Since 1976
14 x 18 in.
Oil on panel

“I have recently found myself intrigued by small bits of the greater scene; the corner of a building, an edge of marsh, a little glimpse down that narrow path. I prefer to capture these moments en plein air – to represent the essence of that something which made me stop and go back.
This current body of work was created during several years of transition; trading in the commotion and energy of a small village for the peace and scholarly solitude of the woods. During this time, I find myself Finding Home in each painting; a quiet corner, solitary shadow, or sympathetic quality of light. Home seems to find me—in the mountains or in a tidal marsh—each place reveals its own slice of the familiar.”

Kari was raised at the edge of The Finger Lakes National Forest in Central New York State, which set the stage for her deep connection to the natural landscape. After earning her Bachelor of Science in Fine Art from Ashland University in Ohio, she worked as a decorative painter, faux finisher, and occasional muralist.

Kari and her husband Diego Ruiz opened a picture framing studio featuring fine art and gifts in 2007, and she began making studio paintings soon after. An encouraging local response to her work prompted more space at the boutique to be used to display paintings, and eventually the move to a much larger location. Due to the increased visibility of the new gallery, the draw on their time became much greater and began to cut into studio hours. At this time, Kari began to focus on plein air work, feeling the need to learn about light and shadow directly from the natural world. Diego was honing his craft as a stereo photographer, also needing to be outside during gallery hours. A decision had to be made: push the business to the next level by hiring employees, or downsize lifestyle to allow both of them to be able to travel and move forward with their artistic careers. The choice was made and the plan set in motion to close the storefront location and move to an online-only gallery. Kari and Diego have since sold their village home and moved back out to the Finger Lakes countryside where open fields, forests, lakes, streams, and farms can continue to inspire their work.

Kari is an associate member of the Oil Painters Of America, the New York Plein Air Painters, and the Ohio Plein Air Society. Her works are held in public and private collections throughout the US.

View more of Kari’s work at, and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.