Saturday, 8 December 2018

Ex nihilo

Its certainly been an eventful year although I still feel it hasn't begun yet that's probably more to do with age than anything else!

I started this year feeling a bit blah sometimes you get that feeling you have done it all before and my year ahead of me felt like that as I racked my brains to think of new subjects to work on, I had some kind of artists block. One day I just took myself back to bed and decided I needed to think as Winnie the Pooh says 'Something Comes from Nothing' or ex nihilo.

As I lay there I really thought about how I felt about things people, art, my town the next town, the town Id just visited, the treadmill we get ourselves on, the daft way our life is presented on social media the thought we think we know everything about each other yet we know nothing.

I really thought about the feeling I get now walking about in a city that used to be the center of an industry but is now presented as  heritage, the frustration of knowing how thriving the department stores were 'back in the day' and how desolate they are now a shadow of themselves presenting Instagramable experiences to lure in the tech-savvy. It's the same feeling I had in the mid-1990s when I realised the trade I had worked hard to learn was being replaced by computers and sent overseas.

We are at a crossroads in our towns a moment before they are turned into either a preserved museum of the past full of coffee shops and gift emporiums or into housing. We are having the last gasp at convincing the population that shopping is fun but in truth, we all know that if we want an item we just type in the words and there it is not many have time to seek out and search.

If you have been standing a stall this year you may have felt like an exhibit in a zoo people are coming for the show but are they coming for the goods? Sometimes they do and bless them!
I have found my sales are coming from different sources this year mainly online inquiries and you all maybe have found that too.

What are we to do? We can't change progress and we shouldn't want to it is all about adapting to new things and I certainly have had to do that in my life. I still think folk are spending money but they want to do stuff see things and experience events its time to change.

Funny what comes out of nothing! It is precisely these thoughts that have led me on a new path of learning this year, I just wanted to know more about the human race and understand from what has happened before and see if I can work out what may happen next. It is not enough to stay the same we have to evolve and my art will also evolve although where I don't know yet although I am learning that the subjects that I want to write about are not what I thought they would be social justice issues have begun to surface as my main interest.

So 2018 has been a slow year of change for me full of letting go and new beginnings I'm still not doing facebook and learning of the way they are using our data I feel I made the right decision but of course, I'm on Twitter and Instagram @ruthgrayimages and I'm happy and that is the main thing in life and feeling quite calm and excited for the new year.
So something has come from nothing and I thoroughly recommend taking to your bed and doing nothing for a while I think its called 'mindfulness with thoughts' because stopping and working out what is important to you and really taking a wide-open eye view of the world can really be enlightening!
See you next week! Itll be an experience! See below.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

December Exhibition News


Hello, I hope you are all well not sure if the festiveness has started yet from meeting some of you its too early for some and coming round to fast for others! Whatever it will soon be time to think about buying the gifts etc...


I have a couple of shows before Christmas that you may want to come along too in between online shopping and other such things!  I must confess I have made the most of online this year. My neighbors are also online shopping and as I work from home I seem to be the local delivery point for them! I will be finishing off my gift buying at my two events as there is nothing better than local handmade products.

My annual joint exhibition with Martin Sloman starts December 1st until New Years Day on display will be all the original street scenes that I have been working on throughout the year depicting Belper, Manchester, Sheffield, Chesterfield, and Derby. We have a Christmas event you can come along to and share in some refreshments and possibly a mince pie or two! Details below:

East Mill Belper.

The other show is Medley where I will be sharing my time with lovely talented friends for nine days! I can't wait.
I will be having a small studio sale and will have a full range of cards and prints no calendar, this year time has swept by so very quickly I just didn't get to create one! Details of the show below:
I really hope you can come it is always so lovely to see you all and catch up. The Medley show is open weekends 10 - 5 pm and weekdays 11- 3 pm and Cromford Studio and Gallery is open Wed-Sun 10 - 5 pm.

New Group for the New Year Belper Sunday Painters

For artists to meet and bring along work in all the popular mediums - oil, watercolour, acrylic, pastel, charcoal, and pencil as well as for people with an interest in art. All abilities are catered for and beginners are encouraged to join to further their ambitions.
Facilitated by myself advice given as required and the sessions are a mix of directed and non-directed as needed by the group.
Session Dates Sundays 10.30am – 12.30pm
Block 1
•    January 13th
•    February 10th
•    March 10th
Block 2
•    May 12th
•    June 9th
•    July 14th
Block 3
•    Sept 8th
•    October 13th
•    November 10th
Maximum participants are six, booking for the three two-hour sessions is in advance, taken through Creartii: cost £40 for a block of three sessions. An ideal Christmas gift for yourself or an arty friend! 

