Monday, 25 August 2014


'White Orchid' - A Work In Progress by Ruth Kelly.

I have no idea where this one is taking me but I'll keep working it until I know when I've got there!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

More Silhouette Art by Ruth.

Here's another taster from my Silhouette Art series, I hope you like them.  Keep an eye out for the boys ones coming soon.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Silhouette Art

Introducing my next project; 'Silhouette Art' by Ruth.
It's a quick look at a series of children and teenage wall art that I'm working on.  The series will depict kids hobbies and interests in silhouette form...for your little girl who loves ballet...your sister who always has her head stuck in a book...your son who lives for his footie...your gorgeous niece who loves to ride her favourite pony...your little nephew who loves his dog and that son of yours who's always glued to his computer!

So keep watching!

Silhouette Art by Ruth - 8"x 8" Acrylic on box canvas

Sunday, 18 May 2014


Here's one I've recently finished for my baby dancer!
My daughter loves to dance and she chose the subject and colours for this painting herself.

Pointe Shoes by Ruth Kelly,
Pointe Shoes by Ruth Kelly

It's a little 6" x 6" x 1.5" on box canvas, for her bedroom wall and I plan to paint another matching one for her but I want to get cracking on one I've been itching to get to for some time first.  All will be revealed soon!

Monday, 21 April 2014


I'm stepping back into 'Family Tree' mode again for a bit.  My daughter says I have some very interesting people and stories in my family history and I have to agree.  I've been doing a bit of research along Fergus O'Ryan's line because of an exciting piece of information passed on to me by my second cousin...Thanks Ted!  Apparently Fergus lost a brother during the war and here's how the story goes....

When hostilities broke out during World War II and Ireland had declared its neutrality during the early years of 1941, the Irish Government realised that they needed to become more independent and self-sufficient because most of its food requirements were being carried aboard allied vessels.  Se├ín Lamass, Minister of supplies at the time (a veteran of the 1916 Rising, the War Of Independence and the Civil War and who later served as Taoiseach) felt that the creation of an Irish merchantile marine, neutral and with no military aims, was necessary.  This decision was followed by the formation of an Irish state-owned deep sea shipping company, ‘Irish Shipping Limited’.   The only problem was…it had no ships!

Ships were a scarce resource during the early years of World War II and Irish Shipping Limited’s management in their endeavour to acquire some, took whatever they could get their hands on.  Their first acquisition was the Irish Poplar, which they acquired from Spain after being abandoned following an attack by a German aircraft in the Bay of Biscay.  Of Greek origin and formerly named Vassilious Destounis, it was towed into the Spanish port of Aviles by fishermen.  Irish Shipping purchased it shortly afterwards.

Their second acquisition was the Irish Pine.  Formerly called the West Hematite, it was built for the United States Maritime Commission in 1919. The ship ran aground in 1923 and by 1933 it was passed to the United States Shipping Board.  It was laid up for a time after the banning of American ships from the European war zone in 1940 and was later withdrawn from service and placed in the reserve fleet.  In 1941, Irish Shipping Limited chartered the West Hematite for £3,251 a month and renamed it, The Irish Pine.

The Irish Pine 1941,
The Irish Pine 1941

Whilst on passage from Halifax to Limerick in August 1942, the Irish Pine rescued members of the crew of a British motor vessel called the Richmond Castle which had been torpedoed off the south coast of Ireland.  A similar fate was awaiting the Irish Pine when in October 1942, it sailed from Dublin to Tampa, Florida to load a cargo of phosphate rock.  The ship was scheduled to call at Boston to have its tanks overhauled.  On Nov  13th, the master of the Irish Pine sent a wireless message forward to Boston to advise their arrival would be on Nov 16th.  It was to be the final communication received from the vessel.  When no further news of the ship was confirmed, the company’s directors decided in Dec that the ship should be presumed lost and that all next-of-kin should be informed.  The true fate of the Irish Pine was not uncovered for a further 35 years, by a researcher.  At the end of the war, German submarine diaries were captured by British forces.  The records showed that the Irish Pine was sunk on Nov 16th, 1942 when it was struck by a torpedo fired by German submarine U-608.  It was followed for 8 hours in the rain and snowfall.  At no time do the records show that its neutrality markings were seen, eventhough clearly identified as such with EIRE and the Irish Green, White and Gold colours.  It was recorded that ‘A lifeboat with a very bright light was lowered’  but unfortunately the ship sank within 3 minutes of being hit.  All of its 33 crew members were lost in the tragedy and no wreckage or bodies were ever found….including my third cousin and Fergus O’Ryan’s brother Sean,  age 22 – Merchant Navy/Steam Merchant/Fireman.

