Diane Ruhkala Bell: A Happy Medium
After majoring in art at Chico State University, Diane Ruhkala Bell went on to study at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. Although she ended up working as a designer for many years, Ruhkala Bell never ceased to create art and continued taking classes and workshops near her hometown of Rocklin. “I think I’ve always been an artist…intrigued by shapes, colors, and textures.” These days, the multi-faceted artist—whose work is found in collections throughout the U.S. and abroad in Finland, France, and India—creates award-winning, ethereal works in a variety of mediums, including printmaking, oils, and wax. Catch her in action at the annual Art Studio Trek next spring.
HLB: What do you love most about your community?
DRB: I’ve always lived in Rocklin, as did my father’s family. I’m fortunate to have a large, supportive extended Ruhkala family here, as well as my husband, who tolerates my messy studio and collections of found objects: metal, bones, beach finds, and even snakeskin!
HLB: Describe your artistic process.
DRB: I use many different mediums in my artwork. I’ll do a series of prints on my press, and then a series of assemblage pieces using the remnants of Rocklin’s old quarry sheds. I use acrylics and more recently encaustic (beeswax and resin), cold wax, and oil. I often combine several different mediums in one piece.
HLB: You prefer your work to be more elusive—why is that?
DRB: I like allowing people viewing [my work] to wonder a little and come up with their own interpretation of what I’m trying to say. I usually start with something random and watch where it takes me—I have to play with the process and see what happens.
HLB: You’re highly involved with youth and the arts. Why is this an important cause for you?
DRB: I enjoy sharing my art techniques during local open studio events. Children love using my printing press, and their creativity amazes me. We all need creative outlets to balance out the “have-tos” in our sometimes-stressful lives. Creating art is something I have to do; it’s a part of who I am.
HLB: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
DRB: Keep creating art, even when you think you don’t have time or you’re not feeling inspired. Visit art galleries, attend artist talks, and take workshops from inspiring teachers, but find your own unique voice. dianeruhkalabell.com
by Heather L. BeckeR
October 20 – Symphony Night. Listen to the Auburn Symphony Clarinet Quartet while enjoying beer, wine, and heavy appetizers at this closing reception from 5-8:30 p.m. for the Mya Louw Show and Art Bra Show. bluelinearts.org/event/symphony-night-milton-bowens-reception
Artwork photos courtesy of Diane Ruhkala Bell.
Artist photos by Dante Fontana.