21 SECRETS Spotlight :: Ro Bruhn


Every Wednesday at Dirty Footprints Studio Tonia Jenny, the 21 SECRETS Creative Director & Course Manager,  is interviewing one of the talented teachers in our program.  Be sure to sign up for blog notifications below to never miss a spotlight — and CLICK HERE to check out past interviews. 

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Hello Delightful One!

Ro Bruhn is our Spotlight Artist this week. Her work is so vibrant and full of interesting symbols and textures. I also think it’s clear she is passionate about color! In her 21 SECRETS Paper, Glue, Scissors workshop—Cut, Paste, Paint—Ro shares a very fun process of breathing a fresh perspective into torn magazine pages. I’ve been familiar with this wise woman’s work for years as it’s appeared in numbers books that I was fortunate enough to work on and I’ve seen the many facets of making she explores. I’m thrilled to share with you now just a little bit more about the artist behind this graphic and whimsical work.

How have your creative pursuits morphed or changed over the years?

I’ve created things for as long as I can remember and have painted since I was a teenager, many years ago. I trained as an engineering draftswoman and my creative outlet was making pottery, painting in pastels and bringing up my two daughters—they didn’t have a choice, art became a part of their lives, too.

After twenty years of drafting, I then studied and became a graphic designer. By this time, I had crossed over to painting with acrylics, textiles and jewelry making.

Mosaics snuck in there, too, for awhile.

I have a passion for art and color, I would find it very difficult to live without either. Now I work full time as an artist and teacher, loving every minute of it, and trying to use up even a small part of the stuff I’ve gathered over the years.

Is there an element about your process that you’re especially passionate about?

I would say it’s color, that comes before anything else when I create something, be it painting or textiles. I try really hard sometimes to do muted colors but a switch in my brain says not enough.

Is there a “secret message” you often want your work to convey?

I don’t know if you’d call it a secret message, but when I teach, I like to use recycled materials wherever possible. I try to keep my requirements list to a minimum and encourage students to bring things to class that they already have, and to stretch their imagination. I like people to look closely at my work and see things they would normally throw away, incorporated as features in my art.

What is the one thing you hope we remember from your workshop?

To have fun, let go and enjoy playing. It doesn’t matter what the end result is as long as you enjoyed the journey and freedom along the way.

Where will you be and what will you be doing five years from now?

Hopefully creating and teaching art and and not being an embarrassment to my six grand children, although that could be fun.

It’s clear Ro enjoys every bit of the journey she takes in creating her art. I can see how the range of disciplines she’s enjoyed over the years, influences what she creates today.

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Ro-Bruhn_headshotAbout Ro Bruhn

I’m a graphic designer but gave up full-time work six years ago to concentrate on my art and teaching. I’ve been an artist, in one form or another, all of my life. My passion is painting in acrylic and pastels, working with fabrics, papers and jewelry. Color plays a vital role in my work; its influence can be seen across all forms of my art.

I’ve exhibited in numerous exhibitions and also sell my work on-line. My artworks are in Australian and International collections. I’ve had my work published in Belle Amoire Jewelry Magazine, Australian Get Creative magazine, Australian Beader magazine, Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts and Cloth Paper Scissors. My art has been published in the books Plaster Studio, The Mixed-Media Artist, Storytelling with Collage, Textile Collage and Artist Journal Pages and I was recently one of six artists featured in Maggie Grey’s book Approaches to Stitch.

I teach workshops on a regular basis from my home and at other venues and have taught with overseas tutors at retreats here in Australia and New Zealand.


Ro is teaching Cut, Paste, Paint

In this class we will tear our way through a magazine, saving favorite images, patterned backgrounds and interesting words. You can also use your own color laser-printed photos if you prefer.

These images will be glued randomly to pages in a spiral bound journal or a journal where the pages sit flat. Once the glue has dried the fun begins. The images will be given a new life using acrylic paint markers. I work over a double page spread covering much of the original work. I finish by adding more marks and shapes using colored or black or white pens, and outlining some of the new images. It becomes very addictive and is a fun way to relax and get your mojo working again.

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