The Irish Pine by Kenneth King,
The Irish Pine by Kenneth King

In 1945, the President of Ireland, Eamon deValera in a speech to the nation said 
“To the men of our Merchantile Marine who faced all the perils of the ocean to bring us essential supplies, the nation is profoundly grateful”

M.V. Munster sunk in the Irish Sea - Feb 1940 – 4 injured/1 died later.
Leukos sunk by gunfire in NW Tory Island – Mar 1940 – 11 dead.
S.S. City Of Limerick sunk by U-boat in the Nth.Atlantic  - Jul 1940 – 2 dead.
S.S. Meath sunk in the Irish Sea – Aug 1940 – 1 dead.
S.S. Luimneach sunk by submarine gunfire in Nth.Atlantic – Sept 1940 – all 18 survived.
S.S. Kerryhead sunk by aircraft bombs off Cape Clear – Oct 1940 – 12 dead.
S.S. Ardmore sunk off the South coast of Ireland – Nov 1940 – 24 dead.
Lighthouse Tender Isolda sunk by aircraft off the Waterford coast – Dec 1940 – 6 dead.
M.V. Innisfallen sunk off Liverpool – Dec 1940 – 4 dead.
S.S. St Fintan sunk in the Irish Sea – Mar 1941 – 4 dead.
S.S. Clonlara sunk in the Nth. Atlantic – Aug 1941 – 11 dead.
S.S. City Of Waterford sunk in a collision in the Nth.Atlantic  - Sept 1941 – 5 dead.
S.S. City Of Bremen sunk by aircraft in the Bay of Biscay – Jun 1942 – 11 dead.
S.S. Irish Pine torpedoed and sunk in the Nth.Atlantic  - Nov 1942 – 33 dead.
S.S. Kyleclare torpedoed in the Nth.Atlantic – Feb 1943 – 18 dead.
S.S. Irish Oak sunk by U-boat in Nth.Atlantic – May 1943 – all 33 survived.
Schooner Cymric missing on passage to Lisbon – Mar 1944 – 11 dead.
F-Vessel Naomh Garbhan sunk off Waterford coast – May 1945 – 3 dead.

Friday, 14 March 2014


Alleluia! I'm finished 'Wedded Bliss' and I couldn't be more pleased and delighted with the way it turned out. There was so much detail in it that it nearly did my nut!  The curtain folds and tassels, the lace on the bodice of the dress, the intricate design on the headboard and bedspread, trying to capture the implied light coming through a window from the right, the shadows, the shading, I thought I'd never be finished.  But I love it so much that I hate the thoughts of handing it over.  It's like giving up my child for adoption!!

Wedded Bliss by Ruth Kelly,
'Wedded Bliss', 16" x 20", Acrylic on Canvas

I've chosen a 3" wide, smooth, satiny black finish, natural wood frame with a curvy crown profile to finish it off (thank you and I must say, it is perfect for my painting.  What do you think?
I think I might use the same frame for my 'Turmoil' as well when I'm ready to frame it.  There it is, sitting pretty in the background...still drying and waiting to be varnished and framed, (damn oil paints take forever to dry, especially the colour black, believe it or not). 

Wedded Bliss by Ruth Kelly, Black Satin Frame,

I tried to capture a close-up image of it so you could see some of the detail.

Wedded Bliss by Ruth Kelly, Close-up,

I really hope that the couple who commissioned it are happy with it...I'm sending it to them with a wish for eternal Wedded Bliss!

Thursday, 13 February 2014


...still working on 'Wedded Bliss'.  I hope this young couple's marriage lasts as long as it's taking me to finish this painting; a very, very, very long time!
I've been busy, busy, busy and haven't had the time to dedicate to it, but I'm back on track now and the young lovers are emerging at last, albeit slowly.  So here's a quick update on progress and I shouldn't be too long more finishing it.  Keep watching!

'Wedded Bliss' - A work in progress by Ruth Kelly

Saturday, 14 December 2013


Here's my latest 'Sneaky Peak'.
A commissioned work; two newlyweds sharing a kiss and a toast to wedded bliss!  

