Thursday, 2 January 2020

Workshops and Art Groups 2020

First, let me wish you all a happy and prosperous new year. I hope you have all had a great holiday, while it is still the very beginning lets make some space to create before everything else takes over. So if you have been planning to schedule in some painting time I have some dates below just for you. I have also some dates for inspirational learning using the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site for inspiration.  

Belper Sunday Painters 
Session Dates 2020 Sundays 10.30 am – 12.30 pm £5 on the door.

Block 1
• January 12th
• February 9th
• March 8th

Block 2
• May 10th
• June 14th
• July 12th

Block 3
• Sept 13th
• October 11th
• November 8th

DE56 0HS

No need to book just turn up £5 on the door or free to members of Purple and Grey join here:

Painting Class:
Learn to express emotion in your artwork with texture and colour. March 11, 10-2 pm £35.08.

Using a variety of media you will paint a piece of art, taking inspiration from the spa town of Matlock Bath.
Naturally mindful painting is a good way to relax and unwind from everyday stress.
This workshop will inspire you to express emotion in your work with texture and colour.
Materials are included but please bring your own canvas or paper, and wear old clothes.
All abilities are welcome, refreshments included but bring a packed lunch. Pay and display parking is available onsite.

The Grand Pavilion Matlock Bath

South Parade

Matlock Dale


Spaces are limited please book here:



Details coming soon:

June 6: Cromford Mills Painting Workshop, be inspired by the World Heritage Site and paint Cromford Millls details coming soon. 

 One to One Workshops

You can book me for a one to one workshop too prices are more because of the bespoke attention you will receive, please email me at to arrange.

Hope to see you soon
Kind regards
Ruth Gray

Thursday, 12 December 2019

New Work, Sheffield Dusk and Sheffield Sunset.

It is the moments in between that count I'm sure there's an advert this Christmas about that, (speaking of which, what has happened to Christmas ads they are so samey!) Anyway I digress.

Moments in between are the times in the car or as I was yesterday on a bus traveling back from a fab day in Leeds with nothing to do except stare out of the window. It is so rare I get these moments as I'm usually driving frantically to or from somewhere and you see nothing but a blur.

But yesterday I enjoyed an hour of watching the sunset over our wonderful country. I saw the scars of industry past and future. Cranes building and wind turbines creating clean power, hills of grass that cover the slag heaps of yesteryear. It made me want to paint as the colours were so beautiful deep reds and golds with dark rain-filled grey all amazing and for that moment I could forget all the crap going on in everyday life.
Anyway, this morning before dawn, I was up and at 'em' canvas on the easel and off I went.
And here they are 30 x 30 cm, I will bring them to the Christmas farmers market so you can see them if you are around. 9-1pm Number 28, Market Place Belper.

Sheffield at Dusk

Sheffield at Sunset

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Festive Plumbing, Exhibitions, and Shows

It is been a busy month I've had some amazing commissions and sales and I'm loving how my work has been framed by my client. It has really made me rethink my own framing choices.
As artists, we have to be neutral and cater to all tastes but the treatment of my Ilkeston piece below really impressed me.

I'm not sure about you but Christmas this year seems to have appeared from nowhere one-minute I'm thinking about Autumn leaves next, I'm panic buying gifts again!
At the moment I'm playing catch up with everything it's one of those forth bridge moments in our house as one thing gets fixed four other things break it is like we are not allowed to relax and enjoy the bits in between work! This year has seen every appliance in the kitchen pack up and now it is the plumbings turn. So not only has it been wet beyond belief outside but we've had our own mini downfalls inside and I've not managed to find anyone who will bother to fix it so I'm going to wrap a towel around it, put a bucket under it and tell you about my artwork!

Christmas Cards

Enhancing mantels this year could be the contents of my six-pack of boxed Christmas cards £11.50 for six different designs reply to this email if you want a pack either collect or I can post out to you at standard postage rates.

Cromford Studio and Gallery

The annual event now in its seventh year is my joint  December exhibition with Martin Sloman at his gallery in Cromford. This year I have painted some of the houses and halls of Derbyshire influenced by my work in heritage, I've spent some time this year working surveying the public at a few grand places and its allowed me time in between to really look at the architecture and settings of these wonderful buildings.
I hope you will join us on December 22nd between 10 - 5 pm, call in say hello and have a mince pie and last-minute gift shop in the lovely little gallery that Martin runs so well. The gallery is open Wed-Sun 10 -5 on the Market Place Cromford.


The fun that is Medley it gets better every year we work together, here's what you need to know, Its November 30 - December 8th 10 - 4 at weekends and 10 - 3 in the week, I'm not there Tues, Wed, or Thursday so if you want to avoid me those are the days to come but otherwise it would be a joy to see you! 

If you come to Medley in the first few days and say
'You're a cracker'
to me, you have the chance of winning an A4 print of your choice as I have 10 Christmas Crackers to pull and one of them will contain a voucher for one A4 print. First come first served!
Hope to see you there!

Another event in December is the Belpers Christmas Farmers Market Saturday, December 14th, 9-1 pm. Number 28.

Support your local galleries this Christmas

Duffield Gallery Belper
Hall of Frames Belper
Two Birds in Castle Donington
Suki Gallery Tutbury
St Johns Street Gallery Ashbourne
Cromford Studio and Gallery
Out Framed Ripley

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Shows and Events

Where has the time gone but seriously I can't keep up another birthday has come and gone and now it's back to screaming at the kids to get up and go to school and also for me to start thinking about upcoming exhibitions and what I'm going to do when I grow up!
One exhibition I have been planning for some time is my show at Cromford Studio and Gallery in December this year I decided to start painting the halls of Derbyshire so far I have eight and if I get time I will add some more.
They are all framed beautifully by Hall of Frames in Belper and I'm really looking forward to them all hanging together. see the rest on my website:

Elvaston Castle

My Derwent Valley work is on show till - February 2020 INNOVATE EXHIBITION, A CELEBRATION OF THE REGION’S INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE Derby Royal Hospital.

