Local painter Natalia Ros has always been a fan of the arts.
As a young student living in Russia, she was required to take mandatory visual art classes which she excelled in. She was so passionate about the subject, that she joined a weekend art club, where she dabbled in various art forms, but her favourite was always painting.
"When I create my artwork, it makes me feel liberated in my vision, emotion, thought and movement," she shared.
Ros moved to Canada in 1998 after completing her high school education. She went on to study to be a law clerk at Seneca College, but switched career paths and became a Project Manager in IT.
Life was busy for Ros, being a busy working mom, she didn’t really have time for her art anymore.
But then, one day in 2018, she was cat sitting for a friend, and was inspired to paint their photo for her friend as a gift. It was her first time ever using oil paint.
“It came out beautifully,” she remembers, and her friend was overjoyed with it.
“That was an eye opener for me,” she said, noting that it was a sign for her to get back to her painting roots.
Since then, she has thrown herself back into the world of art, painting every evening and weekend, whenever she gets a spare moment.
“It’s a talent that I’ve always had but just never had time for it. I just never had done anything with it,” she explained.
Just this past fall, she decided to enter one of her pieces to the Ontario Society of Artists for their exhibit dedicated to emerging artists. After being accepted, it gave her the confidence to paint on a more professional level, entering her pieces into more shows.
“That was the start of it,” she explained about her new found path to the professional art world.
Over the past few months, she has taken part in many other exhibitions in the Greater Toronto Area and currently has four pieces on display at a show at the Freedom Factory in Toronto.
Ros enjoys working with water and oil paints best.
“Oils is a medium that you don’t use by itself, you mix with a thinner to make it flow,” she explained. “You can really create really flowy textures with oil.”
Each piece she creates can take her anywhere from hours to days, depending on the type of mediums she uses.
Sometimes she will add multiple layers and add in a glaze to achieve different lighting effects, which can take a long time to dry.
She is currently looking into taking more courses and workshops in the area and recently joined the Society of York Region Artists (SOYRA).
“Hopefully that will give me some more ideas on how to be more creative and more free flowing in my art,” she said.
She would describe her style as semi-realism and semi-contemporary.
“I am trying to use more free movement of my hand and not be too concentrated on the details,” she explained.
Her inspiration comes from various objects she finds around the house, in particular ones that show different angles of light, like mason jars and decanters.
"Light is invisible to the eye and only becomes visible when it's either reflected off an object or is caught inside an object, and the latter is what fascinates me most," she shared.
Her favourite artists who inspire her most are Russian painters, Ivan Aivazovsky and Vladimir Volegov.
She is focused on building her portfolio right now, and already has 17 pieces in her collection.
Her favourite so far is one of a decanter filled with cognac beside two glasses and two pomegranates. She said it was one of her most challenging pieces so far due to the various lighting elements.
"Painting light caught in objects is a challenge for sure, especially when there are light reflections on top of it," she explained.
Ros moved to Bradford from Richmond Hill four and a half years ago with her husband and 17-year-old daughter, Alisa.
“We love it here,” she explained. “Bradford has a serenity to it, it’s small, it’s friendly and we have great neighbours.”
Next fall, she hopes to be part of Bradford’s Studio Art Tour which happens every September.
“I’ll definitely participate in it next year,” she confirmed.
Most recently, Ros started her own YouTube channel as well that features a mindfulness series on art meditation.
"I am a big proponent of mindfulness and try to practice it in my everyday life," she shared.
She thought it would be a good idea to share her method of meditation to others who may be looking for an outlet to focus and grounded.
"In my videos I use calm music and slowed down motion which has a mesmerizing effect and helps the viewer get lost in the present moment, really appreciating every second of it," she described.
To check out some of her work and videos, visit her website here or on Instagram @art_by_natalia_ros