GUEST ARTIST: “A Perfect Pairing – Watercolor & Calligraphy” by Ruth Korch

Pomegranate Watercolor Ruth Korch

Hi! My name is Ruth Korch, and I’m a visual artist based in the beautiful coastal town of Santa Cruz, California. I love being inspired by the beauty around me, beach walks with my doodle, gardening, music, traveling, and good times with family and friends. From my earliest and happiest days of coloring books and drawing, I somehow knew art was part of me and destined to be in my future.

When I entered school and was introduced to the alphabet, a new fascination entered the equation. I found an illustrated card I made for my mom when I was six (yes – she saved those early drawings!!), and it shows I was already trying to “draw” chunky letters as part of my design. By the time handwriting was introduced, it became one of my favorite subjects as well as art. Somehow aiming for consistent letter loops within that pale, blue-lined practice paper brought great satisfaction.

Travel Watercolor Sketchbook Ruth KorchThrough the years, I enjoyed exploring many different mediums and art forms, but I was always drawn to watercolor as my favorite – loving its qualities of light, versatility and accessibility. While pursuing my Fine Arts degree in college, I discovered an additional love. One of my electives was a Calligraphy course. From this unique art form, I found I could create beauty not only out of individual letterforms, but by extension, the words they composed.

Tree Blossoms Watercolor Ruth Korch

It was like an entirely new world of artistic expression opened up, and my love affair connecting script and imagery took hold. It was the beginning of what was to become my signature style and that has led to paintings and ongoing commission work to this day. I’ve been blessed to have my artwork adorn homes and offices around the globe.

Pigeon Point Watercolor Painting

Community has been crucial in my artistic journey. Other amazing and gifted artists have consistently motivated me to grow and develop. When I joined a community of artists a number of years ago, I was challenged to keep a daily journal for an entire month.

Birds Nest Watercolor Ruth Korch

I had kept journals before but suddenly something clicked, and that “aha” moment cemented in my mind. My “signature style” had a new landing place. Bringing together watercolor and designed text on a journal page became the perfect pairing for me!

It’s also been primarily through community and fellow artists that I’ve collected my favorite materials and supplies. Through reading a Doodlewash article, I learned about Schmincke Horadam watercolors. That little travel set has been my trusted friend throughout trips to Europe and around the States.

Abbey of Fontenay Burgandy watercolor and calligraphy

My home palette consists mainly of Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton pigments, with an emphasis more and more on transparent colors. Then naturally, someone will mention a color like Holbein’s Brilliant Orange or Peacock Blue, and I can’t help but add them to my collection as well. For my calligraphy dip pens, my standby ink is Higgins Eternal. For ease of use and permanence I absolutely love Tombow’s Fudenosuke hard tip brush pen – not only for script but also for expressive sketching.

Ruth Korch Watercolor and Calligraphy Lettering Carmel

Now as I contemplate capturing images in my art journals, I view them as only half done. “What words can I design,” I wonder, “which will elevate this composition?” To me, it’s rather like accessorizing an outfit… “What script or hand lettering style will best match this imagery? Or, how can I add text to the page so that it’s designed into the layout and not just “sitting” at the bottom of the page?”

Not only that… I have found by, including quotes, poems, descriptions, song lyrics, and scripture in my journals, I have a beautiful record of my life stories and memories! I can’t think of a more suited and perfect pairing, can you?

Flowers Writing Ruth Korch

As a professional artist, calligrapher and art instructor, teaching in-person classes in the Santa Cruz area has been a true gift. Encouraging and passing on to others what I love and what I’ve learned bring me great joy. Conversely, I treasure learning from others. The give-and-take of community is so inspiring. When the 2020 pandemic hit, it provided a catalyst for me to realize another dream – to reach more creatives. By launching Ruth Korch Art, an online teaching platform, I’m now looking forward to growing a unique, supportive and collaborative art community, exploring imagery, words and letterforms together.

Cateauneuf Watercolor Ruth Korch

It’s back to that joy of community and connection where there are no limits to how many artists can fit around my “virtual dining room table” – …the sky’s the limit!

Ruth Korch
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Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists
20 Comments
  1. Sheila 2 months ago

    Just BEAUTIFUL! I loved seeing your work, Ruth. This is exactly how I would like to learn to journal. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

    • Ruth Korch 2 months ago

      Hi Sheila. Thank you! I encourage you to follow up on learning more about making letters and words beautiful!!

  2. rubiescorner 2 months ago

    I agree also. Your work is detailed, and wonderful.

  3. scrittoralinda 2 months ago

    All beautiful and I love the birds the most. Thank you
    Ruth for sharing.

  4. Mary Roff 2 months ago

    Beautiful!!! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Rosita Henley 2 months ago

    Beautiful paintings and letter work!

  6. Sandra Strait 2 months ago

    Your work is amazing and inspirational, Ruth! Thank you for sharing your artistic journey with us!

  7. Laura Hale 2 months ago

    What stunning art. I clicked your IG link so I can continue to follow your journey. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

    • Ruth Korch 2 months ago

      Thank you. It will be great to have an ongoing connection through IG!

  8. Linda Murray 2 months ago

    Your work is amazing! Thank you for sharing!

  9. Jean Mackay / Drawn In 2 months ago

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful work. I love combining hand lettering with watercolor in my journal, too. It’s exciting to see your approach. Just started following on IG so I can enjoy more of your work.

    • Ruth Korch 2 months ago

      Hi Jean. Its always great to find someone else who loves this combination! See you on Instagram :>)

  10. cherylllr 2 months ago

    very pretty, but often illegible… When the ??? rains blossoms???

    • Ruth Korch 2 months ago

      Hi Cheryl. Yes – that’s always a balancing act when combining text with art. I have to decide if I’m okay letting it be a little “mysterious” and not let legibility necessarily be the end all.
      And
      FYI, the word is “breeze” :>)
      Thanks for your comment!

  11. Mugdha 2 months ago

    Hello Ruth,

    Your work is beyond gorgeous and SO inspiring. I love your journalling idea and someday I wish to adorn a wall of my very own apartment with your art. 🙂

    Love,
    Mugdha

  12. Ruth Korch 2 months ago

    Wow – thanks so much for your very kind words Mugdha!!

  13. Suzanne 2 months ago

    Hi Charlie just did Sketchbook Revival 2022 and loved your workshop! Thank you 😊

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Aww thanks so much, Suzanne! I’m so thrilled you enjoyed it! 😃💕

  14. Tonya 1 month ago

    Wow absolutely beautiful art and lettering. Thank you so much for sharing your work, and I love the scriptures also. I’m inspired!

    • Ruth Korch 1 month ago

      Hi Tonya. Thanks so very much! It’s always a thrill to find out that your art has touched or inspired someone else. Now hopefully YOU can inspire someone with what YOU create! God Bless!

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