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Marathon Portrait Painter Barnaby Ruhe Gets a Second Wind

Ruhe, who once painted for 26.2 hours straight, does a mere five hours for a fundraiser at a restored stone barn in Upper Milford.

When Barnaby Ruhe was a young student at the U.S. Naval Academy, he would draw hundreds of two-minute sketches of whatever was around him.

“That was before I became an artist,” he explains. “When I finally went to a museum and looked at the paintings, I said, ‘That must have taken them at least a half hour.’”

Now Ruhe, an Upper Milford Township artist who is known for doing marathons of portrait painting, says he’s so used to painting fast he can’t slow down.

He was at it again Thursday evening at the restored barn of a neighbor, Kathleen D. Miller, where he was doing a five-hour "Paint In" as a fundraiser. Ruhe painted portraits of people who made a donation to help pay Miller’s expenses to attend the Democratic Convention in September as a delegate. 

Ruhe said he was inspired to become a marathon painter after running one of the 26.2-mile races. To see if he could do it, he painted for 26.2 hours. “I thought I would hit the hour of the wolf and go wild – berserk,” he said. But just as with marathon running, after a certain point, he got a second wind.

“You get fresh brain cells,” he said. 

When he’s not marathon running and marathon painting, he’s teaching art at New York University or flying to exotic locales to do astonishing feats with boomerangs, as seen on Youtube. 

In fact, Ruhe might well be the only artist in America who is also a six-time boomerang champion. In December, a Brazilian televison station is flying him in to perform a boomerang trick he did on the Jay Leno show.

Ruhe's portraits have vibrant splashes of color but not all the paint makes it onto the canvas. His painting pants look a bit like a Jackson Pollack painting themselves -- a walking canvas. 

Early in the evening, Ruhe finished one portrait in about 15 minutes, took a few swigs of beer, chatted with the donors, and then called over his next subject.  The night was young and he had to pace himself. 

Richard Rosen August 23, 2012 at 03:48 PM
OMG typical democrat grubbing other peoples money to pay for him to go on a nice trip! Thats how you comrads think, but it all comes to an end in November. What will he have next a Tupperware party? Then a candle party? He want s to go vote for his socialist leader but wants to go on others peoples dime. Ever hear of a republican grubbing money to go to a convention? As Margaret Thatcher said" The problem with socialism is sooner or later you run out of other peoples money to spend". You people have to go to work and fenn for yourselves- stop looking for others to support you and pay your way. It's called good old fashioned hard work. - and yes we did do it on our own- nobody did it for us !! So grab all the free taxpayer money while you can while Stalin is still running things for now but come January it's Dosvedanya Comrads!!!!!!

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