Artist Training – Bruce Ricker

A Continuing-Education Series from Chalk & Vemilion Fine Arts, Inc.


With the premise that one of the best tools you can have to help you sell art is an understanding of the artist him/herself, as part of this ongoing series we will be offering information about our Chalk & Vermilion published artists. The ability to convey interesting, pertinent information and to create a feeling about the artist adds an element to the level of interest that goes beyond a customer’s initial reaction of “Gee, that’s a pretty picture.”

Bruce Ricker is not an easy person to define or introduce. He is an artist, of course, of primarily landscape art. His images are at once familiar and somewhat other-worldly – yes, there’s a hillside, a mountain, a waterfall, but like none you’ve ever seen. Having a poetic streak in him as well, the best descriptions of his work come from his own words;

“They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. Some pictures give one just enough information to name the objects shown and perhaps an approximate location – a picture worth perhaps 50 words. But I intend paintings for which a thousand words will not suffice. If I am quite successful, then the dictionary and thesaurus might leave us wanting for more words than are even available to tell these tales.”

His paintings and prints are powerful depictions of nature – the raw beauty and presence of the earth itself, unadorned by mankind’s embellishments. The architecture of a landscape as created by wind, water, and time is as worthy of admiration as is any building created by a famous architect, and to some opinions, more worthy, as it was created by forces we cannot control or fully understand. It’s not that the landscape is perfect, but it is sacred in that it exists.

“Another way of describing these places is that they are sacred places, but not because it says so in the travel guide or because a native person tells us a myth. They are sacred because their beauty is so deep and mysterious that we are stopped in our tracks. We have hiked for hours, we have overcome our boredom and fatigue, and we are rewarded with an intimate elegance so satisfying that for the moment we can’t imagine anything better on earth or in heaven.”

Bruce grew up in Carmel Valley, California, where he still lives. His youth was centered around the outdoors, and he hikes and gets inspiration from the hills just outside his door. After high school, he served in the Navy during the Vietnam war, then enrolled in San Francisco State to study art. He transferred to U.C. Berkeley and switched to architecture, which appealed to him because of its “more precise” nature. However, he eventually felt that he had “too many curves” in him to really pursue architecture, and began painting more seriously and selling his artwork full time. His paintings are fascinating studies in detail, and he uses unusual tools beyond the usual artist’s artillery of brushes to achieve the razor-sharp detail of each blade of grass, leaf on a tree, or craggy rock. He also often incorporates some element of mystery in his paintings, sometimes a magical jewel or cryptic symbol through the tree leaves. He does this to pay homage to the subtle mysteries of the world around us, reminding us to “look more closely, that the final returns are not yet in on what this world is, or even what it really looks like.”

The fantasy-like aura of his pieces have drawn comparisons to the work of Eyvind Earle, who Ricker claims was a huge influence and for whom he has much praise, but he also owes as much to Frank Lloyd Wright. He respects the “lineage” of artists, and is honored to be among them, saying “There is this thing where something passes from an artist to an artist and you must make demands of yourself. Are you making as valid a step forward as the other guy did when he made it? I honor what I have gained from the artists that have inspired me, and hope to be able to give to the world in the same way that they did.”

Chalk & Vermilion has published several of Ricker’s works into serigraph
prints on paper and canvas, and offers his original paintings and drawings
as well.

We also have copies of many articles written about Bruce Ricker, which offer a more in-depth look at this interesting man and accomplished artist, going further into his methods, inspiration, and quotable quotes. We’d be happy to send you copies, just call and ask (800-877-2250). Bruce Ricker’s artwork is special enough on it’s own, but to know a little about him and his outlook on life is to appreciate his artwork in a whole new light and with a new depth of understanding.

55 Old Post road #2, Greenweich, CT 06830 (800) 877-2255

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