Sarah Skinner Ruh is an abstract painter whose work is often inspired by geology, maps, and climate science. She has a BA in Fine Art from Purdue University and lives in West Lafayette, Indiana with her husband and two daughters. She is currently serving as Executive Director of the Haan Museum of Indiana Art.

You Are Here.

Not Too Familiar {SOLD]

Not Too Familiar, 48"x48", acrylic on canvas [SOLD]

This painting was inspired by a satellite image of the area where I live in Indiana. The Wabash River is represented in metallic gold, with West Lafayette to the left, and Lafayette on the right.

I’ve always been fascinated by maps. Perhaps because I’m always a little bit lost. Metaphorically, but also... very literally. I simply have no sense of direction. I can still get manage to get lost in my own neighborhood where I’ve lived for years. I’m even disoriented within my own body – clumsy, a bit awkward, and accident-prone.

Rather than let this keep me from exploring the world, I now simply take it as a given that I won’t always arrive by the most direct or logical path. I may trip over my own feet, turn the wrong way, or encounter delays. But then again, I may discover something totally unexpected and amazing along the way.

I apply this same approach to my artistic process. I start with an idea in mind or a reference image, my imagined destination, and I embark on the process of creation. Along the way, I stay open to deviations from the plan. A mark goes astray, colors combine in unexpected ways, and new forms emerge to capture my attention. I follow these little detours to see where they lead the work. 

Sometimes it’s a dead end. 

Make a u-turn. 

Sometimes it inspires an entirely new approach. 


Eventually, the painting feels complete. 

You have arrived at your destination.