Crafter of the Month - Ruth Kolman Brophy
Ruth Kolman Brophy is a painter of stories. Influenced by European culture and history, the Austrian native said she brings a sense of liveliness and whimsy to her work, with a passion for vibrant color that long ago ignited a dream within her...the American dream.
In her native Austria, Ruth had been dreaming of faraway places, where no one would know her or care what she was doing. Especially of places like "Amerika", about which she had read so much and whose jaunty, seemingly carefree soldiers she saw everyday while growing up during World War II.
Her artistic dreams came true when, as a young student at the Linz College of Art and Design in Austria, she entered a competition that awarded her a scholarship to study in the United States. Being granted that dream afforded Brophy, who attended the University of Oregon's Institute of International Education, many opportunities to share how her Austrian and American influences intersect through her paintings.
Her work is characterized by a playful sensitivity---circles, curves, squares, each painting inbuing color and a sense of balance and design influenced by 20th century European design. "Paintings reflect my optimistic take on life," says Brophy, who grew up admiring Baroque architecture in her hometown of Linz.
She also has a passion for fashion, as evidenced by several of her fashion paintings in acrylic and watercolor. "The gestures have become more sophisticated with time, but my style still stays true to myself," she says. "You can always tell it's mine."
Living in the United States has given her an appreciation of pop culture, and she's been inspired by fabrics from Midwestern homes to bright colors of California's landscapes.
While some of her pieces are sort of figurative, she also does abstract paintings, and even a crossover between the two. "I try to come up with a solution to a problem with each painting. Art is a challenge each time....a good challenge."
In addition to her painting, printmaking and digital works, Ruth has also illustrated coffee table books with stories, such as "My War", a visual memory of growing up in Austria during World War II.
Her works are on display in many places, including a utility box near Safeway and Nordstroms in downtown Walnut Creek as part of the City's public arts program, in the Collection of the University of Minnesota, the City of Linz, Austria College, Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota, the Museum of the City of Linz, and in many private collections. See more of Ruth's works online at: