Kari was raised at the edge of The Finger Lakes National Forest in Central New York State, which set the stage for her deep connection to the natural landscape. After earning her Bachelor of Science in Fine Art from Ashland University in Ohio, she worked as a decorative painter, faux finisher, and occasional muralist. Kari and her husband Diego Ruiz opened a picture framing studio featuring fine art and gifts in 2007, and she began making studio paintings soon after. An encouraging local response to her work prompted more space at the boutique to be used to display paintings, and eventually the move to a much larger location. Due to the increased visibility of the new gallery, the draw on their time became much greater and began to cut into studio hours. At this time, Kari began to focus on plein air work; feeling the need to learn about light and shadow directly from the natural world. Diego was honing his craft as a stereo photographer, also needing to be outside during gallery hours.  A decision had to be made: push the business to the next level, or make a change which allowed both of them to be able to travel and move forward with their artistic careers. The choice was made and the plan set in motion to move their gallery online only to Kari and Diego have since moved back out to the finger lakes countryside where open fields, forests, lakes, streams, and farms can continue to inspire their work.

Artist Statement:

“I have recently found myself intrigued by small bits of the greater scene; the corner of a building, an edge of marsh, a little glimpse down that narrow path. I prefer to capture these moments en plein air - to represent the essence of that something which made me stop and go back.

This current body of work was created during several years of transition; trading in the commotion and energy of a small village for the peace and scholarly solitude of the woods. During this time, I find myself Finding Home in each painting; a quiet corner, solitary shadow, or sympathetic quality of light. Home seems to find me - in the mountains or in a tidal marsh- each place reveals its own slice of the familiar.”

Kari’s works are held in public and private collections throughout the US and Canada

Ithaca Journal   December 27, 2016

click to read full article:

PleinAir Today   June 19, 2017

click to read full article:

Life In The Finger Lakes Magazine

May/June 2017

click to read full article:

Outdoor Painter   September 2, 2020

click to read full article:




press & resume

Kari Ganoung Ruiz

painting gallery






still life


events & workshops