Moving from Hawaii when she was 4 years old, Ruthie K. Yamada grew up in Northern California.  She was surrounded by family who painted, sewed, played musical instruments and were entrepreneurs.  Her love of art was encouraged and supported so she explored drawing, painting, crafts and writing freely from a young age.  She pursued a career in fashion design, which took her to London, England for 3 1/2 years.  There she found herself experimenting in silk screening and textile design as well as designing small collections under her label 'Clothes From Heaven'.  Upon moving back to California, her interests shifted to the healing arts, and made a career change into massage therapy, specializing in lymphatic drainage and Lomi Lomi (Hawaiian massage).  She practiced for almost 22 years, while maintaining an art practice on the side.  When her mother passed suddenly in 2016, she found herself asking deeper questions about life and longing for some change. Nearing her 50th birthday, 'DO WHAT YOU LOVE' became a personal mantra, which led her back to art.  In 2016 she left her career in massage and transitioned to painting full time.  Ruthie practices her art out of her studio at The Citadel in downtown San Jose.  She also serves on the board of directors of Fuse, a non-profit organization that was formed by Citadel artists for community outreach, art events and support & promotion of upcoming local artists. She lives with her husband and rescue dog, Bowie, in beautiful Northern California. 


The focus of my studio practice is grounded in representational painting.  Oil and watercolor are the main mediums I use to create.  There are many facets to my work and that is why I enjoy working in a series.  I find myself wanting to express many ideas and emotions that don't initially connect to each other.  Separating them allows me to organize the imagery, my thoughts and to be able to expand and explore within each series.  I love painting evocative and symbolic scenes, surrealism, nostalgia in pop culture, high contrast and exaggerated beauty.  Finding the connection in these series will be a focus of my art practice, revealing a personal narrative.