The Society was extremely grateful to Ruth for stepping in at the very last minute after our planned demonstrator had to cancel due to illness. Although used to running small workshops, this was her first venture in front of a large audience and she admitted she found it an unnerving experience, but hopefully our warm and sympathetic welcome means it will not be her last.

Ruth is a watercolourist who works very loosely, allowing paint to create subtle shapes and shades as colours blend and merge. She was working on dry 140lb Arches paper and doesn’t worry about “cockling” as she finds the ripples in the wet paper create interesting shapes and textures. She works on a sloping board using a lot of water and allows the paint to run down and blend with foreground colours before drying with a hair drier. A light spray of water lightens any unwanted dark edges.

She is inspired by the marvelous watercolours of Alvaro Castagnet from Uruguay and uses one of his brushes as well as those from Rosemary and Co. She follows his limited palette, with cobalt blue, china white, yellow ochre, alizarin permanent and neutral tint. Combining these creates a range of the warm greys she favours and are ideal for the wet street scene she was painting. Broad sweeps of soft colours indicated buildings, whilst cars and people were mere suggestions highlighted by dashes of lighter paint.

It was both interesting and informative to watch the paintings come to light and also to be introduced to 2 new artists – Ruth herself and her mentor Alvaro Castagnet.