Elusive Muse is pleased to introduce Emily Cline (Ruby Shea)


I was raised in a small, Iowa town by a farmer/banker and a teacher/artist – the youngest sister for two (big) brothers. I was an overachiever in high school, then nearly clunked out at Iowa State University. I loaded up my yellow Corolla and moved to Pensacola, Florida where I found myself a beach-betty and waitress. There, I won a local modeling contest and moved back north to start my modeling career. 23 years, 5 countries, 9087 apartments, 8 cats, 1 massive Anatolian Shepherd, and a whole lotta life later….

I’m married to a super smart East Coast guy who still makes me laugh.
I’m raising a brave, boundary-pushing 8-year-old boy.
I cherish my friends, love animals, honor my masters.
I act (sometimes).
I model (rarely).
I study (constantly).

 RubyShea — Where’s the name from?

The name RubyShea comes from my deepest loves: my blood family and my chosen family.

Ruby is the “blood”. Gramma Ruby (Cline) grew the smallest, sweetest strawberries you ever tasted! She loved her (Methodist) church, and her family — and all the calamity that came with us: her two sons, their wives, six grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, most whom she lived long enough to meet. “Ruby” stands for all of my family, on both sides– Cline (dad) and Chandler (mom). Even though they’re all in the midwest, I am who I am because I’m grounded with them and our gorgeous, messy, real history.

Shea is for my “chosen” family, starting with Scott Shea, my husband in this 11-year, traveling marriage (how can anyone be married that long!). That family continues to our wily son, Scott’s family, my generous and patient teachers, and all my Yemma Tribe sisters who not only keep me sane but also keep me on this earth. (You know who you are, you scalawags.)
With all that history and love, RubyShea births my art!

…And now for our exclusive interview with Emily Cline

How would you describe your art?
I would say it’s a hot mess! But as a mixed-media art journalist, I would describe it as vibrant, spirited, and as spontaneous as I can make it. I mix paint and ink together with paper in a stream-of-consciousness-collage-way, allowing colors to burst, fade, drip, and find their own path.

How long have you been an artist and how did you become an artist?
I believe we are all creative; we all create artistically — dentists, construction
workers, painters, moms. I started acting over 25 years ago, but when I got pregnant and had my son 8 years ago, I found myself unwilling and unable
to travel and keep actor’s hours like I used to. That’s when I started art journaling: I had to do something to get my creative ya-ya’s out. I took classes at Pasadena’s Art Center for Design, and my love for art journaling really kicked in about 5 years ago. But it wasn’t until 2 years ago that I considered myself an “artist”: when I began considering it my “job”, selling pieces regularly. That’s when I really started loving my work and losing myself in it.

 What is your favorite medium and why?
Paint and ink! I know, I know, that’s two.
But why not? I love them both! I used to be intimidated by the thought of using paint because I hadn’t studied. Thankfully, somewhere along the way, I figured out that’s bullish*t. I can paint. I love paint. But it always needs a good splot of ink!

Christine's Ganeesh
Christine’s Ganeesh

Pick one work of art from your portfolio and tell us the story behind it. Why does this piece have meaning to you? What steps did you take to create the piece?
The piece above titled “Christine’s Ganeesh” is the piece that rocked my world. I said yes to make a commission for a trade, and then I was in a total panic. I didn’t know how to create something for someone on demand! No way! I couldn’t do it!! But piece by piece, bit by bit, I did it! And I loved it.

I started by asking her to list a few things she and her family like; she said Ganeesh, sanscrit, corals, and blues. Then I thought about who she is — smart, spiritual, successful independent businesswoman, wife, mom, creator of beauty.

My process after that was the process I usually follow: I put gesso on the page to get my hands moving. Then colors — layering — blending colors on top
of and next to. I added a little collaging. Some journaling, and some writing (and, in this case, Sanskrit), stenciling, stamping. I used white tracing paper to place Ganeesh, then went over him again and again for more definition. That’s when I had small disasters with Ganesh and other detail pen work on the page: I sprayed sealant over the page. The spray sealant dissolved everything I did! So, I re-lined everything. Sprayed again. It disappeared again! Slowly, I found a compromise between hair spray, gel medium, and ink, and I’m not really sure which one won.

Tell us about one medium, technique or style that you would like to try working with (that you have not tried before) and why you would like to try this.
So much to do; so little time! I’d love to work BIG. REEEEEEALLY BIG. I know I have to do it some time because it scares the helloutta me! I’m also intrigued by encaustics, but I think that’s mostly because although I like the look of it, I have no idea how it works.

How do you make time for art?
It’s my daily habit. Four and a half years ago, I moved from my Los Angeles to my New York — kicking and screaming all the way. My very dear friend Heather Arndt (who is an amazing artist), gave me an Italian journal/book (picture attached) with 365 blank pages in it and challenged me to do something in it every single day. The idea was to post it on a private website just for us, so we could keep in touch that way, but it didn’t pan out. But my daily art habit did. It has kept me sane and alive through some of the most difficult times I’ve had as an adult.

If you could imagine the “perfect art day” for yourself, what would it be like?
I’ve had it already — how lucky am I?! A couple of perfect art days, actually. Doing art in Puerto Vallarta at Sam’s Hacienda with Lisa Sonora and a gaggle of Gorgeous Geniuses. Attending an Orly Avineri workshop with Heather Arndt, meeting BrianKastle, Jennifer Janou Frank, MaryAnn Ready, Irene Rafael, Gina Rossi Armfield, and all those beautiful generous souls. And a relaxed Sunday afternoon in my home with Karel Cline (my mom) and Ronit Salei — both incredible, intuitive, beauty-full women, who are my teachers and guides not only in art but also in life.

If you could spend 24 hours with one artist, living or historical, who would you want to spend the day with and why? What would the two of you do?
My first thought (after the people I just listed in the paragraph above) is Frida Kahlo. I love Frida’s creativity in her art. But I’m also deeply curious about how she interpreted her normal (could it be considered “normal”?), day-to-day life. I’d love to insert myself right next to her into a time when she felt most alive, when she was in flow — not just in her art, but her life.

Do you have any tips or advice for aspiring artists?
Do it every day! And always, always, say “yes!”

To learn more about Emily Cline, to purchase something or to see even more of her beautiful work, follow any of the links below: