the art of ruddell



emerging . . .
the morning sun begins to wash through Yosemite Valley picking out the slender Bridalveil Falls:

some thoughts on the new season:

we need to let the old season go
we need to step out in faith, for the path ahead may only be partly visible at the moment
un-expected things await in a landscape that will feel familiar and yet will be breathtakingly new

" . . . like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain . . . "

the exchange . . .

in February 1962 U2 spy-plane pilot Gary Powers was exchanged for Soviet spy Rudolph Ivanovich Abel at Berlin's Glienicker Bridge

moving from captivity to freedom
moving from limitations to possibilities
moving from black and white to colour

do you need to exchange::

a hope for every despair
a strength for every weakness
a healing for every regret
a peace for every turmoil
an ocean for every thirst
a supply for every lack

I reach to you the one who makes the blind eyes see
who breaks the chains of sickness with authority
restoring what was broken
so it may fly again . . Lara Martin


you know what to do

crossing into freedom . . .

I first crossed into the East (that was) beneath the Brandenburg Gate at midnight on 3rd November 1992. The temperature was below freezing and there was hardly a soul about as I pretended to be a character out of a Len Deighton thriller!! But despite the low temperatures the cold war was a thing of the past: the wall had been broken down.

In the cold war of the soul the wall has also been broken down . . . and we get to choose:

wisdom over and above knowledge
integrity over expediency
freedom over captivity

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere . . . james the apostle

Are you walking in freedom?

It is time to set down those heavy weights that are no longer yours to carry!

the journey . . .

just another Sunday afternoon, pulling out of the port . .

"Soon we'll be away from here
step on the gas and wipe that tear away
One sweet dream
came true
today" . . . Lennon/ McCartney

How is it on your journey?

the goal is not to finish the journey, but to savour each moment . . Caroline Hammond

the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. David the psalmist


"we have traded off a lot of the feelings of contentment that you might feel when you get a little way into adulthood, for . . . wings, for freedom: we're free; if tomorrow we want to take off over that hill, we can go, we can do it . . . "

Paul Cruise: member of the 1977 National Geographic Society expedition The Yukon Passage


I am refreshed in the journey . . the constantly changing landscape, the different time zones, the sense of movement, the fresh air, the newness around each corner. I like to travel slow, and see the gradual change of season, of weather and culture . . I like to feel the temperature go down as we travel north . . to see the snow arrive and the world become still and magical . . . .


I think there is something romantic about a journey, whether it be sat alone on a bus heading to a town 3 hours away, or a month long trip down the coast: As soon as you embark you feel a new wave of possibility; your mind wanders to remembered movie scenes and travel posts, and you can project these onto your own journey, with the potential of going toward something greater . . something unknown . .

Hannah Ruddell



emerging . . .

"whoever created all this had lots of fun and endless resources ". . Thor Heyerdahl on Fatu Hiva

"I get new ideas as I ride the metro, walk the Saint Lawrence seaway, move amongst the buildings and people; fresh riffs, different melody lines, light and shade . . . so I switch on the keyboard and begin" . . Anomalie, explaining his creative process at Nexus-ICA

the former days, which sometimes moved at caterpillar pace, are passed, and I am now flying amongst creation, stunned by the colours and amazed by the light which is bursting out all around . .

when I need to get home you're my guiding light . . Foy Vance

hunting . . .

"The recent rain is the cause of many of the luxuriant fresh smells among the hanging vines, dead bamboo; hidden flowers and dense green tradução.

It is two hours since we left the treacherously slippy estrada and parked the truck among the bushes, before heading straight into the forest:

Antonio is in front, crouching as he goes, rifle in hand, Jack next, checking the path, buffer next carrying the bins and me last with camera and tape recorder."


" My eyes have grown accustomed to the many shades of green, the variety of trees and bushes; all picked out, in varying intensity by the sun, depending on how dense the tree canopy is high overhead.

Crickets squeak continuously but a multitude of other noises can be heard . . shrieking birds, hooting sounds that echo through the trees, trills, things that vibrate like tiny motors, all set against the backdrop of a thousand bird-songs!"

from the ruddell travel journal . . . October 1977

a job that's worth doing . . .


