Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Peak District Artisans and Banks Mill!

To visit the Banks Mill Artisan Fair you have to set a side a whole day its a big event its probably now the biggest event of its kind in Derby.

For a start you have the beautiful Banks Mill Studios themselves set on four floors filled with amazing artists and design companies its such a treat to see where an artists works and then to be able to buy from them too.

Once you have tackled the four floors you walk across to the Enterprise Centre next door which use to house just the affiliate members of Banks Mill but now it also incorporates that prestigious group Peak District Artisans who fill the first floor with their professional booths, upstairs in the wonderful glass ceiling atrium are the Banks Mill Affiliate members.

Im exhausted writing this so be prepared bring loads of cash and time as its all so mind bending you will have to pause for coffee and possibly cake... I know terrible but so worth it as all your Christmas could be literally wrapped up for you in one day!

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Abandoned Mill Buildings

I have a thing for abandoned buildings me and my friend Lester use to spend hours wandering around abandoned railway buildings at Toton sidings when we were teenagers and that love of feeling the past as you walk around them wondering who came before and what will become it was all fascinating to me then as it is still.
Below are two beautiful abandoned buildings Torr Vale Mill New Mills and old mill houses at Smedleys Mill Lea Bridge.
My fingers are crossed for their preservation. See them both at my joint exhibition at Cromford Studio and Gallery in December.

Torr Vale Mill New Mills 30 x 30 cm

Old Mill Houses Lea Bridge 30 x 30 cm

Friday, 17 November 2017

Guest Blog by David Walker of Yoxall Art Group.

The Art of Stylisation by David Walker, Yoxall Art Group.

Fresh from the detailed article on her painting “Christmas Eve at Castleton” in the journal “Paint” (The Magazine of the Society for All Artists) Ruth Gray entertained the members and guests of the Yoxall Art group on 8th November with an excellent demonstration of her stylish, abstracted painting techniques.
Demo at Yoxall Art Group picture by David Walker

The audience was immediately involved in the chosen image of the day, a view of George Street in Hastings, East Sussex.  Ruth had pre-prepared the canvass by sketching the outline in watercolour  marker pen.  That immediately drew gasps of disbelief from the audience, but Ruth did assure them that the water based marker would be washed away as she continued the work.  The original sketch was certainly robust, but as soon as the work began you could see how the method worked to achieve the expected result.  A key advantage of using the watercolour pen was, unlike charcoal or pencil, there was no shiny residue to contend with.

Ruth then discussed her choice of acrylic paints and her colour palette.  Having lived in Australia for a time she much preferred the Atelier brand which was developed, and is manufactured in that country. Atelier is much more forgiving in the drying problem which can make using acrylic paint difficult.  This development was probably because of higher temperatures in Australia meaning an even bigger problem of paint drying on the palette, especially when working “en plein air”.  In the more moderate UK the paint, when protected by a plastic bag, was still usable the next day.

Picture by David Walker 

She then started in earnest on the work, starting by brushing in the sky and foreground, with large, bold strokes.  This initial work was revisited later to add some of detail.  Then the emphasis immediately changed to the dark tones and immediately you could see the wisdom of her choice of the watercolour pen.  The outline of the people was also undertaken in the dark tones.

She then progressed through the mid tone colours and eventually on to the general highlight colours.  The spot and highlight colours were then added as part of the finishing process adding details to people, buildings, signs and flags to arrive at the final painting.

Within a couple of hours Ruth had produced a wonderful representation of George Street, that would not be out of place in any living room!  Of course, there was some finishing of detail still required, this would be added later after a period of drying.

Work in Progress. Picture by David Walker

All told an exciting and instructive demonstration by a very competent and respected artist.  Everyone took in new ideas and thoroughly enjoyed the day.  Ruth’s website  is well worth a visit!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Medley Back for Christmas Show at The Gothic Warehouse

I have a love of Cromford Mill its a place I love visiting and showing my work so to be invited back to show with Medley Group again I was thrilled, due to their expansion of artists they have hired the Gothic Warehouse on the canal wharf, see map below for details, for two weeks.
December 2nd - 15th 10 - 4 pm.
It is the third time I have exhibited with them and it just gets better Chantal Kelly who makes great stained glass is the organiser and her skill at bringing a show together is fab.
We had such fun last year and be sure you will be welcomed even if you are just visiting to say hello all are welcome.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Glitter (Christmas Card) Workshop at Two Birds gallery

I spent today at the wonderful Two Birds Gallery creating Christmas Cards, it was a wonderful day for so many reasons, the results as you will see below are amazing it was a glittery fest!
We even combined the wrapper from our Quality Street into the cards! When I say wrapper I should have said wrappers!

Now this lady below who I am with was my very good school friend Joanne and I hadn't seen her since around 1990 when we all went to university and went separate ways after starting out in infant school all the way up to sixth form it was brilliant to see her again and also find out how talented she is at throwing the glitter about x 

Wednesday, 8 November 2017


I've been quite productive of late behind the scenes painting a few new smaller works ready for my show at Cromford Studio and Gallery here's two inspired by the beautiful town of Wirksworth.

Friday, 3 November 2017

November News

This month sees my painting Christmas at Castleton above as part of a step by step article in the SAA magazine. I really enjoyed working on the article and hopefully will do more.

Castleton is my must visit place on Christmas Eve I've been going every year since the 90's its got everything for the perfect start to Christmas.
The painting is also part of my new card range which you can purchase online here or from me direct at my stall. Trade buyers always welcome email me for a price.

I was really pleased to have won the Parish Council award for my painting of Matlock Bath Illuminations, I was presented the award by the Matlock Bath Parish Council on November 2nd at the New Bath Hotel and Spa.

Exhibition News
Exclusive to you my blog readers is a sneaky peek of some work I have been doing ready for my annual joint exhibition with Martin Sloman at Cromford Studio and Gallery
They are smaller pieces 30 x 30 cm on box canvas, I am enjoying painting them and hope to finish a few more too. They will be available during December at the gallery along with some newer larger pieces including the Castleton painting above.




Workshop News
Keeping the Christmas theme I am conducting an abstract Christmas card making workshop at Two Birds Gallery on November 9th £25 10.30 - 12.30 more information here or to book email me at

In 2018 I have a full program of workshops for you to enjoy at various venues using a variety of media, please see my website for details.

Show Dates


Print Deadlines
If you are wishing to purchase a print from me for Christmas time is running out please order by November 20th to be in time for Christmas any of my work can be printed that is on my website,
Prints unmounted  
A4    £25
A3    £48
A2    £80

Prints Mounted  
A4    £45
A3    £68
A2    £100
More details here.

I've had a steady flow of commissions in 2017 and look forward to more next year, there is no time to complete anymore before Christmas but if you wish to give the gift of a commission for Christmas it makes an ideal present and something to look forward to for the recipient in the new year. I am always willing to discuss any ideas via email or visit me at my stalls mentioned above.