Ruth Little

I grew up in Fayetteville, in eastern North Carolina, and spent summers on Bogue Sound in Morehead City, N.C. In my professional life I study and write about Carolina architecture, so many of my paintings depict my favorite locales, such as the old Amtrak station off Capital Boulevard, the City Market in Raleigh, the Courthouse Square in Yanceyville, North Carolina, or fish houses on the coast. Regardless of the subject, however, my paintings are ultimately about color. To me, color is the most amazing aspect of nature. In my art it is an end in itself. I am working towards purer color, less “local” color, and towards abstraction of form. I like to paint familiar forms with invented colors that make the viewer do a double take. Another important artistic element in my work is form. I admire form with a strong profile that encloses an opening, such as an arch. I admire the shapes of covered outdoor spaces, such as porches, waiting platforms at railroad depots, arcades, piazzas, and verandas. The feeling of a sheltered space within nature is very comforting.

I have worked in clay, watercolor, acrylic, and oil since the 1970s. I attended college at UNC-Chapel Hill and Brown University, and earned a Ph.D. in art history. I operate a consulting business, Longleaf Historic Resources ( My most recent book, Carolina Cottage: A Personal History of the Piazza House, explores the history of the front porch (piazza) as a space that has molded people into communities since the eighteenth century. I named our artists’ group the Roundabout Art Collective because, just as the traffic roundabout is an open space that collects and organizes cars, our cooperative rounds up artists into an open space of creativity.

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