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Paula L. McNeill: Partners in Art – the Art of Bradley C. Spencer and Ruthanne Oliver

September 27, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Paula L. McNeill will discuss the art and lives of the 2019 Featured Artists, Escalante native and painter Bradley C. Spencer and self-taught Western fiber artist Ruthanne Oliver.  This presentation will focus on how the flora, fauna, and magnificent, often mysterious, landscape and light of southern Utah informs and inspires their work.

McNeill is a retired art professor who divides her time between Valdosta, Georgia where she was on the art faculty at Valdosta State University and summers in Escalante, Utah where her family has had a summer home since 1980.  A Southerner by birth, McNeill received her BA in Art from Arizona State University-Tempe; her MA from the University of New Mexico-Albuquerque; and her Ph. D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia.  With an interest in community-based art, for more than fifteen years McNeill has documented the art and lives of visual artists in southern Utah through video-taped oral history interviews. 

2019 Featured Artists:

Bradley C. Spencer, Escalante, UT

Bradley started painting about twelve years ago. He is, for the most part, a self-taught artist, though he has taken workshops from Oklahoma painter and teacher on Jerry Yarnell’s PBS TV program “Paint This” where one can do a painting in one sitting at your personal level.  Spencer has also studied with Doug Braithwaite in Driggs, Idaho, Stephen Stauffer and R. Gregory Summers who helped him understand how to mix primary colors and use the four color palette he now uses.  Brad has also been inspired by Cedar City painter Brad Holt for Holt’s simpler plein air style without too much detail.  When Spencer was younger, he spent a lot of time doing woodworking, but is presently concentrating on painting with a limited palette in oils. He lives and works in his studio in Escalante, Utah.

Bradley has had several two-person shows at the Anasazi State Park Museum in Boulder, Utah and Red Canyon Visitor’s Center. He also competes each year in the Escalante Canyons Art Festival Plein Air Competition and Wild Rivers New Mexico Plein Air Paint Out.



Ruthanne Oliver, Escalante, UT

Ruthanne began doing applique work for customers and boutiques in Southern Texas in the 1970s. She studied at Pan Am College, Texas and Texas A & I, but is basically a self-taught artist. Her interest shifted to the Fine Arts in about 1978 and she began studying drawing, painting and composition. Always attracted to the textures of fabric and stitching she was inspired to use her applique technique as an art form.

Ruthanne’s work is in both national and international private and public collections and she has won numerous awards for her art.  Recently she has been experimenting with alcohol inks and won the First Place Experimental Award in 2018 at the Wild Rivers Paint Out in Questa, New Mexico for Basalt, painted near the Rio Grande Gorge  outside Taos, New Mexico.  She has exhibited at the Anasazi State Park Museum in Boulder, Utah, Red Canyon Visitor’s Center and numerous other locations throughout the U.S.  In 2019 she exhibited her 12 inches by 12 inches quilted and appliqued cloth book pages from Eryn’s Search at the Initial Point Gallery in Meridian, Idaho.  , Eryn’s Search is a loosely autobiographical children’s book about Eryn who searches for her roots in Ireland.  The most rewarding part of her career has been teaching art at Escalante Elementary School where she still  volunteers some arts and crafts classes.  

Ruthanne lives in Escalante, Utah and works in her Sun Spirit Studio where she creates appliqued and embroidered wall hangings, watercolor paintings and wearable art.  For the last four years Ruthanne has served as Chairperson of the Plein Air Competition for Escalante Canyons Art Festival.


September 27, 2019
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
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