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!
Ruth

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 ruthgrayimages@hotmail.com and I will put you on the list. 

Monday, 10 June 2019

Painting and Youth!

Painting I just love it! Good job I hear you say as you are an artist! But I realise more than ever that I do love painting its a great way to zone out for a while and I certainly do need to do that occasionally as life lately has been hectic but then when isn't it. I reckon over the years I'd have gone nuts if it wasn't for dabbing away with a paintbrush if I'm ever overwhelmed or sad I shut myself away and paint to take my mind off it if I'm in agony because of my arthritis I paint and soon feel better. But I don't paint just to escape I do it because I love it and that's important.
We should all try and fit something in that we love doing because as I've said many times life is short and one day we will regret spending time doing crap stuff others want us to do. Painting is not the only thing I like doing and this year I've been lucky enough to be able to study and because I'm doing it part time I get to carry on for another year.
Going back to school or rather University has been fun and at times deep! I've been so deep in bloody books I don't know what day it is and as I'm doing history the actual century gets confusing too! But overall its been fun and enlightening meeting new people especially the lovely twenty-somethings who remind me I'm glad not to have to do it all again but also remind me of that fabulous feeling of endless possibilities of where life will take them. They are yet to marry, buy a house, get a job if indeed they want to do any of that because that was what I had to do maybe they don't have to yet because times are different and expectations of what should be done by thirty are different. So I've been listening carefully to their stories and hopes and it has opened my eyes to their struggles and dreams.
I am very aware of my age all of a sudden and realise that no matter how down with the kids I think I am, I'm  just not and can't be because the generation gap is acute what I took for granted when I was young isn't there for our young I had help with my rent due to housing benefit so I could leave home and save for a mortgage houses were cheaper technology didn't exist my phone was down the road in a red box! There's a lot of pressure on the young zero-hours contracts, social media always got to be achieving no financial support from the government its very difficult to get a foothold on adulthood. I wish them all well, to be honest, they are so much more mature than I at that age, the nineties are somewhat of a blur I have to say!
What's this got to do with painting? I don't know really but I suppose I see so many twenty-somethings making a go of social media for their artwork and I think I've probably wasted a lot of my past not doing what I should have been so now I paint when I can, study and generally try and live a full life.
So then what have I been painting well here's two I did this last couple of weeks.

Corner House Chippy Cleethorpes 20 x 20 cm

This painting above marks the beginning of a new obsession The Chip Shop! So let me have any of your favorite chip shops!

Berwick Upon Tweed 16 x 20 inches.


This one above started as a demo at Sutton Colefield Art Group and I've been working on it a while.
Next weekend I will be at Matlock Art Society running a workshop and demoing so contact them if you'd like to come along.
The week after I will be at Stanton in the Peak open gardens 1-5 pm so do come along and spend an afternoon looking at art and gardens.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

A Legacy of Inspiration

Ok so I've just driven five hours along motorways and windy new forest back roads and found my Aunts house she greets me at the door and immediately takes me for a long walk......


Its been a long sad month since she passed away and her funeral yesterday was both hard but reassuring of a life well spent.
Not a moment of her time was wasted. She knew how to live a full life from home cooking fabulous meals to decorating her home with found treasures from the beach. To making everyone she encountered feel special.
Time spent with her was a joy she would fill your head full of positive images from her travels and tales of family success she rarely spoke ill of anyone.
She taught me to paint and bought my first professional art materials when I was very young.
Her paintings filled her walls and she used art to educate herself and as a way of finding new friends when she frequently moved around the country with my Uncles job. It was her I had in mind when I joined an art society in Australia as she told me you are never alone if you have art in your life, and it is so very true. Artists can strike up a conversation as though they have been your friend for years because there is always something to discuss from the composition to the paint you use or just sharing a problem you may have with a scene. 
Driving with my Aunt was fun as she would always take the road less traveled so we could discover beautiful views. Trips out always involved coffee and cake and a mooch around lovely galleries and shops, her life was wonderful because she made it so.
Life is a choice after all and it is the choice between seeing the beauty or not seeing the beauty.
To die having lived in the best kind of way is to leave a kind of magic dusting of happiness on all who knew you.
I will miss her but she is with me as I continue on my journey.
Love you Auntie xxx

Friday, 22 March 2019

Why Facebook isnt working.

