January, 2009 Ruth
Ruth Magel MacLean
1934 - 2006


Ruth was born in Winnipeg, and her interest in art was shown at a very young age while still in elementary school, where she was selected to receive lessons at the School of Art. The quality of her High School sketches and drawings were recognized by Moore Business Forms and she was hired, straight out of school at seventeen, as their second artist, and apprenticed with them for three months – a popular custom in these times. She remained with them for six years, producing finished artwork for camera. While with them she turned down a fashion drawing job with the Hudson’s Bay Company.

She saved enough to be able to pay for two years full-time study at the University of Manitoba School of Art. Unfortunately her funds ran out before she could take her degree.

Following her marriage in 1961 she continued her painting in Scotland, where she experimented with various media. Large, loose, bold watercolours; portraits in oil and pastel; incisive pencil sketches; and, of course, landscapes in her favourite medium - oils.

In 1963, she received further instruction in oil painting at the Banff School of Fine Art, where she studied with William Townsend of the Slade. And latterly, in the 1970s, following her return to Canada, she studied graphic arts, including serigraphy and woodcut, at the Musee de Beaux Arts in Montreal.

Settling in Ottawa in 1978, she fell in love with the area, and concentrated on her first and favourite medium, oils, to capture images of rural scenes of the Ottawa Valley, the Gatineau Hills, and townscapes, including heritage buildings in and around Ottawa. Meeting with Bruce Heggtveit gave her the opportunity to be able to paint in locations where she would not have felt safe on her own; the presence of other painters gave her a sense of security. She became one of the founder members of his ‘Gatineau Group’
Ruth with Bruce Heggtveit Ruth at her easel
Ruth with Bruce Heggttveit Ruth at her Easel

Meanwhile her continuing quest for advancement of her knowledge and methods led to her studying formal portraiture techniques with Peter Corbett.

Her sketch-pad and camera was always with her whenever she traveled, whether to Miami, Florida; Prestwick, Scotland; Paris; Berlin or Annecy.

As well as selling privately, she sold her paintings through ArtMode of Ottawa and Galerie Old Chelsea. She has exhibited with the Bells Corners Art League, the Ottawa Art Association, the Winterlude shows at the Ottawa School of Art, and the City Hall shows. Her paintings have won several awards, and may be found in the U.S., Scotland, England and Canada.

She was a contributing artist for eight years with the annual Big Brothers' Art Auction, and several years with the CNIB “Eye on the Arts” auctions. She was a member of Art Lending of Ottawa from 1988.

In addition to her painting Ruth also continued her graphic work, designing Christmas cards and hasti-notes for the Ottawa Branch of the Prayer Book Society of Canada, as well as calligraphic certificates for various organizations.

For all her talent, Ruth was exceedingly modest about her work. As early as 1963 she was offered a one-man show at a small gallery in Ayr, Scotland - and turned it down. And in 1978 she was again offered a one-man show, this time at the Winnipeg Art Gallery by Dr. Ferdinand Eckhart, who was then Director of the Gallery. Again, she turned it down.

Retrospectives, such as the one presented by the Galerie Old Chelsea in March of 2008, give an opportunity for a small portion of her work to reach a wider audience, and help gain her the reputation that her modesty would not allow her to pursue on her own.

The Galerie, and other similar venues, provide an opportunity to offer a tribute to her life, and her work.


Click here to see some examples of the artist's work.



Exhibits; Juried Exhibitions; 1 Man Shows;
Group Shows & Association Memberships.


