An Artist’s Journey

Rus has always been on a journey, and she has always been creative.

“The way I see it is that life is a journey. G-d puts you in different places, in different times, and as you grow older you evolve. Different doors begin to open for you.” Many doors have opened for her over the course of her busy life.

“When I first got married I was in art. I took a couple of classes at the Sadie Bronfman.” She opened the doors of her own business as a clothing designer and manufacturer. For eleven years in this environment she found creative outlet and her instincts for colour and texture grew sharper. After stepping away from the industry in 2011 her creative outlet was religious teaching to which she attributes a great part of her growth. She still needed to make things again with her hands.

The next part of her journey was the discovery of her painting talents.

A fierce love of painting began to bud.  She works in oil paints exclusively. The paints are applied and manipulated wet. They have a heavy texture that takes as long as three weeks to dry. Oil paints are known for their gloss and vibrancy. She often contrasts sandy earth tones against blue skies that seem charged with electrical power. Her canvases are typically large, often four feet by three feet.

The idea behind the work

Rus works in a busy studio. One wall is covered corner to corner in bookshelves containing an extensive library of Judaica. Another wall is full of neat boxes stuffed with kids’ toys — life is busy in this family. It is between these two things — her faith and family — that her easel and paint splattered desk are found. Her journey led her to this point. Art classes, clothing design and religious teaching at high school, were the ingredients that led her to painting.

“Most of all, my priority has been a vibrant, family-oriented Jewish life.” Painting has become an expression of that. “Teaching is definitely part of the journey because that made me more spiritual, it made me more knowledgeable in Torah and other spiritual aspects that infused me and my art.”

Looking back over the thirty-six years of their marriage, she and Nachman recently discussed why she had not taken up the brush full time earlier in life. The answer was it was not in the plan for that time. Even if she had been able to do it technically, it would not have been with the personal maturity and spirituality she needed to approach these subjects in depth.

“Everything has its time, everything has its place. He has a journey for you to go through and you have to let go and let it just happen in a peaceful way. I feel that everything is perfectly right, at the right time. And you just have to have faith. You have challenges in life that are difficult but that is part of your growth. Each challenge brought you to a different actualization, more understanding and inner growth.” It is this mature view of faith that she makes real on canvas.

“I paint. What? I paint Jewish life. I can’t put it any simpler than that and a primary focus is on prayer and the emotion that prayer evokes.”

Subjects include:

  • Different aspects of prayer
  • The old city in Jerusalem and the Western Wall / the Kotel
  • Seminal events in Torah
  • Jewish cultural life
  • Biblical Jewish art

“Right now I’m just enjoying being creative and I finally have an outlet for my creativity. Yes, I was a designer, yes I was a teacher but painting gives me a certain peace like I’ve fulfilled what I’m meant to be.” She reflects on the meditative process of painting, adding, “When I have difficulty with brush stroke, I do say ‘Please Hashem, hold my hand.'”