These Things I Know…

Ruth Phipps, NZ

“These Things I Know”

2020, Oil on Linen, 900 x 700 mm


Asking the question

Truth Seeker, 2016 Oil on linen, 300 x 250 mm

Truth Seeker, 2016
Oil on linen, 300 x 250 mm

Lately I’ve been working on much smaller paintings than I usually do, including some very small works.  The miniature format feels right while I explore a new approach to my old lace treasures and I find the process to be very meditative; there’s an intimacy and concentration of detail in the smaller works that I find very satisfying.  Now, I don’t normally enter art competitions because I think my work is too traditional to be acceptable to contemporary competitions, but last year I decided it was time, and I was delighted to receive positive feedback and to hear that my painting, Truth Seeker, was selected as a finalist in the 2016 Peters Doig Marlborough Art Awards.

Like Souls, Waiting to Remind Us

Like Souls, Waiting to Remind Us Oil on linen, 100 x 120 mm

“Like Souls, Waiting to Remind Us”
Oil on linen, 100 x 120 mm

IMAGO MUNDI Benetton World Art — “Kiwi Consciousness” Collection

Treviso, Italy


Parnell Rose Garden November 2014

In memory of Heather

In memory of Heather, oil on canvas, 600x600mm

Voices from the Past

Oil on linen, 900 X 1500mm

Oil paint on Belgian linen, 900 X 1500mm

These family heirloom linens from 19th century carry with them the voices of the past, a reminder of lives lived and journeys taken, passed on down generations on a journey of their own.


Gentle people and a Still, Quiet Voice

Gentle people and a Still, Quiet Voice.

Gentle people and a Still, Quiet Voice

Prayer Shawl

Two lovely people allowed this  one artist free reign with their precious family shawl, and this is the result.  It went off happily to its new home today.  (We miss it already)  Some things just are special, and that’s what this felt like.  The wool is weighty and draped beautifully, and there was so much interest in the beautiful details, but beyond those physical aspects, this shawl had presence.  I was drawn to the soft reflections and filtered glow of the light through the folds, and to me it was like the shawl was breathing.  That’s when I realised… so often we can’t hear the voice that really matters until we stop. Still. And listen.

Material Witness

My first exhibition since October 2012, “Material Witness”, opens on  22 July,  at Exhibitions Gallery of Fine Art, 19A Osborne Street, Newmarket, Auckland.

Preview: Tuesday, 22 July 2014, 6pm – 8pm.  If you are in Auckland, please join us  (to RSVP please email the gallery  –  everyone’s welcome.

You can check out this link to the gallery for a sneak preview of the works on show!  And please pass on the invitation to your friends.

The exhibition runs from 22 July to 17 August 2014.  See you there!

"Most Secret and True", Ruth Phipps, 2014, oil on linen, 710mm x 560mm

“Most Secret and True”, Ruth Phipps, 2014, oil on linen, 710mm x 560mm

A voice from the past – memories manifest

Oil on linen, 800mm x 1200mm

“Heritage”, Ruth Phipps, 2014, oil on linen, 800mm x 1200mm


This work is one of my recent paintings that has been selected to feature on the home page of – perfect timing as my solo show “Material Witness” opens soon.  Thanks Artfind!

This amazing piece of hand-worked fabric is an antique Irish linen tablecloth inherited from a Great Aunt.   Such wonderful old linens are a reminder of traditions and heritage passed down from mother to daughter. They have become precious vessels that carry with them memories of loved grandmothers, and they also bear witness to strong, brave generations of women who left their home and country to carve out new lives in a foreign land. That’s a heady mixture: old ideas and traditions are maintained but become frozen in time by isolation from the source,  altered by the new and different, they fade and change through memory’s filters. Several generations on only shadowy traces of legends survive, save the cloth, which manifests the reality of a life lived. Real treasure.


Hot days and darkened doorways

painting inspired by recent travels in Spain and Portugal

painting inspired by recent travels in Spain and Portugal, oil on linen, 500mm x 600mm

Creamy, sienna and honey colored stone,  warm, soft on the eye; stucco walls that entice my fingers; rustic, weather-worn wood and rusted iron speak of other times; sultry air hangs in darkened passages that open to inner courtyards but feel like portals to another world; fabrics and lace, beautiful and rare and everyday, delicate in appearance, but steadfast and  staunch as custodians of rites, traditions, memories … and people. Families, mothers, women.