Feb. 1984 Winterlude Art Competition, Ottawa School of Art
Selected Work - Aylmer Marina (Judges - Mr Wallack
Judith McFadyen; National Art Gallery Professor J Boyd; University of Ottawa History of Art)

May 1984 Ottawa Art Association Awards Show
Oils, Third Prize - Auld Brig, Ayr
Watercolour, Honourable Mention - Tam o’Shanter Inn, Ayr
(Judges, - Michel Cheff, NAG
Aili Kurtis, Ottawa School of Art)

Feb. 1985 Winterlude Art Competition, Ottawa School of Art
Oils, Honourable Mention - Barns, Eastern Ontario
(Judges - Janice Ceilen; National Art Gallery Kally Gilles; Ottawa School of Art)

Oct. 1986 Ottawa Art Association Exhibit - National Archives
Selected Work - Meech Creek
(Judge - Professor J Grey; University of Ottawa)

May 1985 Tulip Festival of Spring - Group Show

May 1985 Ottawa Art Association Spring Award Show, Ottawa Little Theatre
Oils, Honourable Mention - Wakefield Mill
(Judge - Brodie Shearer)

Jun. 1986 Bells Corners Art League
Oils, First prize - Chelsea Farm
(Judges - John Ensor,
Gordon Hauser,
Sietze Praamsma)

May 1986 Tulip Festival of Spring - Group Show

May 1987 University of Miami School of Medicine - Donation of Painting for auction.

Jun. 1988 Metropolitan Life Building - 2 Artist Show

Jun 1988 MacDonald Club - Gatineau Group Show

Sep. 1988 Courtyard Restaurant -1 Person Show

Sep. 1988 Invited into Art Lending as a member artist

Nov 1988 Participating Artist - Big Brothers Art Auction

Jan. 1989 La Soupi re Restaurant - 2 Artist Show

Sep. 1989 1st Annual Juried Westboro Fine Art Festival - 100 Artists

Nov. 1989 Participating Artist - Big Brothers Art Auction

Nov. 1989 Courtyard Restaurant - 2 Person Show

Jun. 1990 Art Lending Selected Group Exhibition - Atrium Gallery, Nepean

Nov. 1990 Participating Artist - Big Brothers Art Auction

1990 Paintings in Art Mode Gallery, Sussex Drive

Nov. 1991 Participating Artist - Big Brothers Art Auction

Nov. 1992 Participating Artist - Big Brothers Art Auction

Nov. 1993 Participating Artist - Big Brothers Art Auction

Nov. 1994 Participating Artist - Big Brothers Art Auction

Nov. 1996 Participating Artist - Big Brothers Art Auction

Nov. 1998 Gatineau Group

Apr. 1999 Wildlife Awareness Event - 8 Artists

Sep. 2001 Pakenham Bridge Celebration Weekend - Group Show

Apr. 2003 CNIB ‘Eye on the Arts’ Gala Auction

Apr. 2003 Festival de la faune

Apr. 2004 Ottawa Art Association 85th Anniversary Show - NAG

May 2006 Knox Presbyterian Church, Ottawa - Group Show

Mar 2008 Galerie Old Chelsea - Retrospective


Participating artist - Art Lending 1988 - 2006 Contributing artist CNIB Exhibited with Ottawa Art Association at Little Theatre, Ottawa
Exhibited with Gallery Old Chelsea



Various Group Shows in Ottawa area.



Click here to see some examples of the artist's work.



CANADIAN AWARDS



Nov. 1983 Ottawa Art Association City Hall Show Honorable Mention - Farm Edelweiss

May 1984 Ottawa Art Association City Hall Show
3rd Prize - Oils Auld Brig, Ayr
Honorable Mention - Watercolour Tam o'Shanter Inn, Ayr
(Judges - Michel Cheff; National Art Gallery Aili Kurtis; Ottawa School of Art)

Feb. 1985 Winterlude Art Competition, Ottawa School of Art
Honorable mention - Barns, Eastern Ontario
(Judges - Janice Ceilen; National Art Gallery Kally Gilles; Ottawa School of Art)

May 1985 Ottawa Art Association Spring Award Show, Ottawa Little Theatre
Honorable Mention - Wakefield Mill
(Judge - Brodie Shearer)

Jun. 1986 Bells Comer Art League 23rd Annual Clothesline Art Fair
1st Prize - all categories - Old Barn
(Judges - John Ensor
Gordon Hauser
Sietze Praamsma)



Click here to see some examples of the artist's work.




Telephone 613-226-4431