I saw World Champion Denny Hulme win the F1 race at Silverstone in the new McLaren M7A 49 years ago

I began research into the best angle to paint the M7A 10 years ago

I started painting the M7A at the Westwood art group last week

I finished the M7A painting 10 minutes ago

Some things take time

a job that's worth doing is worth doing well . . .

time for reflection . . . . . .


time for reflection . . or . . don't forget to recount all his blessings


time to let the light shine through . . or . . time to share what's in your heart

the time for pretence and procrastination has past . . you need to start pursuing what's in your heart!!

in the jungle . . .


in the jungle things can get clogged up
in the jungle the forest closes in around me
in the jungle the humidity can rise to extreme levels

in the jungle my brain feels like it's becoming saturated
in the jungle there is no clear path forward, just obstacles and possible danger . . .



in the desert there is space

in the desert there is silence

in the desert there is dry, clear air
in the desert there is time . . .

in the desert I can see great distances


“Stop dwelling on past events
and brooding over days gone by
I am about to do something new
this moment it will unfold

even through the wilderness I shall make a way

and paths in the barren desert
for I shall provide water in the wilderness
and rivers in the barren desert” (Isaiah 43:18-19)


Faith . . .


If you want to walk on water, you've got to get out of the boat . . . John Ortberg

Faith is the confidence of what you hope for, and the assurance of what you cannot see . . the apostle

Relinquish your attachment to the known, step into the field of the unknown and you will step into the place of all possibilities . . Deepak Chopra

for those who dream

"you don't need eyes to see . . you need vision" Maxi Jazz

individuals have dreams
corporations rarely have dreams

animals don’t have dreams
a tree may live for a 1000 years but it never aspires to be anything other than a tree …

we have all been warned about crossing bridges before we get to them, but the prize belongs to those who cross bridges in their minds ahead of everybody else

"the man who sees no vision, will undertake no great enterprise" . . Woodrow Wilson

remember to fan into flame the gift of God which is in you
be assured that He who has begun a work in you will complete it

your vision. . though it be delayed, wait for it, it will surely come

prayer on the beach:

far be it from me not to believe
even when my eyes can't see

and this mountain that's in front of me
will be thrown into the midst of the sea

so let go my soul, and trust in him
the winds and waves still know his name

it is well, it is well
it is well, with my soul.

image source: Callaghan
painting: Ruddell
song lyrics: Riddle/Spafford

release . . .

time out
escape the bounds
leave the white cliffs behind
there is a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them
there is a time to plant and a time to uproot

blow the cobwebs away
free the mind

move out of earshot
let it go


brace yourself, breathe deep and head into the wind
walk off the fatigue

be assured that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it . . . the apostle

Quintessentially . . .

my morning walk is quintessentially English: half timbered cottages, empty lanes and blue skies . . . .

"You were made for a lifetime of hope" . . Adair Richards

"As your days, so shall your strength be . ." Deut 33:25

new notes

whether a freshly stumbled on mountain stream, a new jazz groove at Nexus-ICA or a Gibson V-8 on the Mulsanne straight, new notes speak into previously untouched areas of our souls to bring refreshment, joy and healing

"new sounds provide a place for your left and right brain to unwind at the end of day." . . John Schaefer

are you listening for new notes today?

fresh flowers



the light was amazing, the sky was clear and the morning colours rivalled even the greatest artist's palette

It is this sense of the newness of something that gives us life, that feeds our soul in a world that is worn out with sameness and staleness

where is your new life coming from today?

personal pictures



put down a marker, create memories and construct memorials by creating personal pictures; pictures that will tell your story and document the journey you are on . . .

this was late afternoon on a freezing November day catching the last of the sunlight through the trees, I was working in pencil, my daughter was working in pastels: our hands were beginning to freeze

"these are the good old days . . just wait and see"

"praise the Lord O my soul, my inmost being, and don't forget his benefits" Psalm 103

what kind of air are you breathing?

are you suffocating?
do you feel stifled?
hemmed in?