Bride and Groom relaxing on the matrimonial bed and enjoying a glass of champagne following their marriage.

Sooo many tassels and folds in this one and along with the light and shadow to try to capture, it's proving a real challenge so far but at the same time I'm enjoying painting it. I've just started work on the bedspread which is proving equally challenging because of the abstract pattern; almost like a painting in itself.  I'm also looking forward to tackling the bride's dress, with its intricate lace and detailing. Yep, this one is going to take some time to finish.  I'll keep you posted!

Monday, 18 November 2013


Here's something I finished recently for the Kiddies.
I decided to paint it while I was waiting for 'Turmoil' to dry because I had been asked by a few people to create some children's wall art, so this is No.1.  
I call it 'Little Ballerina' and am going to call the series 'Ruthie' (my nickname when I was a kid).  It'll be my little 'by the way' project in between the serious stuff.  
Keep watching for No.2...all suggestions welcome!

Little Ballerina by Ruth Kelly
Acrylic on box canvas. 

Little Ballerina by Ruth Kelly

Wednesday, 4 September 2013


Turmoil by Ruth Kelly
(Oil on canvas board - 16"x12")

Turmoil by Ruth Kelly,, Purple Seascape, Oil painting

Finally my first painting in oils is finished but believe it or not, will take the next 6 months or so to dry properly before I can varnish it.  I'm still not sure about painting with oils. I do think the result is a softer, more dreamy painting but the waiting game is so frustrating!

And now for the profound insight beneath the external;

 ...the meaning behind my composition.

Like many others, my life has been strewn with numerous tumultuous events throughout the years.  Crisis and turbulence which at the time I struggled to overcome and was imprisoned in my sadness. On many occasions I would distance myself from my torment with a visit to somewhere solitary where I could lament and wallow in my despair and endulge in the pleasure of being sad. Thankfully I realised how gratuitous my melancholy was and managed to get through every storm and come out stronger the other side.
This painting represents the inner turmoil I often faced and the places I would retreat to during those times of melancholy.  The tree that stands between the girl and the turbulent sea represents the family I've been blessed with who are the reason for the life of peace, calm and contentment I have now...until someone throws the next lemon I suppose! haha! ...but I guess next time, I'll just duck!

The Optimist:

    "Life handed him a lemon,
    As Life sometimes will do.
    His friends looked on in pity,
    Assuming he was through.
    They came upon him later,
    Reclining in the shade
    In calm contentment, drinking
    A glass of lemonade."

And the reason I chose the colour Purple?

  • because it is believed to uplift and calm the mind and apparently it also encourages creativity.
  • Purple embodies the balance of red’s stimulation and blue’s calm.
  • Leonardo da Vinci believed that the power of meditation increases ten times when done in a purple light, as in the purple light of stained glass.
  • 'Lay it out in lavender' is a  popular saying meaning 'very cool, relaxed, and in control'.  The scent of Lavender is said to be stress reducing.
  • Purple is considered a cool color in landscape design. Its appearance has a calming effect in a garden.

Sunday, 28 July 2013


I've decided to try my hand at Oil painting as opposed to the Acrylic paints that I normally use.  I like the 'soft' effect that can be achieved with oils.  They take much longer to dry than acrylics which allows you more time for blending but on the other hand, it's a pain in the ass waiting for it to dry before you can go back in to work on another layer.  I'm not sure yet which I prefer.  I'm finding the oils a bit frustrating because of the long drying time.  Now I know why oil painters have several works going on at the same time.  I guess I might start work on an acrylic piece as well while I'm waiting for the oil to dry.  

Anyway, here's a look at the progression on the oil piece that I'm working on.  I've chosen to use a limited colour palette of black, purple and white, just to see what I could do with it.  It will be a silhouette seascape when it's finished, just something I thought might be a little different to try.  I hope it works out.

Oil on canvas board - Work In Progress

Friday, 7 June 2013

3..2..1...TAKE OFF!

 This is a small 10" x 8" acrylic painting of my now 16 year old son's first pair of shoes. I found them while doing a clear out at the weekend and decided to paint them before I throw them out. Now they're immortalised forever!

I called it '3..2..1...TAKE OFF' as a reference to the little embroidered space rocket on the fronts of them and the implication of my son's first 'take off' in his new shoes. 

I must try to find my daughter's first shoes and paint them too. I enjoyed painting these so much that I may paint a whole series of baby's this space!

