31 Dec 2010 New Years Eve. More work on the Venice commission.

Today is another dull and overcast day. I've been Facebooking and watched a video on internet marketing. The small rowan tree outside my office window has been visited on an off all day by about 20 waxwings who are busy stripping it of all the berries. What a stunning bird!

Meanwhile I have been popping in and out of my studio to do more to the Venice commission.
So far so good.

30 Dec 2010 progress on canya see whotitis yet?

More work on the Venice commission today.

Yes you got it! Its the view from the Accademia Bridge looking towards Salute with the Guggenheim villa on the right.

29 Dec 2010 A commissioned piece.

I have been asked to paint a new version of one of my favourite scenes in Venice.
Can you see what it is yet?

The work is in acrylics on a 40cm x 50cm gesso panel.
More later as it progresses.

20 DEC 2010 Prizes are all gone!

The final winner came round to pick up her framed print yesterday. 
So the six winners of our daily prize draw have chosen and collected their prizes.

This who they are, and what they chose  [cue drum-roll]

20 Nov 2010   Ava Jessey     'Polperro Low Tide'   by Colin Ruffell

21 Nov 2010   Daina Warbis   'Girl with Kite'   by Fran Slade

27 Nov 2010   Louise Courtney   'Lets Play on Brighton Bandstand'   by Colin Ruffell

28 Nov 2010   Christine Connoly   'June Summer'   by Shyama

4 Dec 2010    Nicki Winton    'Brighton'  by Colin Ruffell

5 Dec 2010   Anne-Marie Roberts   'Lets Play on Palace Pier'   by Colin Ruffell

Thanks everybody who came to see our show, and thanks indeed to all those who bought artwork from us.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

17 Dec 2010 A Golden Moment

 Today is our 50th wedding anniversary. So here are some photos from that day.

We were art students. We had no money, so we borrowed the clothes. Everybody said that it might last a year or two.

6 Dec 2010 End of Christmas Open House

Yesterday was the last day of our three weekend Artists Open House event. Phew!
Now we clear up. 
You can see more photos of  our show and visitors on the Facebook fan page photo album.


Here is a shot of the weather just before the last weekend. A foot of snow fell on Wednesday night that turned into ice and made travel impossible on Thursday and Friday. But the fates are kind, and overnight on Friday the rain washed it all away.

21 Nov 2010 Day two, and a prize winner!

We hold a daily prize draw during our Open House events. The prize is a framed 'limited edition' or something equivalent. The winner chooses an image and we arrange a size and frame to suit their requirements. This morning our first visitor, Ingrid, pulled a card at random from yesterdays visitor records and we had our winner. The card was entered in the name of the youngest visitor yesterday, named Ava, aged about 6 months. So today Ava's parents came back to choose a print from our catalogue. 

Ava will be hanging a Ruffell print called 'Polperro Low Tide' in her room in Cambridge.

20 Nov 2010 End of day one!

The start of our three weekend Artists Open Houses show was quieter than previous years. This probably because we are opening a week earlier than most of the other houses in the Brighton trail. Here is a picture or two of the show on the first day. We sold original paintings, prints, and cards plus guest artists exhibits. Looking forward to tomorrow.

17 November 2010 More about Facebook...

Yesterday I wrote here that I have enjoyed cracking the Facebook thing!
Actually I feel like a religious convert or teenager on a first date.

The journey of spending a bit of spare time going through the process of learning, understanding, and implementing was much easier than I thought.
And it was deeply satisfying to get the results of the time spent so quickly.

I really do recommend that any artist who wants to get noticed should get a Facebook fan page. [It is now called a LIKE page].

I followed the guidance of Chris Farrell and his 'Understanding Facebook' series of bite sized videos.
Click here to see how much free stuff he just gives away!

16 Nov 2010 Facebook excitement

Just a couple of weeks ago I was uninspired and unimpressed by Facebook 
I knew that it was popular and that it was being used by many other artists to promote their work.
But wasn't it shallow and trivial?
I felt that this very blog, plus my own website [www.colinruffell.com], plus our business website [www.crabfish.com], and my Linkedin groups, was enough.
Then I found an online teacher who showed my how to do FB better, and who explained the viral process. I also read a couple of books recently that added excitement to these viral possibilities and another that supplied explanations about the naturalness of social media.

So I stuck in and re-created my Facebook profile, made a bunch more FB friends,and then created a LIKE/FAN page with this welcome picture. And already 50+ people have 'LIKED' it! All in a couple of weeks.

