A return to oils

Ruth describes how 2018 brought an exciting return to painting in oils after nearly 10 years of developing her avant garde use of watercolour.

In the colder months of the year, oils tend to take a long, long time to dry, and even working on 4 or 5 pieces at one time can still be a very slow process. In early 2018 Ruth began using acrylic paint which does not have this problem. This big bright painting, (acrylic on board, about 80 x 80cm framed) really sings with light, and looks forward to those months when the garden bursts into life. She layered translucent acrylic inks over the dry surface, to add interesting rich depth to the piece.

As the studio warmed up Ruth layered thin oil pigment over some of the acrylics, eventually producing another similar sized piece arising out of her visits to a favourite place: Southwold Harbour. The harbour retains its old black huts with their beautiful rusty corrugated roofs, and thankfully has not been tidied up, so that the wonderful clutter and chaos of old fishing tackle and sailing stuff still lie around. These lovely shapes and tangles often add not only fascinating form, but bright notes of turquoise and red. With the companionable clinker of sailing sheets against metal masts, the flutter of flags and the beautiful colours with which boats seem to be painted, its an uplifting, energising place to be. Ruth hopes this oil on board transmits to the viewer these same energies.

Black tar and rust
Black tar and rust

Many more oils on board began to take shape as the summer heated up and the paint dried quickly. Ruth particularly likes this more contemplative oil on board: "A wealth of old structures' . Painted very freely, with no particular place in mind, although still relating to the tar and rust in its palette, it probably is influenced by reading a book by Jacky Bowring, called 'Melancholy and the Landscape: Locating sadness, memory and reflection in the landscape'. Liking the notion that melancholy has a positive role to play in our lives, giving space for our non-destructive sadnesses and longings to emerge and take form, Ruth sees this painting as an expression of this idea. Its dark, its moody, but its not despairing. It may also nod in the direction of the graces and riches of age.

Balancing light and dark.