Ruth and the Blue River
Oil on Canvas
24" x 28"
One artist’s view of Spectrum Artworks
Spectrum Artworks is a community of talented artists with the common experience of being diagnosed with a major mental illness. Art is a form of intelligent, insightful communication. That we come together to fight stigma by communicating in this way shows our strength, understanding and willingness to overcome injustice. To do this we work with courage. It takes courage to be defined as a person living with a major mental illness. We feel that by being open, positive representatives, the definition of the term will change. Eventually more people will live without shame.
Spectrum is more than a drop in center. The organization supports our efforts by providing us with vital services (such as having a nurse on duty during drop-in hours, help with housing assistance, support groups, and social gatherings.) Spectrum Artworks also supplies materials, space, and simply a place to be dignified. Here we are able to inspire one another and work on mastering our craft. By living as artists within this community, we are more easily able to realize our dream of dispelling ignorance and spreading the love of art.
Ruth and the Blue River is blue because…
In painting, as in life there are supposedly rules, and as the saying goes, those rules are made to be broken. Here I break simple rules of a portrait. Ruth’s contours are exaggerated and the blue contrasts that of her actual pink skin. When I do this, it is to be true to the combined feeling of both Ruth and myself, while sparking a stronger response from the viewer. I demand participation from the viewer by evoking their internal dialog. There is a critique that arises on esthetic and meaning. I capture the essence of Ruth by the shape of her face, and the look in her eyes. Her likeness is still as genuine as a photograph. Sometimes fiction tells a truer story.
The river represents the Hudson, which she grew up near. The memory of childhood and the flowing of the river convey a passing of time. The colors in the painting are meant to produce reflection and a feeling of melancholy.