The South Branch Scribbler is very pleased to have Ralph Gruenewald as our featured guest for this month’s 4Q Interview. Not yet world famous, Ralph is an exceptional artist whose paintings are coveted by collectors of fine art. Originally from Montreal, Quebec, Ralph and his family reside in Moncton, New Brunswick. Both he and his wife are involved in retail management, his son Karl is also a gifted artist and his daughter Bianca is a performer with the Moncton Miracles of the Canadian Basketball League.
Ralph has a keen eye for detail. His talented use of colors and perspective makes his paintings unique and pleasurable to view.
4Q: When you were growing up, how did art become important in your life, something you wanted to create?
RG: I always doodled and drew since I can remember, but only as a teen did I start to paint with oils. I enjoyed the way you could work the colours endlessly because the oil would not dry sometimes for days unlike acrylics or watercolours.
I didn't do well in art classes in school, because stubborn German that I am, I had great distain for techniques other than my own and only realism, never abstract or any other form interested me. My son, on the other hand, just completed his bachelor's degree in fine arts, and was open to learning all techniques and mediums and as a result has far surpassed me in terms of ability and skills.
But I plug along and when I see a subject that interests me I usually take many photos of it and work from those to create a painting that I enjoy.
4Q: Moncton High School is an historic building in the city and just recently closed. You have recently been commissioned to create a sketch of the grand structure. How did this come about?
RG: My daughter was captain of the Moncton High Cheerleading squad and they needed to raise money for travel and expenses, so I volunteered to paint a picture of Moncton high for them to raffle off and raise money, so I did. The following year I did it again, but this time did it in a graphite drawing. It turned out very nicely and during the raffle the principal of the school Mr. Belong asked if I would do a larger version to display at the new Moncton High, which I accepted. After much deliberation I came up with the idea of outsourcing the job to my son, Karl because I thought it would be more meaningful to have a work like this done by an alumni of the school, and with his training and technical ability, he produced a work greater than I could ever have!
The drawing, nicely framed now hangs in the entrance to the offices in the new Moncton High. Upon my delivering the drawing to the school, Mr. Belong was so pleased, he asked me if I could do three more drawings of the old building to decorate the new offices and I accepted the commission, but to date neither I or my son Karl have had a chance to start them.
4Q: Please share a childhood memory or anecdote.
RG: As a teen growing up in the seventies, immersed in psychedelic music and other mind altering sources I came up with the theory that if I produced a work of art so terrifying that if a person stared at it long enough their mind would so want to escape the image that they would project themselves into another dimension just to escape it! Needless to say, I tried but it didn't work and all I got were some awful paintings that were so bad that I don't remember whatever became of them.
4Q: As well as the above mentioned commission, I understand that you have been busy with other commissions as well these past few months. What is in the future for Ralph Gruenewald and his art?
RG: I painted a lot of fishing boats at various wharves around New Brunswick for many years from photos that I had collected. Many of them are now in private collections in New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec. I have done many animal paintings over the years, and now I'm thinking of a new subject to take on, as soon as I have all my commissions done, I'll be starting a series of works focused on something like old barns or abandoned structures that I find interesting. I will work from photos that I will take this summer on my travels.
Lastly, thank you Allan for giving me the opportunity to share this with your readers I hope you enjoy the pictures that are included. Ralph
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on The Scribbler.
If you have any questions or projects for Ralph, you can reach him at
Next week on the Scribbler, I am happy to have author Susan Toy of Bequia return with a short story, Another Day in Paradise.
Susan is a terrific author and I know you will enjoy her work.