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

Whispered Messages and Passion


Acrylic on Canvas

500mm x 1000mm

I’ve been using fabric to convey messages about what it means human at the most basic.  Life, love, loss, memory.  Fabric concealing and revealing who we are.

Another message carrier was Iris.  The beautiful young Greek Goddess dressed in multicolored clothes and rode the wind to bring messages to mortals. She married Zephyrus who was the god of the west wind, and their son was Pothos,  passion.

The word iridescence is derived in part from the name of this goddess, and the iris of the eye is named after her as she was the goddess of the rainbow, to reflect the many colours of the eye.



Musing on things Deep and Meaningful


Oil on Linen

500mm x 1200mm

The gossamer thread you fling…


Gossamer Threads

Oil on canvas

600mm x 900mm

And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space, Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres

to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor

Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

Walt Whitman

Finding sanctuary

Sanctum [a private place where one if free from intrusion]

Oil on marouflaged linen, ovato tondo, 300mm x 400mm

How to find creative freedom? Virginia Woolf offered her opinion: a woman must have money and a room of her own…

I love her description of what it feels like when you’re in that space. She visited Oxford University to seek inspiration:

“The spirit of peace descended like a cloud from heaven, for if the spirit of peace dwells anywhere, it is in the courts and quadrangles of Oxbridge on a fine October morning. Strolling through those colleges past those ancient halls the roughness of the present seemed smoothed away; the body seemed contained in a miraculous glass cabinet through which no sound could penetrate, and the mind, freed from any contact with facts … was at liberty to settle down upon whatever meditation was in harmony with the moment.”



A Little Bit of a Diversion

Pears and DraperyA little play while I was waiting for the glazes to dry on my larger works…

Still Life with Pears

oil on canvas


Warm winds blowing fabric

Shamal” -warm desert wind

Oil on Marouflaged Linen

200mm x 400mm

Crown Lynn Swans and Family Connections

Crown Lynn pottery has acquired an iconic status in New Zealand, and most Kiwi families have a piece somewhere among the treasured family heirlooms.  During the restrictions imposed because of WWII only utilitarian items could be produced, so Crown Lynn combined beautiful ornaments with practicality and called them vases.  Many of these are now highly collectable.

My parents both worked at Crown Lynn for a time in the early 1950s, and when they married they received many gifts of Crown Lynn pottery.  These became loved items for me as a child.  I am exploring symbols of tradition and memory in my paintings, and to me Swans are symbolic of a long loving relationship, and my own collection of Crown Lynn is a very tangible connection with my heritage, family connections, traditions and memories.

I’m producing a series of explorations of the forms, some abstracted, some representational, suggesting distance in time and memory.  These works are 200mm Tondo, Charcoal on Hahnemuhle Paper, marouflaged on board – part of the Group Show: Works on Paper at Railway Street Studios for the next couple of weeks.

Did you ever tie a knot in your handkerchief?










Oil on marouflaged Linen

Ovato Tondo 300mm x 400mm


When I was a child, my Grandmother told me to tie a knot in my hanky to remember.  I might not remember why I tied the knot, but  I think of her every time.

When I began painting drapery it was because I was exploring traditions and memories passed from one generation to the next, and using fabrics as symbols of that.  I found that these fabrics became loaded with symbolism well beyond my personal memories. They can be seen as intimate and personal, but also universal and timeless.

My Grandmother has long since gone, but the love, the traditions, the memories linger… happily.


Keep the Noise Down


Oil on Canvas,

“Shafts of light will fall,

move slowly down your wall,

come to rest on last night’s pile of clothes”

Greg Johnson