jo lemay rutledge
Not a native Texan she has lived in the Lone Star State for most of her life. Started at the University of Texas Art Department as an Art Major. But two years later she came out of that department with the ability to say that she has had received no formal training in art and went on to get a degree in Clothing, Textiles, and Design there in Austin. Jo started her career in management at Neiman Marcus which included buyer’s training. A Masters's degree at OSU in Clothing and Curriculum rounded out the academic credentials where she looked to teach in college. Instead, Rutledge worked at then, General Dynamics, in logistics. Finally, she began oil painting classes with notable landscape artist Dennis Blagg in 1994 and now teaches that same class at Fort Worth Country Day School Adult class. She had her first formal gallery show at Fort Worth’s Artspace 111 in 2009 which launched her formal career.
The odyssey to ranch paintings shouldn’t have taken as long as it has. After all, I’ve lived in Texas/Oklahoma for most of my life. But there were so many artists in the genre that I avoided jumping into the arena. What could I possibly bring to the bunkhouse that hasn’t already been done? Besides that, Fort Worth is home to many Russells and Remingtons.
It took a bright day at a friend’s ranch. What I saw there didn’t have a hint of romance in it. It was ranch trash, beautiful horses, manure, ditches of unmanaged grass, cast-off equipment, and rodeo trailers in need of a coat of paint. That was the real deal. Hard work, thankless hours of maintenance, and the jimmy rigging ranch gear. The life of anyone who chooses to live off the land. Now that’s worth my time at the easel. Art of the West a little left of center.