Finding Balance | Rachel Tirosh
Rachel Tirosh’s second act as an artist is proof of life beyond high-tech.
She was born in a small suburb city in Israel and relocated to California in 1994. Her curiosity with the computer electronic industry led her to a career as an electrical engineer. Tirosh began her Engineering career with her high school studies. She continued that path during her service at the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). At the IDF she met her future husband. Together they moved to the north of Israel to pursue college education where she completed her studies in electrical engineering. They moved back to Tel Aviv to work in the high-tech industry, and that led to the chance to relocate to California. Silicon Valley was a great opportunity to live and experience life abroad. The original contract with the first company was for eighteen months. More than eighteen years later, they had raised their family. They are still living in Sunnyvale, California.
Tirosh grew up in a family who believed in the do-it-yourself model. Her father was always fixing things, taking things apart and putting them back together. Her mother studied the arts and was an incredibly talented painter. Life events blocked her from pursuing her dream, but later in life she resumed her fine art painting and managed to instill the love of art in her children. Tirosh’s brother showed promising talent in painting as well, however he pivoted towards science.
When she was young, Tirosh drew inspiration from her exposure to raw materials that were readily available for craft projects. However, art was not seen as a profession. Today, Tirosh’s art is her second career.
Tirosh’s first career was in electrical engineering. As an engineer, she spent a significant amount of time learning and following specific rules to design electronic systems. High tech criteria for success involves strict adherence to the specifications. With art, this is not the case, and she relishes the freedom of no right or wrong way to create. Art simply invites her desire for free expression without boundaries or rules. She plays with texture and colors to evoke feelings of balance, tranquility, peace of mind, and harmony through her art. While it may appear that her work as an engineer influenced her creative process as an artist, the truth is quite the opposite. Her success as an engineer can be attributed to her willingness to think outside the box and apply her imagination and hands-on enthusiasm to those high-tech projects.
After leaving the high-tech industry, Tirosh explored a variety of professional and personal development avenues. That time was dedicated to her family, kids, community, and her self-discovery. She volunteered at her kids’ school. She ran the cooking and gardening program. She drove her son three times a week to his Martial arts practices. When her daughter joined a youth theater group, she immediately volunteered at their costume department. Since art was always part of her life, Tirosh filled her free time with craft projects. Later, she started to paint. The beginning involved a more traditional painting style. She learned color and design. She was looking to make her own mark, and she was driven by materials and imagination. Tirosh had always wanted to paint in an abstract way, but did not know the language.
In 2014, Tirosh met a renown international artist, Stella Zhang. When she painted with Stella’s guidance, inspiration, and critique, Tirosh’s world was opened to using mixed media. She was striving for new tools and artistic language, and this new creative practice gave her what she was seeking. It was the beginning of Tirosh developing a unique artistic style. She has built upon it ever since. The time-out from High-Tech started her on a journey to find her own voice and creative freedom. She ended up in a new career as an artist.
Her technique and color palette became richer and more daring. Tirosh’s paintings combine collages, paper, minimalism, big shapes, edges, movement and Wabi-sabi principles.
Tirosh work is a process of layering, pouring water with pigment and glue, scraping off, scratching into the surface, leaving traces of earlier information, a buildup and overlap of successive stages. The process only stops when the painting is pleasing to her. After all, according to Tirosh, the real interpretation of the paintings is not in what the artist sees, it is in the eyes of the individual viewer to wonder and imagine.
A message she is sharing with the younger generation is to keep a balanced life, get involved with the community, and be curious about the world. Volunteering her time as a docent for the Project LOOK program at the Palo Alto Art Center, Tirosh steps outside her comfort zone to share her passion for art. The 30-year old California program offers hands-on fun and educational art experiences to elementary students where the participants not only see art, they make art as well.
When she is not in her art studio, Tirosh enjoys reading, hiking, listening to music, watching television, and gardening. As a kid, Tirosh studied Guitar, but stopped playing in high school. Years later, after a visit to Hawaii, Tirosh was inspired to learn to play the Ukulele. During the Covid-19 pandemic that resulted in the 2020 shelter in place, Tirosh started to follow an on-line Yoga practice. Yoga principles, she found out, are very much what she is trying to convey in her paintings.
Tirosh has come a long way since first taking art lessons at her friend’s studio and getting into her first juried show at Pacific art league in Palo Alto CA. Tirosh got involved in the art scene of the Bay Area as a member in Co-op galleries and art groups. She now participates in a variety of exhibitions, art fairs and open studios in San Francisco and throughout the Northern California Bay Area. Her work can be viewed at ACCI Gallery in Berkeley CA.
While a member at Gallery 9 in Los Altos CA, Tirosh participated in three different solo shows. ‘Color and Personality’ ‘Space and Dimension’ In 2019, she opened the show “Behind All That.”
“In my art, whether it is in the subject matter or the technique, I like to ask: what is behind all that? I create art that reveals and hides; exposes and conceals. I like the viewer to wonder and imagine.”
Here are some of the notes people left in the visitor book:
“Beautiful compositions! wonderful abstract “; beautiful inspiring art”;
“I like the limited color scheme”; “I like the moods you create in each painting”;
“There is an aspect of outer space in the composition”; “Calming and beautiful
texture”; “The quality art work is exceptional”
"In my art, whether it is in the subject matter or the technique, I always ask: “What is behind all that?” It can be a message or a feeling. I create art that reveals and hides, exposes and conceals. I like the viewer to wonder and imagine.
When I begin a painting, I never know what the end results will be. I start by laying in the larger shapes which define the structure and set the movement of the piece. I further enhance the design to establish a strong composition. I add texture and color to generate tension within the elements, and I use the layers to add depth and a three-dimensional illusion. As a mixed media artist, I work with ordinary, everyday materials, such as paper, cardboard, sand, and spackle. One of my favorite technique is pouring water mixed with glue and pure pigments over the texture I have created, that grounds the piece. The water finds its natural flow and accentuates and reveals the surface finish.
The biggest challenge I face comes at the end of creating a piece. I stop when the painting is pleasing to my eye, and I see balance in the composition and colors.
The real interpretation of the paintings is not what I see, I cherish what the individual viewer sees." by Rachel Tirosh