University starts at the end of this month so I feel like I've got a few weeks spare to enjoy just being an artist. I'm combining my efforts by painting and studying chip shop history for my MA dissertation and my kids are so thrilled at being driven to chip shops all over the country! I need to come up with 15,000 words on-chip shops so if you know any let me have them!!!!

Bamfords Chippe Scarborough

Show dates

Next weekend I'm taking part in a quick pop up show at Cromford Mill with Medley we will be in the Gothic Warehouse at the end of the canal Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10 - 5 pm. A glorious spot to come and visit and enjoy the last of the warm rays before the frost sets in.

The week after I'm planning on being at the fourth Duffield Art Festival 21-22 September in Ecclesbourne School Duffield see the brochure for all the exciting things happening at Duffield that weekend. are some more dates for your diary:

October 20th Arkwrights Artisan Market Cromford Mill

November 16 - 17th Arkwrights Artisan Market Cromford Mill

November 23 - 24 Elvaston Castle Christmas Market Mad Hatters Events

Dec 7-15th Medley at The Gothic Warehouse

December 1st – 31st Joint exhibition with Martin Sloman at Cromford Studio and Gallery.
December 22nd Meet the artist at Cromford Studio and Gallery.

Friday, 30 August 2019

Best Chip Shop in the World.

Chip shops who knew they could be so interesting, I've just painted number 8 and it was one my husband took me to see in Chesterfield, it looks just like a house no signage or any hint its a chip shop but who needs signage when you are 'Margaret's Chippy best chip shop in the world' according to facebook reviews, I found the website and Margaret ran it for 52 years and is now enjoying just greeting old customers while its run by a new couple. Regulars return and are prepared to queue for as long as it takes.
An interesting thought if your product is good enough and you are consistent no need to shout and cover yourself in neon lights! 

Margaret's Chippy, Duke Street Chesterfield 20 x 20 cm acrylic on canvas
If you have any chip shops you love let me know!
See all my other chip shop paintings on my website: 

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Summer update.

Its the summer holidays but things have not slowed down at all. I have finished most of my university work for this year, I just need to read through what I have written. I have been working at a museum in Rotherham the last couple of weeks and next week I will be working for City Arts in Nottingham. I love the variety of my freelance heritage work I get to meet lots of interesting people and see how things work behind the scenes of some great places. In a few days, I also start my volunteer work for Strutts North Mill which will fit in well with my sons' school as it is across the road.

This time of year I tend to look at my website and branding and see what needs changing this year I have allowed everything to slip as I have been studying so my profile pictures and marketing materials were all looking tired and uncoordinated and in the times in between work I have redesigned my logo and ordered all my postcards business cards banners etc for my stall and I can't wait to test them all out in the next few weeks. I have used my favorite painting as a backdrop image and thought about which aspects of my work I most want to promote so I've used those as my tag line.

I have also spent a lot of time sifting through the nightmare that is my art room I seemed to have created a cocoon of chaos where there was only enough room to step to my chair the rest of the space was piled with boxes. After several trips to IKEA and flat-pack hell, I have sort of improved the situation what I really need to do is have a studio clearance at some point. I have thought also about decorating the space changing it all to white but the thought of the task of taking all my stuff out of there and putting it back....... this is probably why artist studios are so interesting I'm thinking Francis Bacon!
Image result for francis bacon studio
Francis Bacon in his studio.

As for new work I have been very lucky to have had commissions to complete so those have kept me busy painting wise but I can't share them until they have been given as gifts.
I'm hoping to get away for a few days soon just to get out of the house as if I'm home I'm working it's very difficult to switch off when you are self-employed and I just want to spend time with my kids before they have beards!

I have a couple of selling events coming up where you can come and say hello if you wish I will be at Belper farmers market August 10th and Swarkston Nursery August 17th and 18th.
I will also be at Purple and Grey Art Group August 7th and 21st Tansley Village Hall so you are welcome to join us for our morning art group.
Hope to see you soon!

Sunday, 30 June 2019

New Work

Aldeburgh Fish and Chips. Since 1967

Well, I'm definitely loving having time to paint again and now I have my new subject matter I'm happy again. My new series is the British chippy. I'm hoping to study all things chip shop related for my dissertation next year so in the meantime, I'm doing a few paintings of long-standing chip shops. For my series, they can be anywhere in the UK but have to be at least fifty years old. If I don't set these parameters then I could be some time! I may occasionally break the age rule if I find a particularly interesting one!

Wessington's Fish and Chips since 1949.
 It's not just chippies I've been painting but also demos please see Leadenhall Market City of London, for Matlock Art Society. Apparently, there has been a market on this site since Roman times.
Leadenhall Market Demo for Matlock Art Society
 I have also been working on this commission for the owners of their lovely cottage in Belper.
Number 31 Commission for the owners.
This week I will be facilitating an art project at a local primary school, starting a new commission and some consultancy work for Purple and Grey as well as hopefully working on my last project for my MA this academic year. I have also offered to volunteer at The North Mill in Belper too so its busy times ahead! 
I will be at Belper Farmers Market next Saturday at Number 28, and on Sunday I will be doing my Belper Sunday Painters at Creartii which I've loved doing. Look out for next year when I take Belper Sunday Painters to a new venue with the lower price of £5 per session if you are interested in joining me just nine times a year send me an email to and I will put you on the list.