa Maria, I studied for my undergraduate degree in Fine Art at Curtin University; this experience opened my eyes to art making. After graduating, I was fortunate to land a job as a visual art teacher for people living with disabilities and/or people with a lived experience with mental health at DADAA in Fremantle. I fell in love with the teaching process and decided to pursue a Master of Teaching in Visual Arts, which I have almost finished! I also started a little side hustle making playful and vibrant rugs for my business Ode Studios!
What’s it like returning to the College as a teacher this time?
Returning to Santa Maria is a surreal experience. To be honest, returning to the Art Department was like returning home in a way! I was fortunate to have had a positive high school experience, which has carried on throughout my placement with my mentor teacher Arianne Flora. It is also great that I now get to make a coffee in the staff office and call all my old teachers by their first names!
What would you hope our girls gain from you during your time here?
I hope to instil a sense of playfulness in the girls. I am a big believer that studying art in high school is all about pushing the boundaries of what art can be and throwing yourself into any challenge that may come – something that can be so daunting at this age as we tend to strive for perfection.
What is the project you’re working on with the Year 12s?
At the moment, I am introducing the Year 12s to an idea of ‘conversations’ between artworks. Within this, we are looking at expressive mark-making within portraiture inspired by the works of Mike Parr and Andy Quilty. I challenged the girls to a few warm-up exercises encouraging them to step out of their comfort zone in drawing. The first was a simple blind contour drawing, holding the piece of paper behind their backs or under the table, so it was completely hidden, and the girls were not tempted to look at their page. The other warm-up explored quick, gestural marks using a biro pen attached to a long paintbrush. Again, this challenged the girls to draw from a distance, making their works quite abstract and expressive. The photos you can see of us in the gallery are of a fun little exercise I am starting to introduce each lesson. The girls work collaboratively by drawing in bright fluro markers over their beautifully drawn biro works (some may have hated me for this!). Within this, the idea of building relationships and a conversation between each other’s works is created through one continuous line. It is also an excellent practice for the girls to see their works in progress by pinning them up in the gallery space, stepping back, and reflecting on their work. It was a fun activity to get the girls thinking about art as a process and not to be too precious about their work. As artists, we want to continue to push and pull with our works, and sometimes a new perspective on this is what we need.
What do you think you can learn from our students?
Within my prac placement, I have been blown away by the knowledge and skills each student brings to the classroom. My experience with teaching is constantly unfolding and developing through my students’ eyes. I admire the playfulness and fun the Year 5s bring to their lessons – something that can be lost when we enter adulthood!
Tell us a bit about your style of art
My art style has evolved over the years. However, my practice is centred around materiality. I love working with traditional gesso as a medium and working over the surface with charcoals and graphite. At Curtin, I specialised in printmaking and often find the marks I create within my works similar to etching, as I work into the surface of my gesso with a sharp tool to create an interesting indent of marks. Over the past year, I have explored a completely different realm of art making – rugs! This process is purely to step out of my comfort zone and explore textile works in a vibrant and lively manner.
Do other artists inspire you?
My mother, Camilla Loveridge, is a renowned visual artist in Fremantle who has inspired me throughout my art practice. Other artists of influence are Kiki Smith, Helen Frankenthaler and Minna Leunig, to name a few.
What advice do you have for any of our students interested in pursuing an art career?
Studying Fine Art after school was the best decision I have made! It challenged my perspective not only in art but in every aspect of life. I find myself always finding beauty within the world around me, and the connections you build from attending workshops and exhibitions are very enriching. Just remember to let go of perfectionism and have fun experimenting with different forms of art/ medium!
It’s wonderful having you back at the College, Ruth, and we look forward to seeing more of your art in the future.