The brooding wildness of Pennine moors, and dense, dark structures of industrial West Yorkshire were the setting of Ruth’s childhood. Now living in Suffolk, undramatic agricultural landscapes and this easterly, edgy and vulnerable coastline, add to her mind’s store of energies.
The natural world in all its shapes, forms and climates: classically beautiful, or scarred by industry are an inspiration. Emptiness, quiet, a sense of remoteness and solitude are conveyed in her contemplative watercolours, the oils picking up on other energies: joy, passion, conflict.
A first degree in Botany and Zoology taught her to look carefully, and began a life-long deepening appreciation of the immense complexity of form and function in living things. It also began training the eye and brain to make marks to record these forms.
30 years then elapsed where mark-making ‘went underground’ to become an activity within the mind during her training and work in psychotherapy.
On moving to Suffolk, mark-making re-emerged, with Julie Noad (oil painter) as mentor. Since 2011 she has largely made her own journey in an instinctive way.
After sketching outdoors, work in the studio is more interpretive, evolving much as the work Ruth did as a Group Analytic Psychotherapist over a number of decades, words put down then, now becoming a pigment applied. Then stepping back, waiting, considering, and responding: perhaps scraping back in oils, or layering on more translucent pigments in watercolour. Forms build gradually that begin to ‘speak’ of the subject. What the medium will do, how the substrate responds, are ‘group members’ in this practice.
Ruth invites the onlooker to relate to what they see, through what they feel and through imagination. Her watercolour work has been received with enthusiasm as innovative and pushing boundaries. There is depth and power in both the oils and watercolours, and much to be discovered over time. The body of watercolours developed over 10 years has achieved success in national contemporary watercolour competitions, being exhibited at both The Mall Galleries and Bankside Gallery, London. Her work is collected internationally in Australia, USA, Germany and The Netherlands.