Discover what first inspired Ruth to take part in the TAE, and why she feels all other artists can benefit from taking part.
For this post Adam Brant interviews Ruth Gray about her art work and learns how a creative family, fashion design and Australia all led to her becoming a full-time artist. TAE18 will be the seventh year Ruth has donated a postcard to the Twitter Art Exhibit.
A photograph of Ruth Gray creating art work on location in Chatsworth House (2016)
When did you start making art work?
I inherited my creative spirit from both my parents’ families (a lineage which includes photographers, craft lovers and artists). My parents encouraged this spirit and I remember being drawn to art from an early age.
My Auntie Marjorie has been a major figure in my life and I can recall sitting in the New Forest with a box of watercolours while she tutored me. I believe these moments steered me towards exploring my creativity.
I studied at Nottingham Trent University and became a fashion designer, spending 12 years working in and around Nottingham’s Lace Market (I loved the old factory buildings as much as anything else!). In 2003 my husband was offered a job in Australia and we moved and lived in Victoria for six years. Unable to find work as a fashion designer I returned to my art, won first prize in a drawing competition, and I haven’t looked back!
What inspires you to make art work?
The subjects that really inspire me have a sense of history and include townscapes, landscapes, rolling skies and hidden corners. I love the moods of nature including the weather and seasons. Growing-up on the Nottingham/Derbyshire border in the UK I developed a passion for the Peak District (which can be traced back to family weekends spent there).
While my paintings are usually representational they’re often stylised or abstracted, and I take great liberty with the colours I choose. My aim is to capture mood and atmosphere rather than realism. No matter what my subject I want to create a painting that people can enjoy for a long time.
What can people expect from your art work?
My work is mainly about heritage towns and landscapes. Since my return from Australia in 2009 I’ve embraced the history of my new town of Belper and the surrounding Derwent Valley area (a World Heritage Site). I’m lucky to be able to use my art to play a part in the continued development of this area, and help raise awareness of its beauty and past.
I love that my work tells a story of a place and those stories can be added too by those viewing my work. These stories often lead me on to the next art project or opportunity.
Long Row Belper
Acrylic on box canvas
60 x 60 cm
Do you work as a full-time artist?
I’ve been a full-time artist since 2013 – a very rewarding way to earn a living with something new always around the corner! As an artist I’ve:
• Exhibited work in over 100 exhibitions
• Sold work at local and international shows and festivals
• Written for Australian Artist and SAA magazines
• Appeared in various magazine, TV and online reviews
• Worked with galleries and societies
• Run workshops to demonstrate my techniques
• Become a member of the Peak District Artisans, Banks Mill Studios, and a Gold member of the SAA.
I also co-run Purple and Grey who exist to help artists navigate the local art world by providing opportunities to #network #learn #create and #exhibit.
How did you first hear about the Twitter Art Exhibit (TAE)?
I love using Twitter and I first learnt about the TAE from following David Sandum. The exhibition that year was raising funds for a Women’s Shelter in Moss, Norway, and I’ve participated in each TAE since then.
Why did you decide to submit an art work to the TAE?
I have a wish to support women’s shelters so the opportunity to use my art to help support the lives of women and families through TAE12 was important to me. Since then the TAE has enabled me to help many other worthy causes with my art work, with the added benefit being able to link with other artists around the world along the way.
What has been your favourite thing about being involved with TAE?
I always have a few art postcards on the go as it’s a way of using up paint and experimenting with ideas. I often use my artwork as a way of fundraising, so the TAE is a perfect fit for me!
Have you completed your postcard for TAE18 yet?
I’ve already posted my TAE18 postcard and, as both a UK and Australian citizen, am looking forward to exhibiting art work in my second home. I’ve painted a scene from a recent trip to Cambridge of a punt on the River Cam (a scene many may find familiar).
Inks on paper
16cm x 12cm
Would you encourage others to take part in the TAE?
I’d certainly encourage any artist to take part as it’s a lovely way of connecting with other artists from around the world to help a variety of causes. It also gives artists the opportunity to share their work to a wider audience and meet likeminded friends.
I know some artists who’ve been able to use taking part in the TAE as an opportunity to be featured in their local newspapers, and it’s a great to add an international exhibition to your CV.
Where can people discover more about you and your art work?
If you’re interested in discovering more about my work you can visit my website http://ruthgrayimages.net/ and read my blog http://ruthgrayimages.blogspot.co.uk/. You can also follow my social media accounts:
• Twitter – @ruthgrayimages
• Facebook – @RuthGrayImages
• Instagram – @ruthgrayimages
My work can also be seen in galleries around the East Midlands region in the UK.
Our ‘meet the Twitter Art Exhibit (TAE) artists’ series of blog posts is an opportunity for you to discover more about the artists behind the TAE. All artists taking part in the TAE donate their own original postcard sized art works for sale each year. Their support, enthusiasm, talent and fantastic art enables the TAE to continue raising valuable funds for good causes.