I sit on the wall by your door
I've knocked 3 times and I'll knock 3 more
won't you come outside with me
and breathe the air
I've given you to breathe

and I know that inside you are cold
choking on air that is stale and old . . .
won't you come outside with me
and breathe the air
I've given you to breathe ( Roger Mason . . from Painting Different Pictures )



when I stepped outside my senses were almost overwhelmed: fresh air poured into my lungs, and the fragrance of the morning seemed to bring healing to my bones!!

" . . . like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain . . . "

"Petrichor" (n) the pleasant, earthy smell, when rain falls on dry soil

I remember that through all chaos or problems, there is a solution. So I separate myself for just a moment, whether that means zoning everyone out or taking a little walk to get some fresh air. I take this time to clear my head, breathe and reassess the problem and how I'm feeling. . . Allison Holker

paintings in the Canyon



to follow your heart, pursue your calling, or to realise your dream will often involve setting out on unfamiliar paths and even passing through deep canyons.

there may be uncertainty, even danger, but also fulfillment, beauty and purpose reborn.

signs warn a traveller on the Bright Angel Trail that they may encounter: dehydration, sudden rainstorms, flash flooding, loose footing, rockfall, encounters with wildlife and extreme heat....

but to descend into the Grand Canyon is to enter a different world: a world of stunning rock formations, spectacular spectrums of colour, sheer cliff faces and silent beauty.


in 1869 John Wesley Powell, the first man to map the Grand Canyon (who also named it), wrote in his journal:

" We are ready to start our way down into the great unknown ... we are three quarters of a mile in the depths of the earth and the great river shrinks into insignificance as it dashes its angry waves against the walls and cliffs that rise to the world above ... We have an unknown river to explore, and an unknown distance to travel."

the thing I remember about painting Cape Royal that evening was the stillness . . a couple of dozen people had made the long journey through the forest to get to this isolated look out point on the North Rim, but nobody spoke; each person was in some way lost in their own thoughts in the face of nature's spectacular sunset symphony

where the river flows



stop scratching around in the dry ground of the wilderness

it is wearing you out!

get yourself down to the refreshing waters

"where the river flows everything will live" - the prophet Ezekiel

" . . . he saw that the water continually flowed and flowed and yet it was always there; it was always the same and yet every moment it was new" - Hermann Hesse



stop living at 100 m.p.h. dashing from pillar to post

give yourself a day off . .

or a week, or three months . .

" we work . . . out of rest." - David Hammond

you know it makes sense

when . . .

when you can't see the wood for the trees
when you don't know who to turn to
when you need a way out

here's a clue:

light . . . to show the way
word . . . to reveal The One
door . . . open and start afresh

soaking . . .

"the angels were on the doors that evening. . .
the spirits of discouragement were barred from entering. . .

regrets, memories and problems were welcome, and were then washed in the immense ocean of peace. . .

the warm blanket of acceptance brought healing to the darkest corners ". . . from the Westwood half night of prayer

"we overlay these buildings with the memories of what went on in them. This creates a very powerful idea about a place. Buildings are about people, and place and time, they're about use, and they're about context" . . . Kevin McCloud

pools of silence . . .

if we are to witness to Christ in today’s non-stop world, where there are constant demands on our whole person, we need silence . . .
pools of silence are a state of mind and heart, and can be found in the midst of the city . .

these small solitudes are often right behind a door we can open,
or a corner where we can stop to look at a tree,

where we peel away everything but God alone

even if it is only for two or three minutes . . . Joyce Huggett


Exposure . . .

an old, yet strangely up to date prayer from the Celtic tradition:


Reveal, O Lord, to my eyes your glory
Expose, O Lord, to my heart your love
Disperse, O Lord, from my mind the darkness
Fill, O Lord, my life with your light

Protect, O Lord, from thoughts without action
Guard, O Lord, from words without feelings
Defend, O Lord,from ideas without results
And surround me with your Presence