Granya Australia (sold) 

Today I've been contemplating my decision to come off facebook as a personal page it's been about eights months now. Last week I had some extremely sad news from a friend and she had lost contact with me because I had come off facebook she found me via my business page, I'm glad she did find me and this has lead me to consider my actions in coming off the platform. I know I've missed out on many events and new opportunities but I've also missed out on some other things births, deaths, marriages for instance.
For the most part, Facebook is full of dreadful pictures of pets and dinners but it is also a way of connecting to those that mean most to you. My problem was I let it get out of hand and had too many people I didn't know. It was time-consuming and impersonal. 

So where does that leave me now am I about to announce my return? No, not yet I am still in two minds. I believe Facebook is a reflection of real life but magnified it gathers all the data on what you have been looking at online and feeds it back to you in the form of advertising and suggestions leaving little room for the friendships. I hear rumors that it is about to address these issues so I think I will wait until then.

I remember when I first started using Facebook in 2007/8 it was a brilliant way to reach back to my family when I was in Australia and likewise a brilliant way to keep up with friends when I came back to the UK. It was also a good tool to make new friends locally. In real life before social media we use to drift in and out of peoples lives and probably had a core group of people after social media we gather friends, find old school friends, add work friends, add anyone we meet at social gatherings and before you know it there's a huge mix. So it was a funny thing that when I use to open up my newsfeed it was full of people I didn't know Facebook suggested them to me based on what I look at generally which is art but my family are into sport, rambling, cycling, motorbikes all sorts of stuff I don't like so, in the end, Facebook for all its cleverness doesn't work because we are friends with people for other reasons than what we ourselves like to look at online! 

So after this revelation, I will continue to use it for business only and possibly keep missing out on things, but for my own sake, I think that is better than reading a timeline full of suggested stuff. so until Facebook get back to being more personal I will leave it for now.

I Need Your Help!


I've been working recently with Cromford Mills if you have time to help me gather some data for them to run creative workshops I'd be really grateful if you would fill out ten short questions on this survey. 

Friday, 1 February 2019

New Ways of Working

One month down not long till Christmas! I know what am I on about well I've been working on Christmas 2019 already. I've been busy choosing  Christmas cards and painting ready for my exhibition at Cromford Studio and Gallery in December.



University has commenced and results are in from last semester and it is not all bad, obviously, for those who follow this blog there are grammatical errors and I'm trying to learn to write properly!
I have been blogging for nearly nine years and it is a totally different way of writing, the internet is all informal write as you speak and academic writing is definitely not! But I will get there and its fun trying.

I've found that my kids know more about writing properly than I do and I've got an English A level. But back in the dark days of the 80's I can't remember anyone telling me what a clause was, perhaps they did but I haven't been able to retain that information! I do find writing hard it uses a different side of the brain and it takes me a while to get stuff down if it has to be correct.
I've been living in a carefree slap on the paint, write as you speak world for so long its a great kick up the bum.


Public History is a massive subject and I'm glad I'm doing it over two years so I can grasp it, everyone is asking me what is Public History and to be honest, I didn't know a definition to describe it until I watched Danny Dyer  Right Royal Family. I have to say that this programme sums it up, someone relatable presenting their own story. Its had a few snobby reviews on twitter but since when was history just for the elite presented by the elite? The fact is more probably watched that than many other history shows.
So I'm studying different ways to present history to the public, as well as ways to bring in a crowd and get it funded. There's obviously way more to it but I'm not going to bore you any further!
Has it changed my art possibly I'm working on a series for December that is based on the houses of Derbyshire we shall see how much time I get to do many of them but here just for you in this blog are my first few.

If you know where they are, place a comment below! http://ruthgrayimages.net

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Happy New Year Video.


Happy New Year


Hope you had a great New Years Eve and are now enjoying looking forward to new adventures in 2019, personally, I can't believe it is 2019 I'm just getting my head around the 21st century!
I thought I'd give you all a treat for New Years, my article came out in 'Paint' Magazine and I thought you may all like to see the video of the process of painting my new work 'Harrods' enjoy the rest of today and have a fabulous New Year!
Ruth x