The Others

Meet the Others: Ruth Mulvie

The Game Changers. The Rule Breakers. The Innovators. Discover some of the fantastic emerging talent showcasing their work at The Other Art Fair.

Ruth Mulvie is a contemporary fine artist, known for her vivid palette and for the delightfully unexpected detail in her paintings.

“I usually paint with oils and I dedicate a lot of time to the process of simply mixing and combining colours, hence the highly unique and distinctive palette you can see in my work. Things I love include classic beach scenes, 50’s America, vintage fashion, dancing girls, disco queens, dog walkers and more – a vast and varied array of subject matter I unite under the broad theme of ‘pleasure’.” says Ruth.

Q&A with the Artist

Tell us about who you are and what you do. What is your background?

My name is Ruth Mulvie, and I am a painter and color-obsessed mum of two amazing boys. I live with my family beside the sea on the South coast of the UK and I work from my home studio which overlooks the sea and the south downs.

I studied painting at Glasgow School of Art, and I also spent some time in Paris at Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts.

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?

I would say that the key thing that unites all of my work is an exploration of colour, and I do this through painting particular places that I draw inspiration from. These places are sometimes real, sometimes imagined but linked and joined by water, often pools or seasides,  or by holidays, escapes or hedonism, paradise and utopia.

I like places that are specifically created for pleasure, so all fairgrounds, theme parks, holiday resorts, palaces, luxe villas, all of that appeals to me. I populate my scenes with characters, objects and animals that I find in old postcards, pictures, or I stage. I collect these fragments and motifs and repurpose them in my own images to create a particular space part real, part imagined. The wilder and more colourful the better.


How did you first get interested in your medium and what draws you to it specifically?

I have always painted since I was a kid, often using watercolours. Gradually my understanding of colour progressed and I think the way I see things has always been in bright colours. I’m less interested in natural authentic hues and shades and like my colours to fight play compliments and bounce around the canvas.

When I was at art school I painted purely using oil colour and I liked to be able to mix and move it around, but I have always applied the paint in a particular rhythm to the canvas. Now I use acrylic to create my underpainting and apply the oil on top. They say necessity is the mother of all invention – for me using acrylic helps with time but also heightens the vibrancy of the colour.

How has your style and practice changed over the years?

My style has definitely progressed throughout the years. I’ve just finished reading Austin Kleon’s “Steal Like An Artist”. I think all artists learn by looking at and learning from other artists but eventually we come to a place when we are making our best work when we take what we have learnt and put it together in our own and new unique way.


Can you walk us through your process? How long do you spend on one work? How do you know when it’s finished?

The process……arrrrrr !! Well it always starts with cleaning my house and doing a bunch of unimportant jobs that I put in the way of settling down and getting on with the work. When the house is spotless and I really have no choice about it I start to plan my new works. I try and plan about  4-6 at a time. I take a theme and work within that. I have so many things I want to and could paint but I find if I limited  myself I work better within parameters, and hopefully the groups of paintings makes more sense that way. I usually have three or four on the go at the same time in various stages of completion. They are all pretty large and I like the paint to dry in between and add more layers. I usually work across a painting in maybe four or five fairly long sessions.

Overall it takes me a few months to get a new group of work done, but quite  a lot of thinking time before I do the actual painting! I know when they are finished because it feels right and I’ve made the painting balance to my liking. Not all of my paintings make it this far. Those I don’t finish remain in the studio turned to the wall for me to figure out what I need to do to finish them. Sometimes this can be the hardest part of all of making a painting, sometimes the easiest!


What series or project are you working on next?

I’m working on a  super exciting group of paintings based on a letter between media Mogul William Hearst and his letters to Julia Morgan, California’ s most famous female architect. The paintings are fictional scenes, inspired by the notes and ideas in the letters.

What is the best advice given to you as an artist?

Make good work.

Shop artwork by Ruth and other trailblazing artists at The Other Art Fair’s Online Studios.


Introducing The Other Art Fair Online Studios, a new online platform offering art lovers around the world access to over 800 Fair artists. The Online Studios will keep our community feeling inspired, engaged, and continue to spread joy through art.