Open my eyes
my heart
my mind
my will
my soul

To the blowing of your Spirit.


pespective . . .


a shelter from the sun
a rest along the way
a breakthrough for every battle

an ocean for every thirst
a supply for every lack
a cleansing for every stain

what is your area of need today?

you know what to do

viewpoint . . .

things get into perspective when seen from a good viewpoint


from a mountain top you can see great distances

“Stop dwelling on past events
and brooding over days gone by
I am about to do something new
this moment it will unfold

even through the wilderness I shall make a way" . . . the prophet Isaiah


climb to the high places
make time in your schedule
find some space

there are:

paths to discover
possibilities to choose
people to encounter
promises to fulfil
pointers to guide

there is:

peace to possess
power to strengthen
presence to proclaim . . . David Adam

what viewpoint are you looking from today?

the open door . . .

I have set before you an open door that no man can shut . . the apostle John



every journey begins with an open door . . .

the door also suggests movement and change; entering a new season

sometimes you travel through a very dark and cold season


but now a new path is opening up before you

you may not see the ultimate destination, but you have enough light to make the first steps

the goal is not to finish the walk, but to savour each moment - Caroline Hammond

what door is open before you today?

what darkness do you need to move out from today?

the mountains . . .

"I care to live only to entice people to look at nature's loveliness . . the mountains are calling I must go" John Muir, Yosemite Valley Sept 3rd 1873

I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121

There is delight to be had in the mountains, but the unspeakable joy of the high places is reserved for those who have journeyed through deepest sorrow.

Over every mountain there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley. Theodore Roethke

the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. psalm 121

cometh the morning . . .



It was an irresistible morning: the long shadows danced on the white buildings, in a symphony unseen by the sleeping world. With the occasional wispy cloud drifting across the sky, the promise of the new day filled my heart and the sun warmed my bones.

weeping may continue on during the dark night, but joy comes with the morning

" . . . like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain . . . "

The people who dwelt for so long in the half light saw a great brightness emerging; and to them who were lost in the shadows the morning has come.

waiting . . .
it is 1997 . .
the Victorian Melon House at Heligan has been wonderfully restored
the first new melons are being grown,
and it is time for the female flowers to open to be pollinated . .
but it just rains
and rains
and rains . . .

the vision. . though it be delayed, wait for it, it will surely come

unanswered yet . . .
the prayer your lips have pleaded
in agony of heart these many years?
does faith begin to fail, is hope declining,
and think you all in vain those falling tears?
say not the Father has not heard your prayer;
you shall have your desire, sometime, somewhere. - anon


restoring the vines . .

I am drawn back again and again to Tim Smit's story of his discovery of the lost gardens of Heligan in 1990, when he and John Willis first looked round the forgotten estate:

"After the first impressions of it being hideously overgrown, it was a wonderful day - a day that will live with me for ever . . . you genuinely had a feeling of discovery, you'd cut through the brambles, and find secret places . . places that had stories that maybe you'd never know but you could let your imagination run riot . . but to me the most powerful moment was finding the doorway, and seeing a chink of light through it . .

. .a motto was etched into the limestone walls in barely legible pencil “Don’t come here to sleep or slumber”, with the names of those who worked there signed under the date – August 1914."

The gardeners had left shortly after, never to return, over half losing their lives in the fields of Flanders.
The estate owners lost heart and abandoned their thousand acres, which fell quietly to sleep for 75 years.

Today the Joseph Paxton greenhouses have been rebuilt, the vines have been regrown and the pineapple pits have been brought back to life..