To book click here

Bye for now

Monday, 29 October 2018

Remarkable News!

Its been a very busy Autumn, I've now started my MA at the University of Derby and I am loving every minute of it, so nice to be back in a learning environment especially when it's all about my favorite subjects of history and heritage. Its only one day a week of taught work but there's a lot of reading to be done in between and writing! The other students are very knowledgeable its great to be around them all. It is giving me a lot of information that will be valuable to my artwork.
This time of year is always about preparation for the Christmas shows and they start next weekend  so please do come along its going to be a lovely event  run by Purple and Grey at The Remarkable Hare  Pub Dale Road Matlock there are about nine artists and makers there will be food and drink available to purchase so you can spend some time chatting to us all and enjoying the ambiance of this wonderful pub.
Below are my November events, I'm looking forward to them all I had my wedding reception at The Farmhouse at Mackworth and it's a beautiful venue so come and enjoy some early festive spirit with me!

November 10th - Belper Farmers Market No. 28
November 24th - Glebe Centre Crich Christmas Fair 1.30 - 3.30 pm

November 25th - The Farmhouse at Mackworth Christmas Market 11-3pm

New Group for the New Year Belper Sunday Painters

For artists to meet and bring along work in all the popular mediums - oil, watercolour, acrylic, pastel, charcoal, and pencil as well as for people with an interest in art. All abilities are catered for and beginners are encouraged to join to further their ambitions.
Facilitated by myself advice given as required and the sessions are a mix of directed and non-directed as needed by the group.
Session Dates Sundays 10.30am – 12.30pm
Block 1
•    January 13th
•    February 10th
•    March 10th
Block 2
•    May 12th
•    June 9th
•    July 14th
Block 3
•    Sept 8th
•    October 13th
•    November 10th
Maximum participants are six, booking for the three two-hour sessions is in advance, taken through Creartii: cost £40 for a block of three sessions. An ideal Christmas gift for yourself or an arty friend!

To book click here

CREARTII Art Studio,17 Green Lane, Belper, Derbyshire, DE56 1BY
Telephone: 07881 653117

Monday, 8 October 2018

Update Wheres September Gone?

Its been a busy few weeks starting my MA Public History and Heritage at university and getting to grips with all that along with maintaining a business and looking after my family all in that order I'm afraid!
University was something I wanted to do to get my brain into gear but as someone who can't do things half-hearted, I've found myself knee deep reading articles and papers one leads to another and before I know it I've read myself around the world it's interesting but I need to manage my time better!
The trouble is I find everything interesting so I need to focus (perhaps I've exchanged my bad Facebook habits to documents? ) I've already met some brilliant people on the course so I've got two lovely years ahead!
 The upside of all this is now my artwork feels more fun! It was great to visit Tamworth Art Society and spend a couple of hours demoing for them they are such a great group lots of questions and answers while I painted a scene of Ashbourne.

Duffield Art Festival was brilliant lots of customer interest best show for a long time, its a great mix of poetry acting singing and art so the weekend went fast!

Back in Ashbourne at St John Street Gallery, my workshop on simplifying street scenes went down well with a participant  saying:

Thank you once again for the time you spent with me and the marvelous help and advice. I had a most enjoyable day and have been singing your praises at the Matlock U3A painting group this morning.

We concentrated on this wonderful little shop which posed various challenges, but the day was really relaxing. Plein Air painting is not my thing as such but the sketching side of being outdoors I find important and something I like to show to others how they can develop so they can create their own style that is unique to them.

I have been enjoying working to commision and was thrilled to see my last painting in its owners new home.

Now I'm looking towards Christmas so I have created an album on my Facebook page of 21 available prints just contact me if you would like to order one last orders Dec1st.

I will be at
Belper Farmers Market Oct 13th 9-1
Glebe center Crich 1-5 Oct 20th
The remarkable art cafe Nov 3rd Remarkable Hare Dale Road Matlock 10 - 4 pm

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

One Month Later off Facebook

So about one month ago I totally deleted my personal face book account I had to create a holding account to run my pages but that now only connects to immediate family, but over 1300 people have disappeared!

What has happened to me since?
The first week was hard as I kept wondering what so and so was having for diner and if that person I made friends with in New York was going to buy her shoes or not or become a minimalist?
But by week two I realised that those that are bothered about me and those who I am bothered about will contact me when they need me and I don't need to sit for three hours scrolling through time lines full of other peoples kids when I have my own!
It made me wonder why I have been doing that anyway a strange thing when you think about it!

