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I live and paint in an old-fashioned sea town that was built around the harbor and still revolves around beach life.  I work in oil and wax (encaustic) paints on linen and canvas, experimenting with the latest and best materials available to help capture the movement and the light of the shore at the edge of the sea and the horizon above it.

There is a materiality to my paintings.  My process and studio practice is messy.  Gravity is engaged.  Pigment -- regardless of whether it is embedded in wax or oil medium -- is poured, blown, and manhandled.  Patterns evoking the sea, sand and sky emerge and I coax them, exploiting the materials to my end.  Color and form become sea foam carried by the wind, sunrise at the horizon, purposeful movement within a wave.

I rely heavily on daily observation at the beach, on the boat, along the harbor and then I work intuitively, expressively.  For the encaustic paintings, I work over a hot palate with iron and heat gun.  For the poured oils, I set up an outside studio where I have the room to toss large canvases around and the freedom to allow the paint to run and splatter.  Using either of these diverse mediums, after years of experimentation and practice, I can get the paint to rise to the challenge of the sea, and to produce the transient or translucent effects I seek.  I surrender to these unruly methods and mediums.  Like sailor to sea, I make peace.
For the encaustics, I fuse hundreds of layers of pigment-embedded wax, pushing the limits of the medium to work larger and lighter.  For the oils, I pour layer after layer of color that sometimes meld together, sometimes repel. The result is a confluence akin to abstract expressionism but reverential of the painters such as Winslow Homer who have painted “my” Singing Beach so beautifully before.

I think my paintings could be described as biomorphic, though my work is much more real than surreal and the bio referenced is of the natural world of the sea.  Though abstracted from the natural world, the perspectives of my paintings are experiential: the view from a beach chair of the waves rolling in, or the far-off vista of the sun rising to light up the water and ignite the horizon.
Ruth Hamill: Sea Spray Ruth Hamill: Take the Plunge
Sea Spray Take the Plunge
Ruth Hamill: Windy Ruth Hamill: North Shore ll
Windy North Shore ll



These abstract paintings are maps of inner landscapes, seascapes, and starscapes as well as reflections of the changes I see through time and the seasons as I look at the beauty of the natural world. They are collaborations with the painting itself, an active dialogue between "the painter" and "the work" that stretches forward and back in time; what has been made, what didn't get resolved, what is waiting to be seen. This process is like call and response in singing or like dancing, with the painting leading. I am willing to not know where the painting is going; open to discovery, to changes.

I have a been painting since childhood and it is my hope to bring all of my painting experiences to bear as I paint throughout my life.

Susan Strauss: Five Elements Susan Strauss: Out to Sea
Five Elements Out to Sea
Susan Strauss: Tempest Susan Strauss: Wave Structure 12x12
Tempest Wave Structure

1930 - 1990


HARRY NADLER, who lived and worked in New York and New Mexico, arrived in New York City in 1962, some ten years after the heyday of Abstract Expressionism. He absorbed the paintings of his predecessors, adapting their motivating ideas in a search for meaning in his own work. After immersing himself in the sensuousness of paint quality and the richness of color relationships—as exemplified by Paul Cezanne, Archile Gorky, Richard Diebenkorn, and others—he found a greater need for geometric structure in his paintings. Throughout his career, he combined this sensitivity of paint handling with geometry in order to create his unique vision of formal power and light. His work is represented in major museum collections and galleries throughout America and Europe. 


All my paintings are made up of the PHYSICAL: the act of painting, the craft, the process; the INTELLECTUAL: ideas, organization, spatial conditions; the INTUITIVE: expressive quality which is fluid and always changing. Immersed in this activity, can I find metaphors for the transcendent?

Notes for a talk by Harry Nadler, delivered at Sena Gallery East, Santa Fe, N.M. September 1, 1989

It may be too monotonous, but I seem to be striving for not a monotony, but an equanimity where each element is contradicted by another element, where the words good, bad, up, down, neg., pos., color vs. no color lose their meaning in something more important. What that something is, I find very hard to verbalize perhaps a state of mind is as close as I can come up with right now.

H.N. Journal

March 23, 1972

My new paintings are not depictions of nature, but "equivalences" for that crystalline quality of light that is so pervasive in New Mexico. That light for me is a visual metaphor for an interior state of clarity - the paintings attempt to represent a state of mind.

Clarity of space
whiteness of light
color of no color
Timeless, vast spaces where the mind draws inward.

H.N. Journal
April 30, 1974

It is clearer to me, more than ever before, that my paintings are meditations on this "hidden unity," the connection between the world of my senses, what I see, and how this material is translated into a painting which expresses the duality of opposites, although exploring relationships until a "quivering" relationship results in the painting - a completeness not seen, but felt in nature. The lines are related to script--Chinese, Phoenician, Hebrew--where the characters could possibly express a feeling, a "pictograph" of feeling.

H.N. Journal 
July 31, 1980

Harrry Nadler: Moon Grammer 2 Harry Nadler: Moongrammerlll
Moon Grammer #2 Moon Grammer lll
Harry Nadler: Sightings VI Harry Nadler: Night Journey
Sightings VI Night Journey


Farewell Sale

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