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"Warm Light, Cool Shadows" by Nancy Smith Hopp Heralds Influential Artist, RUTH VAN SICKLE FORD

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

Ruth Van Sickle Ford was a pioneering artist and teacher with a reputation for brilliant colors and a free sense of perspective vividly reflected in this expansive book about her life, career and influence. As a lifelong Fox Valley resident, Ford studied with respected masters, including George Bellows, and went on to mentor the winners of Pulitzer prizes, Academy Awards, and other recognitions when she was president of the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts from 1937 to 1960.

Ruth is also known, however, for the extraordinary round house constructed of coal and glass that architect Bruce Goff designed and built for her and her husband, Sam, on the west side of Aurora, IL in 1948.

When author, Nancy Hopp, was in grade school, she had the opportunity to watch the construction of the Ford's new house which was just a few blocks from her own home. In 1965, Nancy enrolled in Ruth's painting class at Aurora University. When Ruth was inducted into the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame in 2002, Nancy was further inspired to tell the artist's whole story which is beautifully portrayed in this richly detailed book.

Ruth Ford was respected by many professional artists she nurtured while they were students, but she is also fondly remembered by numerous local amateur artists she introduced to watercolor painting where she never wavered from her emphasis on teaching technique first.

TO PURCHASE: Nancy is offering this book to ArtBEAT readers for only $40.00. This price includes sales tax and shipping/delivery. Call Nancy at 630-892-0113 or email her at Or, simply send a check made out to PenWorks Press, 175 S. Western Avenue, Aurora, IL 60506. Please note "ArtBeat on the memo line.

Author, Nancy Hopp, poses with a Van Sick Ford watercolor.

Artist, Ruth Van Sickle Ford in the 1930s.

Untitled New England street scene (circa 1960s), watercolor by Ford.

"Christmas is Coming" 1975; watercolor by Ford.


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