Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you!
For wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge,
Your people shall be my people and your God my God.
Book of Ruth 1:16
Ruth’s journey is a testimony to moving forward boldly. What prompted Ruth to take this journey with Naomi? She knew that she would be among strangers in the city of Naomi, not welcomed, and likely mistreated. Also there were dangers in this long journey of many miles by two uprooted women. Ruth trusted Naomi and listened to her plans, even though she was unfamiliar with the customs and language of the place they travelled to.
The Book of Ruth is a beautiful and ancient narrative, yet I feel it is contemporary in its content. Through the individuals in the story, we can learn about compassion, tolerance, commitment, bonding, generosity, the feminine, respect, closeness to the earth, and love. This is a story of refugees and very poor people who take part in the plans God.
I began to study this Biblical book, considering which episodes would be the most visual, in spring of 1990, with sketches and drawings. I completed a painting late that summer.
The Story of Ruth connects us with (and helps us to reconsider) our ancestors and our histories. The twelve panels are unified into a single image through a continuity of horizontal lines: in the first four panels the hills, then of barley fields in the second row of panels, and finally the patterns of the arches in the third row. I tried to saturate each of the episodes with warm rich colors, patterns, and embellishments of gold and metallic inks.
Each time we retell the old story, we can find new encouragement for our present day lives. I hope that my interpretation of this tale of loss, famine, journey, work, and abundance, will touch you.
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