Ruth Feldman Fine Art
I paint from my soul - I believe that creativity is a spiritual response to living in the natural world. I paint not what I see, but rather what I don’t see - I try to paint what I believe. I study traditional Jewish texts and my art is my personal interpretative and expressive response to what I am learning. I have worked to align the artistic and spiritual dimensions of my life. My hope is to create a textual/tactile vision - which sings a meta-language of shared meanings which come from my heart and go to the heart of the viewer.
The medium of water is the least forgiving. Concentration is needed to make every brushstroke say what it means - no reviewing, no layering, no going back. There is a calm and focus I experience when I look at flowers - I want to paint, not the flower, but the moments in which its colors reveal themselves in the light. Just as flowers live but a brief moment in full bloom, so my painting are no more than a moment in time. I spent hours and days waiting for early flower shoots to arise from the seeds I plant. I then focus on the first buds and watch as they open. Later, when I paint them, I try to capture the bloom and the bud that live in my memory. I only paint from flowers or branches that are still alive. It’s a short time, but oh so special.
I think of my paintings as metaphor - new layers of meaning, inspired or evoked by the words of classical Jewish texts. In other words, I am not attempting to illustrate or provide a visual translation of the text, but rather to offer a visual response, a new medium for metaphor to get at other dimensions of meaning concealed within the words.
I am continually inspired by the words of the psalmist. When we pray, sing, or even say these verses, we can imagine that our words are as holy as those uttered by King David himself. After letting the words of the psalms resonate within me, I add the colors as another pathway leading them beyond. While the Temple stood, harps and trumpets heralded and accompanied the psalms. So, too, may my paintings open the words,
raising them aloft, toward their destination.
For me, the landscape is as spiritual as our own souls. I believe that all of the universe has been created, and is continually renewed each day. As we read in the daily Jewish prayerbook, “In His goodness, day by day, God renews His work of creation.” And so when I paint from nature, I do not try to draw what I see, rather I am trying to paint what is not limited to what I see with my eyes. I think of the light that is within and encompassing, light that infuses the natural world with vitality. It is as though the waterfall speaks or sings of the swift rushing of its waters. Just to be clear, I am not suggesting pantheistic or animistic ideas. Rather, I see the continuing creation at work in nature, and I paint that belief into the landscape paintings.
Tzfat or Safed, for centuries the home of mystics, lies high in the Galilee mountains in northern Israel. More than a contemporary city, it is a place of spiritual searching and longing. One of four cities that the Bible describes as holy, Tzfat remains a nucleus of creativity, where art and matters of the spirit continue to live and breathe.
For me, Tzfat is literally and metaphysically a place on high - surrounded by hills and valleys, marked by curving roads, circular pathways, and holy sites. And the light - brilliant with a clarity like nowhere else. Rich, mysterious blue inhabits its stone walls and iron gates. I first experienced that Blue over fifty years ago, and it has endured in my mind’s eye ever since. Each time I return to Tzfat, it comes back to life. My paintings re-visit that eternal BLUE and seek to radiate the clear, ethereal light found in Tzfat alone.
When I paint, my soul is singing! My abstract paintings explore the medium I am working with. Whether it is water, oil or acrylics, I am on an adventure - pushing myself to respond to the colors rather than directing them. I play with the paints to discover and uncover possibilities, to draw out new secrets. Beyond a simple sense of curiosity about where the colors will lead me, I am challenged, too, to know when to step back and stop. The balance that I seek to achieve in my paintings, more deeply, is a balance of forces within myself.
About the Artist
Ruthie Feldman, aka Dr. Ruth Pinkenson Feldman and the “Green Bubbie” is a believer in the creative power in each of us to be lifelong learners. Ruth has moved from representationalism to abstract expressionism in her paintings and layered meanings in her collages. She finds the interpretations viewers bring to her works endlessly intriguing and a strong motivation for her continued development as an artist.