Manhattan School of Music is my Alma Mater. I studied French horn and played professionally for 30 years. A few years ago I sent them an updated biography, including my paintings that feature musicians. Last fall the alumni department contacted me asking permission to write an article featuring my work.

You’ll find a short interview included in the current issue of the Manhattan School of Music Newsletter. I’m honored to share the link with you here. You’ll have to scroll down a little bit, but just look for the girl holding paintbrushes – that’s me, Ruth Ellen Hoag.

Music remains an important part of my life. With season tickets to the LA Philharmonic, I can feed my soul. I sit behind the first horn player, and never miss a note! It’s quite fantastic! I also use the opportunity to sketch musicians as they make their way on stage. It’s a way of living vicariously from a time in my life that brings back fond memories of music-making.


“Waiting for the Dude” ©Ruth Ellen Hoag SOLD

Painting and music are creative sisters. Notes are like brushstrokes, both require rigorous practice and exploration to find the mood and feeling of a piece. Knowledge of theory supports the finished work, but in the moment of creation, one only thinks about the expressive opportunity. I am one with the music and one with the paint.

Music Academy bass players

“Three Men on Bass”  ©Ruth Ellen Hoag SOLD

Music Academy of the West

I have a great outlet in Santa Barbara to “feed my soul” with The Music Academy of the West’s Summer Festival. It’s eight weeks of world-class young musicians studying there. “Three Men on Bass” says it all: flip-flops and shorts by day, black dress by night. I’m thrilled that three of my paintings hang at the idyllic campus in The Main House, and I get to hang out with the French horn department, going to their master classes and concerts, making life-long friends along the way.

Music and art go hand in hand, as Aristotle said, “All of the arts are brothers, each one a link to the others.”