I capture the essence of the sea’s energy for people who want to bring the ocean into their own homes; my goal is to help people feel joyful and uplifted by the power and true majesty of the sea in motion.

Hi, I’m Ruth Clayton, and I’m passionate about the sea. Not a calm sea, however, but the energy of the sea with its movement and reaction to light. I love how the ocean reflects the surrounding force of nature with all its colours and intricate patterns. The sea never stays the same, and the colours can change from the palest turquoise to the deepest blue in seconds.

My current work is a million miles away from the work I was trained to do on my illustration degree at Leeds Metropolitan University in 1986. My painting style has changed and developed greatly over the years.

I believe, that as an artist, it is crucial to grow organically and remain open to new ideas and methods of working.

After gaining my degree, I decided to complete a teaching qualification at Manchester University the following year.

Since then, I have spent time as an art teacher working in high schools and tertiary Colleges. I now share an art studio with my partner Stuart Gray at Farfield Mill in Sedbergh, Cumbria, where I work, teach, and sell my paintings.

I mainly specialise in watercolour with the addition of gouache, inks, and pastel.


I care deeply about the ocean so I source planet friendly wrapping when I can to protect your painting after your purchase.

Cling film/plastic wrap is one of the materials I use to create the beautiful patterns of the sea. Knowing that this is a single use plastic, I have been re-using it repeatedly to avoid unnecessary waste. However, my daughter introduced me to a great new product that is 100% compostable… RESULT!

The sea holds such a special place in my heart, and on occasions throughout the year, I donate a percentage of my picture sales to relevant charities like The Ocean Cleanup.

I don’t recommend hanging a watercolour painting in a bathroom due to the moisture in the room as it can make the paper cockle and twist behind the glass.

Equally, it is not a good idea to hang a watercolour in a conservatory due to the sun, which can cause the painting to fade over time. The best place to hang your picture is out of direct sunlight.

Fun fact – I don’t always use the most expensive materials for my paintings. In fact, I’m very fond of ‘Bockingford’ watercolour paper and student quality paints.

However, when I feel like treating myself, I love to use the ‘Daniel Smith’ granulating range of watercolours.

“The sea, once it’s cast its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever”

Jacques Cousteau