“It’s time to be self-ful. We at last have time to be ‘selfish women’ and devote ourselves to painting,” artist Juliet Henderson says.

Her upcoming exhibition People Doing Things with fellow artist Ruth Swain at Rona Painting Gallery in Jericho is therefore as much a demonstration of liberty and independence, as their chosen subject matter.

Pandemic Park – Juliet Henderson

Brought together by gallery owner Rona, the Oxford artists instantly hit it off. “Rona liked our different styles and felt we would be interesting together,” Ruth says.

Juliet adds: “I felt a complicity with Ruth as both a painter and a woman at a certain stage of life. Plus she is such good company.”

“Our children are launched in their adult lives, and it’s time for change. We’ve done our bit of being ‘proper women’ and ‘good mothers’ and now is the time to regain our independence and pursue our artistic careers,” Juliet explains.

Perks of being a teenager – Ruth Swain

Juliet studied fine arts at the L’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris, and Ruth studied graphic design in Bristol before more recently studying Contemporary Portraiture at The Art Academy, London.

As for the September exhibition, Juliet will be exhibiting her new series ‘Park People’, inspired by Florence Park and the freedom it represented during the pandemic and the form, colour and energy of the people she saw there everyday.

Ivy Crown by Juliet Henderson

“Even in the relative gloom of a grey afternoon, the human stories seemed beautiful and fascinating. They beckoned me to explore the diversity of ways people inhabit the communal spaces,” she adds.

Ruth’s exhibits are based on what people read and what that says about you. Her own favourite painting “Perfume” (see main pic) is a surreal image of her connection to that story.

“I looks for ideas and humour in my art to make you smile or see the twist. Painting makes me feel more visible. It brings me so much joy it almost becomes an obsession,” she says.

Ruth Swain

Ruth Swain and Juliet Henderson’s exhibition People Doing Things is at Rona Painting Gallery in Walton Street from September 7-30.