Artist at Café Latte


“My favorite paintings are of my family members; my mother-in-law, and my two aunts.” said Ruth Oseid Johnson, a local oil painter whose works have been displayed since June at Café Latte on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. Linda Quinn, an owner of the café, asked her to display her works after finding her at an Edina art show. 

Although Johnson likes winter and storms, her other works include calming summer landscapes, older buildings, and lounging cats. Her paintings are luminous, feminine, and bold with talent. “My oil paints are like an old friend that I know well. I start with a kernel of reality from my life,” said Johnson. “All my paintings are personal and I hope that my art speaks to the viewer.”

There are untold stories behind each painting: a lone woman in a café, or two people looking out at you over a sunlit dining table in Tuscany, or a cat lazily lounging in a summer chair.

“I used to paint on site outdoors but it became too uncomfortable to be out in the elements.” said Johnson. “So I got a good camera and on my walks along Minnehaha Creek I’d take pictures. I have been painting seriously since my children were four or five years of age.” Johnson graduated with a degree in art education in 1962 from the University of Minnesota.

She has had residences in California, Arizona, and Minnesota but now resides in Minneapolis to be near her grandchildren. She founded Canyonside Gallery, a co-op of professional artists in Wickenburg, Arizona, where she lived for 12 years.

“Local people in Wickenburg could not move beyond western cowboy art so most of the paintings were sold to international travelers from Europe.” said Johnson. “The Twin Cities is the third largest art center in the United States.”

When asked about her process/discipline, she said, “It is fear; fear of failure. Plus having an upcoming show creates a deadline for me. I have delivered wet paintings. And it takes a full week to just frame pictures.”

Johnson’s paintings will be at Café Latte until the end of February and then at Grand Hands, an art store at Dale and Grand, in March of 2010. For more information contact the artist at 612-922-9201.