Artists use all kinds of tools, everything from paint brushes to chain saws. One East Tennessee painter has found the perfect fit for her.
Clouds in the sky end up as images on canvas in the hands of Ruth Koh.
"I am a cloud watcher I absolutely love clouds," she said.
She said she got serious about painting. about 15 years ago.
"Getting started is the hardest part. I can stare at a canvas. It's like a writer staring at a blank sheet of paper," she said.
She finds inspiration in the sky and in her own backyard in Jefferson County. She transforms blank canvases into her vision of the outdoors and brings that natural beauty inside.
"There's so much beauty and it's so hard to see it sometimes and you can't take it all in. I think that's why I like painting with a palette knife. I can't paint every detail," she said.
A palette knife is a tool used to mix colored paint on an artist's palette. It's also a tool for putting that paint on canvas.
"When you can take a glob of paint and turn it into something soft it looks almost like it's been brushed but it isn't," she said. "I think that once I started using the palette knife I found the right tool for me and some people can do the same thing with a brush but for me a palette knife is what really works."
Ruth begins each painting with no real plan. She sees where the process takes her.
"It just sort of creates itself you know," she said. "It's not a task, it's not difficult, it's something that's here and then it just comes out on the canvas."
Ruth paints for herself but of course she loves it when other people enjoy her art.
"He came up to me and he looked sort of embarrassed and he said you know anything about art," she remembered an encounter in Nashville. "I've always heard you want art to speak to you and he said your art really speaks to me and I was like wow that's wonderful!"
Ruth Koh has been busy the last year or so caring for her mother and the stress is reflected in her painting style. It's a little less soft, a little more explosive.
"I'm going to keep going with this for awhile and see where it ends up. But it's good for me. It's therapy," she said with a laugh.
It's therapy for an artist who uses a palette knife to capture clouds.