A silent auction of Ruth Hopkins’ paintings will benefit the Cancer Association of Anderson. Bids can be made during a reception on Thursday, Oct. 11, from 7-9 p.m. at the Cancer Association of Anderson, located at 215 East Calhoun Street. Over 40 pieces by Hopkins, along with some photographs by her husband, Mark, and other paintings she has collected over the years, will be available for purchase.
The idea for the sale came from Hopkins, a longtime member and former president of the Anderson Artists Guild. “I have a lot of art,” she said. “I gave my children and grandchildren what they wanted, and I have favorites in my house, and I still had 40 to 50 pieces left. I was trying to think what to do with them to make a difference. I’m one of many in the community currently battling cancer, so I thought maybe they’d find a good home with somebody that wanted them, and the Cancer Association would benefit.”
Angie Stringer, executive director of the Cancer Association of Anderson, was thrilled with Hopkins’ proposal. “I’ve always loved her artwork,” Stringer said. “She’s such a talent and means so much to the community, and we’re so grateful that the Cancer Association will have an opportunity to share her artwork. She means a lot to us.”
An art auction is unusual for the organization. “This is the first time we’ve done anything like this,” said Stringer. “It will be like a gallery preview. People can wander through with hors d’oeuvres and wine and bid that night. Then we’ll leave the work displayed for two weeks, and people can come by and make bids. We will alert winners on the final day.”
Proceeds from the sale will help support the association’s services, which include helping patients with transportation, medication, and equipment.
Most of Hopkins’ paintings for sale are watercolors, as well as some acrylic paintings and some drawings. “I like how quick and fluid watercolor is and all the blendings you can easily get,” she said. “Either you have it or you don’t. If not, move on and start another painting.” Some of her pieces illustrate one of her favorite techniques—negative painting—in which she covers the canvas with a bright color and then paints in the negative, or dark, colors.
Her subjects are varied though she has a particular fondness for flowers. “I’m largely a realistic painter,” she said. “It’s fine with me if the colors are not realistic, but it bothers me if the shapes aren’t somewhat realistic.”
A native of Missouri, Hopkins majored in elementary education and art at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau. She taught elementary school for a few years, then worked as a high school and college art instructor for a few years before moving with her family to Anderson, where she has taught many classes over the years at the Anderson Arts Center. Her main advice to students is to interpret what they see rather than try to replicate a photograph. “Give yourself the freedom to expand,” she said. “What you paint doesn’t have to be exact.”