Ruth Oaks: Profile
Born in Hampshire, I came to live and work in Dorset, attracted initially by memories of childhood holidays in Purbeck.
As a painter and printmaker I have exhibited in numerous selected exhibitions including “Originals” at Mall Galleries, London, Artsway Open and Salisbury Open Drawing.
My work in both painting and printmaking has a strong element of drawing. I have always been inspired by landscape, while much of my current work takes inspiration from poetry and works with words, sometimes taking the form of artist’s books. The “vessel” is a subject which frequently emerges in my work and I see it as a symbol of myself, a person making a journey, a life or a view of the world, the self in relation to God, the inner and outer world. It is a personal but also universal symbol to which I hope all can relate. I use a wide variety of painting and printmaking media and techniques.
My series of paintings “The Stations of the Cross” can be seen in St Aldhelm’s Church, Branksome. I won a commission to paint the “Triptych of St Peter and St Paul” for Ringwood Parish Church in 2005, and a series of nine poetry prints for the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead in 2008.
I am a founder member of Poole Printmakers (www.poole-printmakers.org.uk ) and teach at their workshop. Since 2005 I have run Poole Painting Studio and co-founded
Fresh Talent, a group for artists with learning disabilities.
I am also a member of Bournemouth Arts Club (www.bournemouthartsclub.co.uk) and exhibit regularly with them and Southern Contemporaries. I am a member of the Dorset Christian Business Fellowship (www.dcbf.org).
Why not just paint?
Well of course you can just paint. Great artists of the past did so and you can too. Just have a look at what Poole Painting Studio has to offer. But most contemporary artists use a whole variety and mixture of media to create their work.
I love to draw. You can draw with the paint on the brush or you can draw with wax or pastels and then wash watercolour over it. You can draw through the paint with a knife. You can draw with collage too. Printmaking offers the chance to draw with carving tools for lino or woodcut, or to draw velvety, shadowy marks with etching.
With printmaking you can make flat areas of colour, the painterly marks of monoprint, textures with collagraph and more. Artists today are trying to enliven the surface of their work, and printmaking opens up a whole new range of opportunities for expression with mark-making which could not be achieved solely through painting or drawing.
There is always that exciting moment with printmaking, of peeling off the paper to discover what happened to your image in the press. However experienced you become, there is always an element of unpredictability in printmaking, which you can use to enrich the creative process.
I love the challenge of finding ways to express my ideas in different painting and printmaking media, or combinations of those. It’s often poetry which sparks my imagination, so I look for ways to incorporate words in my work. I love the challenge of solving technical problems to do this, and the added richness of combining different art forms.
This building, at 5, Bowling Green Alley houses a painting studio and a printmaking workshop, all the facilities you need for a free-ranging and exciting programme of drawing, painting and printmaking courses, with the possibility of combining different media. This is why I have been keen to cover a wide variety of courses in the summer programme.
So why not try something new?