|Biography of Ruth Romanowski,|
When I compare my childhood memories with those of my friends, I am amazed at how different my memories are from everyones. First of all, when my family went to town, it was not in an automobile, but in a wagon drawn by horses. My parents were of the Mennonite religion; therefore a great deal about my up bringing was decidedly different from most other folks. My earliest recollection of my being aware of these differences came from my first experience with the urge to appreciate and eventually to imitate art. Because of its significance in making an impression upon me at the time, as well as its influence on me as an artist, I would like to recount this story.
This story begins in Aberdeen, Monroe County, Mississippi U. S. A. in the late 1950s. When I was about 2 ½ maybe 3, there was a fire in the tall round wood heater in the family room, it was getting late, past time for the family to eat, but father did not want to eat, mother brought him a cup of coffee. Father had a heart attack that evening.
Fathers interpretation of the heart attack was that God told him very loud and clear that he was living much to fast, father had many more visions before his recovery. There was to be no more motorized equipment, truck tractor and so on, no phones and no running water in the house. The electric wires at our house were pulled out of the walls. Our transportation now was a wagon pulled by horses; we plowed the garden and fields with horse and mules. Going to the doctor when sick was not completely forbidden but was very strongly discouraged, it was seen as a lack of faith in God to take care of you.
Now there was a split in the church all the other families rejected fathers interpretations. For some years all the school age children of both groups attended the one room school in the community grades one through eight. When I was in the 2nd grade (the youngest of fifteen children) my parents decided they must isolate us even more. Taking us out of school, because as we got older my siblings were leaving home one by one and going to the other group which had a lot more people in it and they had continued with their lives with electricity and all the other things. Mother made an attempt to teach me how to add and subtract; she also sat down and read the bible with me. Father had recovered enough to make the weekly trip to town, I was not big enough to do much hoeing in the field, I was allowed some free time to join my father. I looked forward to going along because, I not only got to go for the ride, but I was able to take a break from my usual chores of feeding chickens and tending vegetable. On our way to town, at the intersection of highway 8 and 45, there was a billboard that made a lasting impression on me. This billboard showed a little blond girl taking a big bite out of wonder bread. That was the most beautiful little girl I had seen. I gazed at it as my father and I rode past in our wagon. My father did not know what I was thinking when he saw me looking at the billboard in trying to guess my thoughts my Father said. Even you know better than to take a big bite out of the middle of bread like that. My parents being of the Mennonite religion did not allow me to have paint or even crayons of any kind.
Because, I already knew their rules I reframed from asking for these materials again. This is why I never told my father what I was thinking.
In 1967 my parents decided to move to Paraguay, South America, to get away from modernization. My parents bought a thousand acres of land, some horse, cows, chickens, and sheep we began to farm. We grow crops of corn, soybeans, peanuts, peas vegetables for our own consumption Etc. We were very isolated and our nearest neighbor was about five miles away. While living in Paraguay I had very limited access to books during this time period, therefore I had poor opportunity to farther my education. Some time after my return to the USA I began to work toward getting a GED my use of English was very limited upon my return, especially reading and writing. To this day reading is slow and writing is a bit difficult for me. A very big thank you to my daughter for helping with the cooking and cleaning, she was a big help, as I worked on my education.
In the 1980s I was unemployed, then due to my dependable reputation found cleaning a house one-day a week. Soon my week was filled with the task of cleaning houses. One of the ladies I cleaned for was an artist. I loved her work so much that she introduced me to her friend, Jo Hollingsworth, whom had a studio in Tupelo, Ms. This is when I bought my first paint brushes and paints, I was worse than a two-year old child with a new toy. I have been painting as time permit, ever since. When I frist began college classes I made a joke that some day I would graduate with a walking stick. I was unable to go to college full time so many years I only took 1 & 2 classes a semester; I had to continue working, some times working two and three part time jobs. Many days I begin my day in my studio before anyone else was awake most of the time about 3 a.m. I begin by painting early when everything is fresh and quiet; the only sounds was periodically the central air, and some small chirps from the outside, then about 5 a.m. far off in the distance I could hear a train, then a plane flys over. (I think it was someone going to work in the plane) Now it was time to stop painting, and get ready for the rest of my day.
I have completed much more than just the requirements for a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree; Im only 3 classes from completing the requirements for graphic design. My desire to be a real artist never changed.
Never give up; figure out what works for you and just keep on working at it. My first obligation was to raise my children. As they got older I was able to start college. If you have a situation, be patient, work hard, and yes you must sacrifice, live with in your means, that some times is hard too.
I was less concerned with getting finished fast and more concerned with getting a good education. Dont underestimate yourself; let no one discourage you.
I won many awards, etc. Many of my Awards are listed on my artist statement page
As an artist I am motivated to produce work from the inside. This love for art is one that I have always had, but have developed my skills to reflect my feeling even more. As I look out into the natural world and my gaze meets with the wonderful sights of earth, trees and sky, I am particularly motivated to in turn reproduce this feeling of harmony controversy, youth beautiful, age, man made verses nature in an abounds of forms. Which all are in evolution with, from infinite to infinity. Just as the day began and ends so do all other atoms.
I believe the beauty I see as I gaze out into the world, and it is returned to me, is a gift. Which I should not take for granted, but I should acknowledge it indulge in it and produce beauty and pleasure for others to see as well, and make their world just a little better, as a result of this gift.
May you find pleasure in my work, have a great day.
Published & maintenance done by Ruth Romanowski
All copy rights reserved @ by Ruths Fine Art