3..2..1...Take Off!  by Ruth Kelly


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Blue Rose

I've finished the 'Blue Rose' at long last. I've been struggling to find the time to get down to finishing it over the last few weeks and although I had plans to add a bit more to the background, I've decided to call it quits and hand it over to the Ennis Art Bomb Project.

Blue Rose by Ruth Kelly,
'Blue Rose' by Ruth Kelly

I used my lovely gold paint again for the background which was difficult to photograph because of its shiny finish and there are hints of floating leaves in there too which don't show up either but you get the idea.

Why did I choose a blue Rose as a subject?  Well, a natural blue Rose doesn't exist in reality and because of this, for some they have come to symbolise mystery and longing to attain the impossible.  Some cultures believe that the holder of a blue Rose will have all his or her wishes granted.  So I painted it in the hope that whomever becomes the owner of my Blue Rose will have all their wishes come true!

'Blue Rose' Abstract acrylic on box canvas.

Sunday, 14 April 2013


My latest piece is something I'm working on for the Ennis Art Bomb Project, an event due to take place during the Ennis Street Festival on 5th, 6th & 7th of July to promote Art & Crafts within and around Ennis, Co.Clare, Ireland.  The intent is to share free Art & Crafts with the public in order to develop a closer relationship between the community and art within Ennis and the surrounding areas and also to create a visual impact in Ennis during the festival.
The concept is brilliant, with various locations around Ennis town being 'bombed' with paintings, sketches, poetry, sculptures, jewellery and lots of other great pieces, which will be free to take by whomever is lucky enough to happen upon them!

Here's some items from a previous bombing.

So if you find yourself in Ennis, Co.Clare during the Ennis Street Festival, keep an eye out for a fantastic free piece of art!

Below painting is the beginnings of what will be my donation to the Art Bomb Project when it's finished.  I'm calling it 'Blue Rose' (for obvious reasons) and my plan is to achieve a glittery, shimmery effect on the rose, all going well.  It's my attempt at something abstract-ish which is something I don't usually do.  At the moment, the background includes hints of 'barely there' leaves floating around and I hope to add some rose buds in the same way but you'd never know, as I go on I might add something completely different.  I'm not sure yet where it's taking me, we'll see.

'Blue Rose' - started
'Blue Rose' - making progress

'Blue Rose' - Work In Progress

My daughter and I will be donating some pieces of jewellery from Jayne's Jewels Online too.  We have a little business making and selling fashion jewellery for teenagers so if you're doing nothing on July 5-7th, head to Ennis and have a scout around, you might end up the owner of my 'Blue Rose' or some free Jayne's Jewels!

Thursday, 14 March 2013


Here it is...'Golden Tide'.
I didn't have any profound inspiration for this one I'm afraid, other than a desire to use my new Gold paint.  I couldn't get it to photograph very well in the frame either; the background is much darker in reality but my camera kept trying to lighten it (I know, a workman always blames his tools) and I used a greeny turquoise hue on the tide which isn't showing up in the photo at all.  Anyway, I hope you like it.

Golden Tide by Ruth Kelly

Friday, 22 February 2013


Here's a quick peak at what I'm working on at the moment. I bought myself a new gold paint for a treat (a toss up between that and a bottle of wine, paint won but went back for the wine too!...and believe it or not, the paint was more expensive than the bottle of wine.) I wanted to try it out so this should be a golden nightime beach view when it's finished, I hope...if I can get the shine right on the moon and the reflections. Hope to have it finished soon so check in to see it in a few days, unless it all goes t*ts up!


Thursday, 31 January 2013


I've been trying to concentrate on doing a bit more painting lately, so the writing is on hold for a bit and I'm going to work on a few new pieces over the next few weeks. I have too many on my Paint List and I want to knock a few off if I can.

So this time, I decided to paint a little something in time for Valentine's Day!

I'm afraid I have a predilection towards all things drippy and sappy at times and this is one of those times.
This one I call 'Lotsa Love Behind The Red Door', and yes, I have a red front door! ...and this is where I'll end my spiel at a risk of sounding schmaltzy.


Lotsa Love Behind The Red Door by Ruth Kelly

Tuesday, 1 January 2013


Baby Boy by Ruth Kelly, Acrylic portrait,

I've finally finished 'Baby Boy'or 'Baby Blue'...not sure what to call it yet.

