Ruth McCabe: Open Studio on Saturday 18 November 2017

Ruth McCabe: Open Studio and Sale on Saturday 18th November 2017.


The studio and two other rooms will be open, showing both work going back to 2009 when I painted mostly in oils, and the current sketches I’m working on in preparation for two new shows next year, both of which have an environmental theme.

A brief intro…

My earliest pieces were often painted in acrylic like these limes, a large piece…


A few years later, having switched to oils, my work was still pursuing figurative forms…


….but also abstraction, like this piece – a response to a walk in spring woodland…


….and this even more abstract response to sunlight on a favourite footpath I walk regularly…


This later oil is based on returning to my Yorkshire roots and shows the beginning of a period in which I enjoyed using texture.


Two more textured oils from this period… “Snow Ewes” and “Spring Surge”



At this time I would often apply white oil, creating texture with the palette knife, then once dry, rub other pigments onto the textured surface with my finger. Loved it!

Boats were a regular subject in these years, loving their rounded forms and general buoyancy! These always sold well and only a few very small works remain like this oil on canvas which was one of a series of pieces painted to show alongside the ceramics of Usch Spettigue.


In 2010 I began exploring the medium of watercolour, in a curious response to the combination of struggling through a long long winter of snow and ice which seemed unwilling to let go its grip, followed immediately by the driest April ever, when trees began shedding their leaves to reduce water loss. Somehow this left me wanting to work in a thin, sparing medium and I persevered through a year of frustration (watercolour is so difficult) until I began to achieve pieces I liked. This early watercolour won its way into The Mall Galleries in the Sunday Times 25th Contemporary Watercolour Competition exhibition. I was thrilled, and doubly delighted to find that they’d chosen my piece to use on the cover of their brochure.


Continuing since 2011 to develop my practice in the use of watercolour, I am grateful to competitions like the Sunday Times and Royal Watercolour Society’s Contemporary competition, in the hope that these prestigious bodies change the art world’s prejudiced view of ‘watercolour’ as the medium for ‘amateur dabbling’. I love its translucency and flow, and never work in a tight, controlled way.

To give you a glimpse of the new work I’m developing for next year, some of which will relate to climate change, rises in sea levels and the role of saltmarsh on the East Anglian coast, here’s a couple of sketches made plein air at a Suffolk site where the marsh is now developing as an intertidal saline habitat following the breach of the sea wall in the tidal surge of 2013.



I look forward to welcoming you on the 18th. The studio will be cosy courtesy of my converted calor gas wood burner. During the watercolour demo between 12 and 1pm work can still be bought, and I now have a card payment system.
Twitter: @mccabe_ruth
Instagram: @ruthmccabe8420