Ruth Rea, Painting
There's something serene about getting lost in thought. It doesn't much matter what you think about, whether the mundane or the profound. Spending hours in a trance, enjoying the work of your hands, or getting lost in a curious train of thought, is its own reward. Painting is meditation, an activity to sink into. As I bring forth an image, slowly, layer by layer, all the world fades and there is only me and the canvas. The subjects of this series reflect this quiet meditation.
Pipes are at once tactile and contemplative. One smokes and thinks in the same way one prays while rolling the beads of a rosary between fingers, or the way one loses sense of time with every stroke of a paintbrush. The subtly sweet, nutty aroma and taste of tobacco are comforting, relaxing, and lift the mind like smoke on the breeze.
Tobacco pipes are neither bold like cigars nor expedient like cigarettes. They are quiet and take their time. In solitude, they invite silent reflection. In friendship, they invite conversation as friends enjoy each other’s company and a common hobby. But even when smoking with friends, there are sometimes those soft, shared moments of comfortable silence—when puffing, tamping, or lighting—when we are simply with one another.
Each pipe, real or painted, has its own personality. Some of my painted pipes are solitary. Others are companiable. Some are traditional still lifes, others represent people I know, and still others are characters unto themselves. They share a certain quietude, with soft textures and rich, earthy colors.
In a busy world of distractions and noise, I hope my paintings invite the viewer to just be with a painting, its colors and texture, partaking of the silence.