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Art and financial services are proving to be the perfect combination for Laura Ruiz Bussión to achieve a good work-life balance.
Laura, Portfolio Risk Adviser at the Royal Bank of Canada, enjoys painting as a way of relaxing and de-stressing. “If I have a heavy day at work and I want to clear my head, I do some watercolour sketches after dinner. I don’t always need a motive to paint, and occasionally I just create different patterns and try to draw what is in front of me or a picture from a magazine.”
Laura, who was born in Madrid, fell in love with painting when she was at school, and it is a hobby she has pursued since arriving in London in 2003 to improve her English. She studied Advanced Marketing and Risk Management in Banking at City University, following on from her studies in Business Management at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
Life in London
A year down the line, Laura met her future husband and decided to make her life in the City of London: “I sent an email to all business people listed with the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, asking if there was a career opportunity available. A banker with Morgan Stanley Wealth Management responded, inviting me for an interview.”
After Morgan Stanley, Laura moved to J.P. Morgan, where she worked in risk management and became professionally qualified with the Investment Management Certificate and Private Client Investment Advice & Management qualification. She then moved to her current role at the Royal Bank of Canada.
In search of a distraction from her day job, she joined the Rosetta Arts Centre in West Ham, East London, in 2012. She took classes there for two years and obtained a National Vocational Qualification in Art: “I didn’t do the classes to become qualified, but to take my mind away from the world of finance. This was a great way of disconnecting and making sure that I was leaving the office at 5pm sharp to start my class at 6pm.”
The 2012 Olympics offered a great opportunity to Laura – she exhibited some of her paintings in Stratford Park, near her art class, and sold one for £20: “I was probably paid something like £1 an hour or less after considering the cost of the materials, but I was so proud of the painting and it was such a thrill to sell it.”
"This was a great way of disconnecting and making sure that I was leaving the office at 5pm sharp"
An amusing memory from the art studio was when each of the students were required to produce floor-to-ceiling canvases and to work on more than one painting at a time while the oil paint dried: “I was working on a series of landscapes, the same picture painted twice, one using cold colours and the other using warm colours. I asked my teacher to help me to move the canvas of the finished painting, still wet, of the cold colours to a position above the warm- coloured painting. He used a chair to step up and when stapling the canvas on top of the board he fell off the chair, making very precise marks on my lovely blue sky. It was an embarrassing, but funny, moment. I don’t think the best painting knife could have made a better mark!”
The painting of which Laura is most fond is a portrait of her and her sister. It captures them during a family reunion in Alhóndiga, a tiny village near Madrid, where Laura’s father was born and where she spent many of her childhood summers.
“I painted the portrait during the summer while I was at university, and it was the first time I used oil as a medium. People recognise us straight away in the picture and my mother still has it in her living room,” she says.
At the height of her classes, Laura was painting for at least four out of seven days: “However, I’ve been rather busy having a baby lately so my priorities have shifted.”
This article was originally published in the September 2015 edition of The Review. The print edition is available to all members who opt in to receive it, except student members. All eligible members who would like to receive future editions in the post should log in to MyCISI, click on My Account/Communications and set their preference to 'Yes'.