Ford Ruthling grew up in Tesuque, New Mexico in the 1930s. The painters John Sloan, Will Shuster and William P. Henderson were family friends and frequent guests at the Ruthling home and apple orchard. His drawing professor at the University of New Mexico was Randall Davey. That history of artists and the spirit that founded the Santa Fe Art Colony is alive in Ruthling. His "embossed paintings," a medium unique to him, reminds us of the pioneering artists he know as a young boy, and the ingenuity they imparted.
New Mexico art history and Ford Ruthling's work are inexorably linked.Working as an artist for over fifty years, Ruthling has never limited his choice of medium. Included in his oil paintings, ceramics, tinwork and embossed paintings, the influence of New Mexico art history is visible throughout.
In 1977 the United States Government commissioned Ruthling to design a set of postage stamps featuring historic New Mexican pottery. The commemorative stamps, which are similar to his oil paintings, made a piece of New Mexico art history accessible to an entire nation.
The tinwork that has defined a large part of Ruthling's career has its roots in the work for Higinio Gonzales, the seminal New Mexican tinmaker who worked between 1860 and 1922. The traditional subject matter of 19th century tinwork, which Ruthling collects, has found its way into his own work, being translated and infused with his own brand of humor and wisdom.
Ruthling's work can be seen as a tribute to the rich cultural and visual history of New Mexico. His works, informed by a fascinating life in a stunning place, are both windows to the past and reflections of the present.