 I've written a few letters to friends and family had some lovely personal emails sent to me I even called in on someone on the off chance they might be in how 1989 is that! and when I have met up with people I find I am asking them how they are what they have been doing the conversation is full of surprises and I haven't uttered the words 'Oh yeah I saw that' and because its just family on my face book now I can see what they are up too (which seems to consist of drinking beer!)
But that is what it was set up for in the first place but over the last ten years face book has grown and grown until its completely overwhelming if not kept in check.

So am I social media free?
No because theres twitter! Now that is another thing all together but I love it short sharp and to the point Ive created lots of lists , galleries and artists I love. Also im  a newshound so I love tracking the demise of Trump its better than any soap. Its a great way to stay informed so long as you don't create yourself a bubble and read all around the stories. Twitter has always been my favourite platform and Ive gotten alot of work from it.

Instagram is good too because its also to the point I can post a picture and keep up to date with friends without getting embroiled in adverts and notifications etc.. I know folk who pour their heart out and write essays on Instagram but the thing is you can scroll without seeing it all if you don't want to. I tend to follow artists only so I do see lots of amazing artwork very quickly!

So one month on and I have no regrets at all I know who my friends are because they have emailed rang or messaged me or found me via Instagram its the best thing Ive done, no more seeing those cryptic posts meant for that certain 'friend'  or political rants meant to change our minds if theres one thing I don't miss its the virtue signalling empty acts of commitment to good causes you know the ones they are coming up soon ' I'm not sending Christmas cards this year.... instead I'm going to save the trees while I sit next to my wood burner and scroll through your timeline' 

No its all good I'm glad I ditched it and can now spend more time writing blogs about how good it is not being on face book and then upload it to my Face book business page because of course I still have that!

Anyway to take up my time Ive joined the Green Party, Ive joined the local History society and started my University MA so Ive taken myself in new directions to meet new people to help give me new ideas to create art from and that is what its all about after all gaining new inspiration and learning new things.

If we keep doing the same we stay the same and we keep creating the same.

The next blog will have some art! If you want to see me in person I'm at Duffield Art Festival this weekend Id love to say hello!

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Facebook Deactivation.

Maybe Im not alone in feeling this about Facebook, for a while now Ive been wondering whether to change my social media interactions and today I finally decided to take the plunge and deactivate my Facebook personal profile this is a huge step for someone who has advocated the platform to so many people I still have my business page its a lovely way to keep in touch with my art work and I would always recommend a business to be on there, but as for my personal page I found the lines were becoming too blurred between work and personal.

I loved all my friends on there but increasingly Facebook was pushing events, adverts, groups and suggesting so much that it was difficult to even see anything at all, Also I find the messenger app although useful is also intrusive of personal time, ( I like a nice email sent )

It felt like my head was overloading on information and as someone who feels guilty for not being able to go to every event and show due to family etc it was agonising to feel like I was letting folk down which is stupid I know but I had over 1300 friends and letting down so many peoples invites everyday was awful ... I know no one takes that personally but my personality is such that I feel bad for saying no I cant attend ! Increasingly groups are being used to keep like minded folk in touch but I had been added to so many it became impossible to use them and leaving a group or messenger conversation also became difficult.

So if you were a friend of mine on there please don't think you are blocked or unfriended that is not the case at all its more about creating space for whats important and using the right tools for the job.
I love all of you just not Facebook!

I feel like Ive gone a little old school maybe I will start writing actual letters again! I can already feel the FOMO ( fear of missing out!) syndrome but I will have to deal with that.

So as I adjust to this new world of no endless notifications I will keep you updated here and on the platforms below, with my art news and my foray back into education at Derby University as I start my MA in Public History and Heritage.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Its All About Belper

I'm writing this listening to the rain and how glorious that sound is after some very hot days but the light we have had this Summer has meant that my home town of Belper has looked rather splendid. An evening and some early morning strolls has left me with some great images to work from. I love the stone work of the buildings it reflects and glistens when the light shines on it. These paintings will be framed and available at my solo exhibition at Cromford Studio and Gallery in December, and I will have prints done as requested. 

Its the Summer Holidays now which means weeks of travel and family fun and then in September I start my university course MA Public History and Heritage, at weekends I will be selling my work at various locations listed here as you can see I'm keeping things very local for the moment as I concentrate on my studies. 

New for 2019 will be Belper Sunday Painters a group I hope to set up to enable a space for six of us to scheduled painting we all get so busy that sometimes having a dedicated time in the diary means we can pencil in a few dates. Details are here about booking and cost.