First class artist finds her muse later in life

Ruth Tillyard in her studio at home in Milngavie.
Ruth Tillyard in her studio at home in Milngavie.

A Milngavie woman is on the road to becoming a successful artist - decades after being told not to study A-level art because it wasn’t ‘academic’.

Ruth Tillyard, from Milngavie, studied geography and biology instead and spent most of her working years in heritage before working for North Lanarkshire Council.

This brought out her interest in art and, after leaving the job aged 50, she joined a one day a week portfolio course in art at college.

She gained an HND and then studied for two more years to achieve a top-up degree.

Ruth (63) said: “I hadn’t set out to do a degree - I was just exploring a hobby.

“I really enjoyed painting and printmaking and couldn’t decide which to do for my degree show.”

This decision was taken out of her hands when she broke her wrist while out walking her dog and was only able to return to her studies a year later.

By then someone had donated a printing press to the college.

She “bonded with it” and decided to do linoprints for her degree show.

She added: “It was serendipity or something.”

Ruth, a member of Bearsden and Milngavie art clubs, graduated at the age of 59 in 2012 with a BA Honours in Visual Arts (First Class) and received the Glasgow Print Studio Prize.

She now specialises in linocuts although she also dabbles in other mediums including painting, collage and botanical pencil/watercolour - in the same style as Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Many of Ruth’s prints feature Baldernock landscape as it’s one of her favourite places to walk and is near her home.

But she changes the landscape around in a playful way to make the work abstract.

There is only ever one edition of her prints because she uses a reductive process - which means that the lino is cut away and cannot be used again. Ruth is currently organising an exhibition by members of the University of Third Age which will be held in Glasgow Botanics tearoom in May.