BY INDIANA NASH
NISKAYUNA- Lorraine Roth found her artistic calling almost accidentally.
“I was having a girls night out with some friends and we were supposed to go to this swimming class,” Roth said. At the time she was living in Kerrny, New Jersey and raising her family of four children: Ronald, Mona, Gregory and Ben.
“But the class was full. The only other class that was open was an oil painting class. . . We went to that instead and as soon as my brush touched the canvas, I knew that I loved it,” Roth said.
With this new-found passion, she went to Fairleigh Dickinson University and got her bachelor’s degree in art and psychology in 1984.
“I took everything,” Roth said of her time at University. She quickly learned the traditional painting methods, printmaking, paper dying, and sculpting.
After college, she began to work with children and teens doing art therapy at the community mental health center.
“For some reason I really got along with teenagers. I worked with them with clay a lot of the time,” Roth said.
She finds that clay is therapeutic. “You can really get out all your aggression when you work with it,” Roth said.
Throughout her twenty years of art therapy, Roth continued to take classes at New York University and at the New School for Social Research.
She finds that she constantly wants to expand her craft and enjoys the challenge of learning new methodologies.
“The other day, an artist at Beekman and I got the idea to try out pouring paint,” Roth said.
Her space at Beekman Street Studios in Saratoga is where she does most of her work now, although she does paint on her back deck early on in the mornings.
Roth moved to the Schenectady area with her late husband, Walter, in 1995.
“It’s just beautiful out there. It’s like a tree house or something,” Roth said of her home in Niskayuna, where she spends half of the year. The other half of the year she spends in Boca Raton, Florida.
“I started doing abstract when I began taking courses in Florida at the Bocca Raton Museum Art School about five years ago,” Roth said.
Since then, she has specialized in abstract.
“I do the painting and then I destroy it and do it again,” Roth said of her pieces.
One of her larger pieces, currently on display at the Schenectady Jewish Community Center, is proof of her process.
Roth painted a realistic portrait of a woman with a veil. But once she stepped back, she decided that the proportions weren’t quite right. Thus, she painted and collaged over almost the entire piece. All that is left peeping out of the original is a sliver of the woman’s face. Hence the piece is called “Veiled Woman”.
Roth’s exhibit at the Schenectady Jewish Community Center runs until September 30, 2016.
It’s a mix of her sculpture pieces and her abstract works.
But it isn’t the first time she’s exhibited.
She done shows at the Bocca Raton Museum, the Clay Glass Metal Stone Flamingo Art Gallery, at the Summit Center and at the Newark Museum in New Jersey.
As much as she loves hearing feedback on her work, Roth said that it’s the process of creating and revealing emotion through her pieces that drives her to work on her art every day.
She continues to take sculpture classes at the Schenectady Jewish Community Center every week and any other local courses that strike her interest.
“That’s why I always tell people to try things because you never know what you’re going to like,” Roth said.