Written by Daniel Offner Friday, 11 July 2014 08:29
If you stopped by the Farmingdale Public Library this past week, perhaps you noticed all of the paintings and art pieces currently on display. For the entire month of July, the library will feature the many styles of artist/poet Ruth Lawrence.
“I’ve been exhibiting for quite a few years,” said Lawrence, “I am always happy to show my work.”
Lawrence, 87, of East Meadow, said she first began painting at just 12 years old. She recalls, at the time her sister had been dating someone who worked at an art supply store, and had gotten her some oil-based paints as a present.
However, Lawrence’s artistic skills were not honed solely through her painting. As a toddler, Lawrence said, she remembers sketching birds with her mother at the kitchen table.
“I have many fond memories of that,” Lawrence said, as she thought of her mother and how she taught her to draw.
Although Lawrence would go to work a clerical job for the government, she always had a passion for teaching kids about art.
Later in life Lawrence would go back to school, where she became certified to teach art. However, once in the field, working as a substitute teacher, Lawrence would come to find that the student’s were too much to handle.
“I guess I am just a softy,” Lawrence said.
She remembered how students would throw crayons and how one student even lit a fire in class. Although passionate about teaching children, Lawrence said she is too old now to try again.
But her passion to teach children did not fade out completely. Using her passion for poetry, Lawrence wrote and published about 50 little limericks for kids. A regular Shel Silverstein, she compliments each one with her own unique designs.
“I don’t know how it started really,” she said, “my imagination runs wild here and there.”
Lawrence said she is always exploring different styles of art, always finding room for improvement. From copying the classic works of impressionists like Renoit or Matisse, to her surrealistic portraits, Lawrence has really created a style all her own. Her most notable works include her surrealistic paintings, which depict an almost cloud like atmosphere. While you can catch a few of her cloud portraits, including her piece “Diogenes, Searching for an Honest Man,” at her exhibit in Farmingdale, Lawrence said she keeps her favorite portrait close. Hanging in her living room, she has hung an 8-foot portrait of a man riding a chariot. She explains that the two horses are meant to depict Plato’s definition of man’s eternal struggle, the heart versus the head, passion versus reason.
“Picasso had a lot of styles,” she said, “but most had just the one style.”
While Lawrence continues to grow as an artist, she continues to delight local patrons with her own unique style of art. If you hadn’t already caught Ruth Lawrence’s exhibit, don’t fret, as her works will be kept on display at the Farmingdale Public Library for the entire month of July.