Ruth Drayer, 79, hasn't been in Tyler for very long, but after only three years she is already an integral part of the artistic community.
Ms. Drayer, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, is an artist and author who moved to Tyler to be closer to her family and ailing son-in-law. Originally a sculptor, Drayer would eventually transition to painting.
Throughout her career, Drayer has studied at various institutions such as The University of Santa Monica, UT-Texas, El Paso and even Tyler Junior College.
"I plug in, I do anything I can to help, and I try to get in as many shows as I can."
Her work can be found locally at Villa Montez, the Gold Leaf Gallery, Good Health on 8th street in Tyler. Drayer has also dedicated her time to volunteering with Gallery Main Street, the Art of Peace festival, the Art Walk and more.
"I moved here not knowing anybody, not having any connection and with no way to meet anyone," Ms. Drayer said. "But I'm an artist, so I went down to Main Street Gallery and volunteered. I teach a workshop called "Creativity and Imagination." Fifteen people came and that's how I met the first other artists in the community."
The death of her son-in-law took away much of her creative energy, but Ruth continued to paint. Her newest piece is almost finished and a buyer has already expressed interest in it.
Ruth's foray into painting came from the time she spent researching a Russian artist and his wife for a novel. The book, titled "Nicholas & Helena Roerich, The Spiritual Journey of Two Great Artists and Peacemakers," tells the story of the Roerichs' and their journey to find the lost Buddhist kingdom of Shambala. Nicholas Roerich would go on to be nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
"I went to an exhibit of this Russian artist in New York, and I set out to meet him."
During her research, Drayer moved to India in 1986. Altogether she spent more than a decade studying the couple and their far-reaching impact.
"That book took 15 years, so during that time I just kept having this urge to paint. I used to sculpt and I told myself, I'd never paint. Over the years I just kept having this mounting desire to use color."
Drayer has also printed other books about numerology, which is the study of numbers and how they can affect life.
"What influences me most is the clouds and nature. What's hard for me living here is that it's the first place that I've ever lived that I don't have mountains around me," Drayer said. "When I go to paint, I don't know where it's coming from. I don't go anywhere on purpose, I'm painting intuitively."
Drayer's art can be found all over the world, including: the Museo de la Paz Nicolàs Roerich in Vizcaya, Spain; In collections in Canada and Mexico; throughout the Southwest; New York; and Colorado.
Her books have been published in four languages and are available online at amazon.com/Ruth-Drayer/e/B001IXNX8Y. She has also lectured throughout the United Stated about Numerology.
"I believe we have very little opportunity to use our imagination. I want the viewer to look at them and see whatever they see."