What is your background?
I’m a self-taught painter; my university degree is actually in Music. I’ve got to where I am through years of independent research and practice. My chief motivation is a desire to learn; as long as I’m learning, I’m happy. I first began experimenting with portraiture about seven years ago. I’ve been painting full time for three years now, and I’m learning every step of the way!
Explain what you do in 100 words.
I’m a portrait painter. For me, this is about far more than replicating the appearance of a face. One of the most striking characteristics of the human face is its ability to communicate – so portraiture is about communication, about nuances of expression, about character. I strive always to capture my sitter’s likeness and personality in a positive and affirming way.
I work in oils; I love their responsiveness and versatility. I am passionate about painting from life whenever I can. I work mainly on commission, but have exhibited across Yorkshire and in London.
What five words best describe your work?
Positivity. Charisma. Painterly realism. People.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently exploring the world of gold leaf; using gold leaf as a ground on which to paint a portrait. I’m experimenting with layering, fragmentation and exposure to let the gold shine through in and around the face in different ways. It’s very different, and very exciting, and I’m loving it so far.
Which three artists inspire you?
John Singer Sargent. Gustav Klimt. Anders Zorn.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Never adapt your work to pander to the public – or to the Critics.
Favourite or most inspirational place in Yorkshire?
Leeds Grand Theatre. Nothing inspires me like a good opera!
Tell us something we don’t know.
I’m a bit of a Classics geek – I adore ancient Greek and Roman art.
Ruth is the Great North Art Show’s Artist in Residence 2016. For more information visit www.greatnorthartshow.co.uk