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Sabbatical refreshes Trotter’s art

Ruth Trotter, professor of art, presented the faculty lecture, “Artists in Residence: DRAWinternational Caylus, France,” on Monday. Trotter discussed her most recent work and her experience in France at the contemporary art center DRAWinternational. / photo by Garrett Gutierrez

Grady Lee Thomas
Staff Writer

During her sabbatical stay in Caylus, France, Ruth Trotter, professor of art, enjoyed fine art, traveling, culture and cheese.

On Monday, she presented, “Artists in Residence: DRAW­international Caylus, France,” a presentation that included video and images of Trotter’s research and time at in Caylus.

The medieval village of Caylus is located in southwest France.

The village, home to roughly 1,300 residents, inspired numerous images and served as a backdrop to Trotter’s experiences at DRAWinternational in Caylus.

“The influence of France in the old days is almost overwhelming … I noticed a very interesting cultural clash beginning to take place within people and landscapes I saw,” Trotter said.

Aside from reinvigorating her own artwork, Trotter said the time abroad also refreshed her teaching.

“Now, I feel can pay more attention to my students’ needs rather than some class rubric I create.”

The artwork Trotter produced while in southern France speaks volumes about how she interpreted and experienced life while in France.

“I know Ruth’s work very well and I always enjoy seeing it,” said Dion Johnson, director of ULV campus galleries.

“To see this new direction is something fresh. It’s a segue from earlier bodies of work … There is a logical progression with new inspired spontaneity,” Johnson said.

The setting in the President’s Dining Room was intimate and allowed for thoughtful questions.

Those in attendance were not only treated to the art and photography of Trotter, but to her stories from rural France and how she construed the landscapes she saw.

The audience was a diverse group including students, faculty and a few others that stopped by to enjoy the presentation.

“Ruth Trotter is an awesome lady,” Danielle Burgess, sophomore biology major, said. “I loved her drawings and pictures she made in France. She is able to express herself in the work she does and I think that is admirable.”

Most of those who attended were sure to stick around and ask questions about Trotter’s experiences in France.

“What I took away from the experience was a sense of color and space,” Trotter said. “The journey of it all was in going from time zone to time zone and place to place.

“The time away from work is seasoning and seasoning is research. I am much more excited about work again.”

Most of Trotter’s artwork created in France was made on faux wood contact paper.

“I painted a lot of what I saw in the landscapes while driving around the various towns, and a lot was done by memory of what I had seen while walking around,” Trotter said.

Grady Lee Thomas can be reached at

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