Three things are needed for any restoration:
  • a realisation of what has been lost
  • an understanding of what needs to be done
  • the will and determination to do it
I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten - Joel 2:25

what restoration do you need to tackle this year?

pots on a wall . . somewhere in France

these pots speak to me of

design
beauty
stillness

So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. – the prophet Jeremiah

pots on the stone floor


all pots are not the same pots -

Some are small, some are large, some intricate, some basic in form, some will withstand great temperatures, and others hold large volumes, but all are needed

look up

Brasilian president Juscelino Kubitschek was a visionary leader, who moved the country's seat of power from Rio de Janerio to the newly built Brasilia, 700 miles inland, in 1960. At the inauguration of Oscar Niemeyer's wondrous Palácio da Alvorada he said this:
"From this central plateau, this vast loneliness that will soon become the centre of national decisions, I look once more at the future of my country and foresee this dawn with an unshakeable faith in it's great destiny" October 2, 1956

How do we look at our future this New Year? Unshakeable faith in the God who provides will enable us to look forward in hope, assured that he knows every path that we will walk along this year.


look out



On Montserrat, in the Catalan Pre Coastal Mountain Range, there is time for quiet and reflection. From the beautiful seclusion of this Benedictine Abbey you can look down the 4000ft to the Llobregat Valley below . . .

but its down in the valley, in the towns and cities, where faith will be put through the fire, and truth tested up against the daily reality of life.

look in



Don't be afraid to enter the secret place of your soul and look inward at your deepest desires . . . to measure how you match up against the dreams and longings of your heart.

This may be the year where you need to gather up your courage . . and follow your heart!!

The Psalmist David wrote this prayer of Examen:
"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts."

a 1,000 shades of sadness

The week after 9/11 Karen Parr asked me to lead her school year group assembly in prayers for the people of NYC

At that time I was walking every morning in the Memorial Park and I spent some time pondering how I could make a prayer in the midst of such tragedy. In the park you walk beneath huge fagus sylvatica purpurea, - (Copper Beech) trees . .


and as an artist I was stunned by the deep, intense tones of the leaves; the browns, the reds, the purples . . the palette ran into thousands. Each leaf has its own shape and colour and seems to breathe agony; if each one brings to mind a memory, or many memories, of a loved one . . .



then all the trees combined could represent the immensity of the anguish that has been felt since that terrible week.

The creator knows each leaf he has made, and feels each sorrow, even multiplied many times over.

trees I remember

Aughrimderg, the family home in County Tyrone: the box trees either side of the front path had their middle hollowed out so they contained hidden seats!!



I recall the aroma of the trees, the paraffin lamps in the house, and the slow ticking of the grandfather clock, memories of a bygone age . . .

"we overlay these buildings with the memories of what went on in them. This creates a very powerful idea about a place. Buildings are about people, and place and time, they're about use, and they're about context" . . . Kevin McCloud




this fledgling pine was just another tree in the woods . . until, just as I approached, the morning sun lit it up and set it apart from its surroundings

do you ever feel lost in the crowd?

you have been formed as an instrument, suitable for the master's use, and prepared for every good work

remember to fan into flame the gift of God which is in you




walking back through the forest after my morning swim across the bay, I am enveloped in the scent of Catatonia pine

this particular clump of trees, right on top of the hill, has always made me feel very happy!!

"Lord you are in this place
Fill us with your power
Cover us with your peace
Show us your presence" . . . David Adam


snow in the woods

one morning . .

we served bread and wine from the heavy oak table that I had designed on CAD

it was not winter and yet a peace descended, like a blanket of snow

street sounds faded away; the cacophony of inner voices became still


just as the snow covers everything with its magical whiteness, so a quietness entered the landscape of our souls

stillness is, sometimes, the most beautiful experience

rubble and restoration


the rubble has been cleared away and the house has been restored

the wells, that were blocked, have been dug out and the water supply has been re-connected

the prayers I haven't actually got around to praying yet . . . have been answered

I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten - Joel 2:25

windows and waterfalls


as I stood in the sanctuary, it changed from being a building of stone and stained glass and became a tree lined gorge filled with cascading waters

the sound of the rushing water seemed to reach every corner of my soul

I experienced something like inner healing

in my vision I saw water coming from the threshold of the temple . . .
where the river flows everything will live
and the water flows from the sanctuary for the healing of the nations - Ezekiel 47


cheques and jugs of water

how do you know when you are too busy?

when your brain is writing cheques that your body can't cash!

trying to pour a mountain lake into a tumbler is never going to work . . . but neither can you fit 2 litres into a 1 litre glass; it's close . . . but physically impossible