Colin Ruffell Artist

Do you want to go and have a look? 
Here is the link http://www.facebook.com/ColinRuffellArtist

6 Nov 2010 The first Christmas cards.

Every year since the year dot we get and display our first Christmas card in November. Very often is is from our old buddies John and Jean B from Bayswater Road days. They get a prize for heralding Christmas early. But this year we are pre-empting [right word?] all incoming mail by creating more of our own cards to sell at our upcoming Open House in just two weeks time. These will go on display here first. Unless JB's send in even earlier than usual. 

Here are some of our own new designs. 

These will all be in our 'artist signed handmade range'.

1 November 2010 Half a million up in smoke!

Johnny Woodford throws a great halloween party. We went along last night, and while were there we organised some more exhibits for our upcoming open house. Only 19 days time. Yikes.
JW chopping boards are always popular.
And hopefully we arranged for an early Christmas tree.
The highlight of the evening was the promised 'burning of half a million quid'.
As you can see, Johnny had carved something earlier.

28 Oct 2010 Upheaval on the home-front.

First there was the rain water damage to the interior plaster work, then we discovered the rotten wood and floor joists, then we had to replace the conservatory glass and roof beams, then hack off the rotten plaster and replace it, then the redecoration, and then the replacement of a rotten window. 

Now, several million pounds lighter, we are approaching a time when we can prepare for our upcoming Xmas Open House in just 23 days time.
Please come in your droves and buy lots of goodies so that we can pay the bank back.

21 Oct 2010 Can you see what it is yet?

I am working on a set of four new original paintings destined for the Edinburgh Art Fair on 18th to 21st November.
Here they are at an early stage. Starting top left going clockwise, the subjects are; Calton Hill, Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle, Forth Rail Bridge.

And here they are a little later.
The paintings are on gesso panels which I discovered tucked away in the studio.
"That'll be nice for my Edinburgh pictures", I said to myself as I started.. 
But it transpires that the top two in this shot are 16"x20" 
The lower two are 40cm x 50cm.
Nearly the same but not quite. 
Aargh! The metric versus the imperial system.
So I have had to order two sizes of frames for the Art Fair.

Here is a link to the show.



We are making last minute preparations today for our next exhibition. Shyama and I are showing at the Palace Art Fair in London. The venue is Fulham Palace alongside the River Thames near Putney.  www.palaceartfair.co.uk

This is a new art fair, and is run by the same people who run the Brighton Art Fair. A few artist friends are going to show including Adrian Turner [photography], Fran Doherty [ceramics].  

Shyama and I are showing original paintings on the Four Walls stand with Lara Bowen.
Here is one of my originals that will be available for sale.

'Tug'  3"x4" canvas  £48

The hanging and private view are on Thursday 7th Oct. 
The show is open on Friday 8th, Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th. 

12 Sept 2010 Into Battle

'Bridge of Sighs' by Colin Ruffell    acrylic on canvas  £2160

The first  Battle Contemporary Art Fair  starts in a weeks time. I will deliver my original paintings tomorrow, and go to the Private View this coming Friday 17th September. These are the six paintings that I am sending.

'Colours of New York'  by Colin Ruffell    acrylic on gesso panel  £1600

'Grand Canal 2' by Colin Ruffell    acrylic on canvas  £3840

'Tuscany' by Colin Ruffell    acrylic on canvas  £3600

'San Marco' by Colin Ruffell    acrylic on canvas  £3840

'Windmill' by Colin Ruffell    acrylic on canvas  £4320

6 Sept 2010 A nice letter!

Today I received an email from an artist who purchased my E book 'How to Make a Living as an Artist'.

It has made my day :-)  Thanks Kelly. Here it is.

Dear Colin,

I've had a couple of quick read-through's of your book and I'm both thankful that you've written it and, most of all, thankful that I've come across it!

I'm just starting out, as many are, into this seemingly mysterious world of the artist and your book has, quite possibly, given me one of my most valuable tools...hope. Not the 'finger's crossed' hope of winning the lottery, but a real hope of being able to achieve what I'm aiming for because I'm now armed with some very clear guidelines.

It seemed worryingly simplistic at first, but there is no escaping the wealth of information that has been collected by someone who know's what they're talking about and wishes to communicate it as usefully as possible.

I couldn't be happier.
I AM going to be an artist!

Kindest regards,

What is RSS?

I just thought that I would try to find out what RSS was.
In the process, I found this blog, and saw a chance to share with you.
Onward and upward.

What is RSS?

25 August 2010 demonstration

The exhibition is installed at Frontispiece in Canary Wharf. It looks fine and is attracting attention.

We met the press who wanted pictures of me painting, so we set up my sketching easel in Jubilee Place for a photo shoot. I met a lot of passers by, and some told me that they collected my work. This chap, saw me painting, and stopped, and told me that he had three already. Surprise all round.

