HOXIE — Ed Rucker has two passions: Fine art and music. He earned a fine art degree from Fort Hays State University, but hadn’t pursued his art seriously for some time.

When asked a few years ago to create some pieces for a Hoxie community art walk, he got the idea to combine those two passions into a unique style of painting. His signature creations feature vivid, colorful paintings created over sheet music.

“It just came to me one day. I was like, ‘Well, what do I do?’ ” Rucker said. “Well, let’s add this, let’s add this.”

His paintings require a detailed process calling for an unusual mix of materials. He starts with a fine-tip permanent marker and a straight edge ruler to create the sheet music.

“This is a lot of work,” he said. “You’re making a whole sheet of music before you even start the piece, and then you end up covering almost all your work.”

He thickens the music with a thicker marker, then creates the top layer with colored pencils, following with watercolor and acrylic paint to create a rich blend of color.

Some paintings include an additional layer of gloss or gold shimmer, and each creation leaves some white space that is the actual sheet music showing through.

Many of his paintings are musical in nature, ranging from jazz singers to percussion players and portraits of his four children — all of whom also play at least one instrument.

Others are a reflection of Christian faith, including a popular print of Mary cradling the baby Jesus painted over the song “For Unto Us A Child Is Born.” A full-size painting of the Virgin Mary and Jesus crucified were purchased online and now hang in a Catholic church in Canada, he said.

“They got bought, and they were gifted to the church. It was going to be for an auction, but the priest walked in and said, ‘Those are going in the church,’ ” Rucker said. “He said since those pictures came into his church, there’s a big difference in his congregation now. He said those pictures are making a change in people’s hearts.”

Rucker has a few pieces on display in an Arizona gallery and is working to get his art in more places. He enjoys participating in local art shows and has a website where paintings, prints and merchandise can be ordered.

He also works with fused glass and continues to create occasional sculptures.

Rucker majored in fine art at Fort Hays State University, studying ceramics. But he initially was torn on whether to major in music, and ultimately decided to study art but play in several bands during his college years.

He took only a few classes in painting or drawing, but said former FHSU art instructor Kathleen Kuchar left a lasting impact on his art style.

“She would always say every picture must have black in it to have white, so everything has a lot of black in it. And then she’d say cows can be purple if they want to be,” he said with a laugh. “But what she taught me was you can do anything any color to convey the feeling. Skies don’t have to be blue, they can be purple if that’s the feeling you need. Or they can be red.”