The first chapter of Martha Beck's book The Joy Diet is entitled "nothing" . .
"To begin the joy diet you must do nothing for at least 15 minutes a day."

doing nothing is being still,
quieting your mind (and the cacophony of voices) and simply . . being

not praying
not planning
not problem solving

what occupies your mind 24/7 carries a lot of inertia, and it can be difficult to switch off
put aside time to be still
other things can wait . . because everything is in God's hands

you know it makes sense

seasons and choices



There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot
a time to keep and a time to throw away . . . King Solomon

two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
and sorry I could not travel both
and be one traveler, long I stood
and looked down one as far as I could
to where it bent in the undergrowth . . . Robert Frost


make time


the goal is not to finish the walk, but to savour each moment

we're in a season of change when things are changing all around us

the fallen fruit will be the fertiliser for the next season's growth . . . Caroline Hammond

make room


one of our traditions was to swim across the river to get to this small French cafe, battling the strong current

this tree lined gorge in the Dordogne brings to mind Ezekiel (47:9) "where the river flows everything will live" and Hermann Hesse " . . . he saw that the water continually flowed and flowed and yet it was always there; it was always the same and yet every moment it was new" (from Siddhartha)

the tranquil beauty and yet silent power of the Dordogne speaks to me of personal renewal and refreshment


exploring a few hundred metres downstream (we had spotted a small stone cross poking up above the trees) we found a church built in the cliff face!!

how wonderfully absurd . . . but I love the symbolism of this remote sanctuary, hewn out of solid rock . .

off the grid

a place of safety

make time to be still


The Truth about Shadows

he who dwells in the shelter of the most high will rest in the shadow of the almighty

without shadows life is a bit two dimensional
without shadows there is often no obvious design
without shadows there is detail without definition, a large number of busy shapes, but to the untrained eye it is just a jumble of lines



add light . . . and the shadows that light produces

and the situation is transformed:
the shadows reveal the design
the shadows bring depth, warmth and perhaps an emotional attraction into the picture

you may be in the shadows at the moment, but remember shadows are produced because you are close to the light, and although the shadows can seem dark there is a divine purpose and design which, from a distance, will become clear.



Water into Wine - Transformation
John 2:7 Jesus said to the servants "Fill the jars with water" So they filled them to the brim.

It had rained for 30 days; we had just arrived in Prague to celebrate our wedding anniversary and it was still raining. We sat down in the Old Town Square and as they brought us wine, the sun came out!! It was a memorable moment.

Lack of wine in Cana of Galilee that day wasn’t going to result in a national emergency. No one was going to die, but Jesus performed his first miracle and brought great joy to the wedding guests.

Jesus demonstrated a truth that remains valid to this day; his presence in the ordinary details of your day can make it extra ordinary. Your day can taste like water or it can be savoured like wine. You know what to do . . .


Waters to swim in - Fulfillment
Ezekiel 47:5 He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in – a river that no one could cross.

This was a sequential vision that Ezekiel was led through. Ankle deep water became knee deep, and then waist deep water. This was only going one way . . towards the depths.

It is often the case that when we follow our heart we will have to exercise trust . . that we won’t drown. Faith that God knows what he’s doing.

The river of God’s purposes for us is often sequential, but it is only in the deep water we will find fulfillment; its dangerous . . . but also exhilarating. Are you still paddling in the shallows? Its time to launch out . . .

Still Waters – Refreshment
Psalm 23:2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters

Tradition has it that David penned this Psalm on the 4th day of his escape from Absalom’s pursuing armies. Danger was close, “in the presence of my enemies” and the valley of the shadow was probably an echo of the jungle lands the other side of Jordan, and of the treacherous Jabbok Ravine that they had to journey through to get to safety.

Psalm 23 was not composed in a tranquil setting with wishful thinking, it was hewn from the hard rock of physical danger and an uncertain path ahead.

Still today if you will walk in the direction he guides you, waters of refreshment will help you on your way. You know who to turn to. . .