23AUG 2010 Final preparations, and a new exhibition.

I am just making the final preparations for the Frontispiece Exhibition which we hang tomorrow morning in London. All the 22 paintings are available as limited edition prints, so I have been scanning, printing and proofing.  This entails lots of paperwork, entering details onto databases, writing lists etc.

Ten of the smaller paintings are published as limited editions of only 25 plus 2 artists proofs. So, 27 in total of each image worldwide forever. Here are  a couple of the new images that will only available in the small 7"x5" print format. Both of these are blown up from small 3"x4" originals, so the brushwork is really evident.

The larger paintings, are published in editions of 250 with 25 artists proofs.This is a more conventional total.
I promise that none of these images will be available for any further publishing. Not on cards or subsequent open editions.

P.S. Just heard that I have been accepted for the Battle Fine Art Fair next month. I submitted a collection of Venice paintings. More details later. Meanwhile you could look up the Battle Art Fair website www.battlefineartfair.co.uk 

18Aug10 Layout, Canada Tower, Canary Wharf

I am making final preparations for an exhibition of 22 of my new original paintings at Canary Wharf next week. It starts on Tuesday 24th Aug until 4th Sept 2010. This is a thumbnail showing the poster artwork.

The venue is Frontispiece The Gallery in the shopping mall which runs right under Canada Tower. My exhibition is smack in the middle, right under the apex of the tower, but underground! We are showing the paintings in a big glass display unit next to Frontispiece The Gallery.

Here we are laying out the collection on the living room floor to sort out what goes where.

And another view of the same layout.
All the new paintings will be available as prints as well.

10 August 2010 Chateau de Bosmelet, Normandy, France.

The Fiveways Artists  Group from Brighton England are exhibiting a collection of original paintings, prints, ceramics, and sculpture, in a famous 17th century chateau in northern France. 
Chateau de Bosmelet
The Chateau de Bosmelet is noted for the 'Rainbow Potager'. Exhibits from the potager won a Gold Medal at the 2000 Chelsea Flower Show. Go on, admit it, you don’t know what a potager is. Well I didn’t anyway.  A potager is a garden where flowers and vegetables are planted together. The Chateau has two acres of potager, looking like a super sized rainbow coloured allotment, which attracts a steady trickle of enthusiasts. This month the walled garden is enhanced by Fiveways Artists sculpture and sculptural ceramics, while the great reception rooms in the Chateau are adorned with our paintings.
Fran Doherty [Fiveways artist] in the potager

The artists have each agreed to come over the English Channel to share invigilation of the exhibition. For three days it is the turn of my wife Fran Slade and I. So, after exploring the garden we read, paint, sketch, take photos, talk to ourselves, listen to the birds, read a bit more, and write diaries, as invigilators do. Fran said yesterday, “...this is a glorious place to be bored in, or study the meaning of existence”. We are not troubled by too many visitors. Yesterday in sunshine there were 18, today we have rain. The Baron de Bosmelet himself sits in small entry chapel across the lawns by the car park. He collects a seven Euro entry fee and sells vegetables from the potager.
Sweet chestnut tree, age 430.
Yesterday I painted a small picture in the grounds close to the Chateau. My subject was a huge 430 year old sweet chestnut tree. And thereby hangs a tale. Are you sitting comfortably? My earliest childhood recollection is that someone was trying to kill me. In fact my 68 year old memory is that my mother and other grown-ups were looking skyward in alarm at a doodlebug. I heard one of them say, “ ...it is alright while we can hear the engines. When it stops it means that it will crash and we have thirty seconds to take cover in the bomb shelters.”  The first doodlebug was followed over eons of infant-memory-time by many more doodlebugs. They had a distinctive drone, which did occasionally stop overhead.  We did indeed run to the bomb shelter and wait for the crunching thud of the deadly V1 flying bomb detonation.

Colin Ruffell age 71
And yesterday, under the shade of a very old chestnut tree, I saw where the doodlebugs came from. The Germans built V1 launch pads across Normandy. One was here in the grounds of the Chateau. The RAF learned about this site and 103 others, and bombed them, thus preventing Hitler from his master plan which was to send sixty thousand [60,000] doodlebugs across the Channel to London. The Chateau launch pad and bunker were targeted 28 times, with two bombs hitting the 400 year old house amidships.  2400 doodlebugs actually landed in the Kent, nearly half the 5000 that landed in total in the UK. Hitler killed many English children in ‘bomb alley’ where we lived. But he missed me. And the RAF failed to hit the command bunker hidden beneath the ancient chestnut tree, so the tree and I survived.