Ruiz 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. Eventually Ruiz began to shift her focus to working en plein air, feeling the need to learn about light and shadow directly from the natural world. Her 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.