It's a portrait based on a photo of my son, asleep in the crook of his daddy's arm in the corner of the couch. He's fifteen now and almost as tall as his dad so I wanted to paint something to remind me of when he was a small fry.

I chose to paint it in black & white although it was a color photo but I introduced some colour in the blue blanket and on his lips. I just wanted to try something different to see what it might turn out like. I'm not sure if I like the colour splash effect or not, what do you think? 

Friday, 21 December 2012


Do you want to know what kind of reading material resides on Bill Gates' bedside locker? Do you want to have a sneaky look inside the mind of one of the most compelling men of the 21st century? Do you want to peruse through a list of the top ten books that made him think in 2012? Then here you go...

Steve Pinker The Better Angels Of Our Nature, Bill Gates top 10 books 2012,
1. The Better Angels Of Our Nature:   
     Why Violence Has Declined  
        by Steven Pinker

A controversial history of violence.
Faced with a ceaseless stream of news about war, crime and terrorism one would think we lived in the most violent age ever seen but Steven Pinker shows that just the opposite is true.

Deng Xiaoping by Ezra Vogel, Bill Gates top 10 books 2012,
2. Deng Xiaoping  
          by Ezra Vogel 
Deng Xiaoping was a politician and reformist leader of the communist party of China and perhaps no-one in the 20th century had a greater long-term impact on world history. Ezra Vogel disentangles the many contradictions embodied in the life and legacy of China's boldest strategist.

The Quest by Daniel Yergin, Bill Gates Top 10 Books 2012,
3. The Quest  
          by Daniel Yergin

A gripping account of the quest for the energy that our world needs, Yergin shows us how energy is an engine of global, political and economic change.

Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer, Bill Gates Top 10 Books 2012,
4. Moonwalking with Einstein 
     by Joshua Foer

A revelatory exploration of the vast hidden impact of memory on every aspect of our lives. In every way that matters, we are the sum of our memories.

Behind The Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo, Bill Gates Top 10 Books 2012,
5. Behind The Beautiful 
     Forevers:Life,Death and Hope in a
     Mumbai Undercity
        by Katherine Boo
From Pulitzer prizewinner, Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative non-fiction telling the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving towards a better life in one of the 21st century's great unequal cities.  

       One Billion Hungry by Gordon Conway, Bill Gates Top 10 Books 2012,
6. One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed The
         by Gordon Conway

Hunger is a daily reality for one billion people. Sir Gordon Conway explains the many interrelated issues critical to our global food supply from the science of agricultural advances to the politics of food security.

A World Class Education by Vivien Stewart, Bill Gates Top 10 Books 2012,
7. A World-Class Education 
       by Vivien Stewart

Designed to promote conversation about how to educate students for a rapidly changing, innovation-based world. The book focuses on understanding what the world's best school systems are doing right for the purpose of identifying what U.S. schools at the national,state and local level might do differently and better.

Academically Adrift by Richard Arum & Josipa Roksa, Bill Gates Top 10 Books 2012,
8. Academically Adrift 
       by Richard Arum & Josipa Roksa

More and more students go to college every year. Almost everyone strives to go but almost no-one asks the fundamental question posed by Academically Adrift; are undergraduates really learning anything once they get there?

This Time Is Different by Carmen Reinhart & Kenneth Rogoff, Bill Gates Top 10 Books 2012,
9. This Time is Different: Eight Centuries
       of Financial Folly 
       by Carmen Reinhart & Kenneth Rogoff 

A comprehensive look at the varieties of financial crises. The book guides us through eight astonishing centuries of government defaults,banking panics and inflationary spikes.

The City That Became Safe by Franklin Zimring, Bill Gates Top 10 Books 2012,
10. The City That Became Safe: New
         York's Lessons for Urban Crime and
       its Control 
           by Franklin Zimring

A comprehensive investigation into New York City's falling crime rates. An eighty percent drop over nineteen years.

Did you know that Bill Gates, as well as being an entrepreneur, software executive, philanthropist, one of the world's richest men and chairman and founder of Microsoft can also boast of being a published author. Below is a peek at his books.

The Road Ahead by Bill Gates,

The Road Ahead
by Bill Gates

A bird's-eye view of the undiscovered territory on the information highway.

Business @ The Speed of Thought by Bill Gates,

Business @ The Speed of Thought 

by Bill Gates 

Bill Gates discusses how technology can help run businesses better today and how it will transform the nature of business in the near future.