Saturday, 18 October 2014

'Porthleven 19'

'Porthleven 19'      100x70cms

My latest painting was made during the recent workshop in Porthleven. It was a demonstration painting but I had some sneaky late night and early morning sessions. The week was fantastic, with storms and surging seas, a full moon and extreme high tides.  The fishing fleet stayed behind the barrier all week. There was a magical relationship between the white disc of the moon and the white face of the clock in the tower, which I may have to paint.  I'm very fond of this piece- it's good to be painting again.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Photos & Update on our September Painting Holiday in Cornwall

Port Isaac- Day 1
We were delighted to be welcoming our artists from all over the UK to our September 'Freedom in Painting Holiday in Cornwall,' including John and his wife Jenny from Kent, (who rebooked after coming on our May holiday earlier this year) and Nicola our prize winner of the Great Art Postcard challenge, from as far a field as Scotland near John O' Groats!

For any artist Cornwall is inspirational whatever the weather but we were fortunate again to have
fabulous weather, helping to enrich the week's experience for everyone.

Day 1 - The North Coast
Beryl in Port Isaac

 Port Isaac our morning location was spectacular. Ashley took the group to a number of different viewpoints where everyone was encouraged to make quick sketches before finding their own special place to work from. The difficulty was, how to capture the vastness of this wonderful landscape? Quite a challenge for any artist! 

Erica & Antonia in Trebarwith Strand

By the time we reached our afternoon location, Trebarwith Strand, we were building up a good appetite. A hearty lunch at The Port William Inn, (overlooking the bay) followed and everyone couldn't wait to get started for the afternoon drawing  /painting session. Here, Ashley spent time with each artist individually, discussing their composition and helping them to use a different approach to looking and sketching/painting the landscape .

Light, shape, shade and colour were all taking shape on canvases and sketchbooks  - this was just the begining!

The Group in Charlestown
Day 2 - The South Coast 
Charlestown , our first stop and  a very special place for Ashley. The harbour has a dramatic presence and even though on previous visits with our group the heavens have opened, this time the sun shone (except for a fleeting shower) and Charlestown was both striking and tranquil. Ashley started the morning with a brief drawing demonstration followed by some group sketching exercises helping the artists to simplify their drawings, looking at shapes, lines and contours.

Kate in Charlestown
They then went on to sketch /paint individually whilst Ashley checked in with them, giving input  and encouragement. Lunch was at the trusted Pier House Hotel opposite the harbour and then it was time to head for Fowey where we caught the ferry to Polruan, our afternoon destination.

Once again everyone enjoyed the diversity of the location and the panoramic view from the top of Polruan Hill was definitely worth the climb. It was time to make sure everyone was fired up with plenty of studies to take with them into the studio for tomorrow!

Panorama at the top of Polruan Hill

Ashley Demonstrating
Day 3 - 4 In the Studio, situated at the top of Bodmin Moor 
Ashley began the first day with a variety of demonstrations and colour exercises, he then shook things up a bit with the introduction of words to highlight and demonstrate movement, mark-making and finding different ways to put paint down. 

Joy's Painting in Progress
Some exciting paintings started emerging but were they finished yet or where they just opening up the possibilities in painting? 

Erica's Painting in Progress
Nicola our PrizeWinner

Joy, Nicola, Erica & Antonia
The last studio day allowed the artists to focus on their own paintings with Ashley mentoring each person throughout the day. As well as demonstrations , there was time for discussion and listening to discover what each each artist hoped to achieve in their work and Ashley set out to direct and encourage. 

Beryl discussing work with Ashley

By the end of the two days the paintings really started to take shape with some really exciting, colourful work coming through and although the subject matter may have been the same, each artist produced something entirely different, finding their own unique style and pathway.

Joy's Painting
Antonia's Painting
Nicola's Painting

The last day in the studio concluded with an invaluable  critique about the work where the whole group looked constructively at each others paintings and contributed to the discussion.

John's Painting
Erica's Painting
Beryl's Painting
Francine's Painting

Kate's Painting

Thanks to The Old Inn, St Breward for looking after all again for lunch over the two days - it was perfect!

And of cause our week wouldn't be the same without our wonderful Friday evening meal at Asquiths Restaurant, Lostwithiel. (After a swift pint in the 13th century The Globe Inn). Thank-you Graham, Sally and staff, as always the food was top notch and your care and attention to detail, exceptional!

Friday Evening at Asquiths Restaurant

Thanks  to everyone for signing up to 'Freedom in Painting in Cornwall', you were a great group (yet again) and we hope you enjoyed yourself as much as we did and found the course both inspiring and beneficial. We look forward to seeing (and hearing ) about your future work and hope that we might see you again soon!

Denise & Ashley

Nicola won the Great Art postcard challenge with this entry. We hope you agree it was very well deserved. She also writes a blog and if you would like to read about her own experience with us on the painting holiday , you can read about it here.

We also have some exciting news from Kate Dove who was came on the holiday. She has been short listed for the Artist of the Year Award with the Artist & Illustrator magazine. Well done, Kate!

We now have our painting holiday dates for next year:

Mon 11th - Sat 16th May & Mon 21st - Sat 26th September 2015

If you are interested in finding out more or would like to be included on our mailing list for information on courses/holidays or exhibitions, contact or call 01208 77656 .
See also for more information about Ashley's art practice, exhibitions & previous holidays etc.  

Monday, 15 September 2014

Freedom in Painting in Porthleven, 5-11 Oct, 2 Places Left

Artist Sara Bor on 'Freedom in Porthleven' 2013
A wonderful opportunity to work in a small group with colourist and landscape artist Ashley Hanson in the ‘Lifeboat Art Studio’ in Porthleven, ideally situated on the edge of the harbour wall directly facing the sea. It is designed for painters who wish to enhance their creativity and look towards abstraction and beyond the representational. During the course Ashley will inspire and encourage artists to produce their own personal interpretation of Porthleven.

This 5 Day course is £320 - only 2 places left.

The course will start with an introduction on the Sunday afternoon, followed by four intense working days in the studio and around the harbour. The fifth day, (Friday) will be dedicated to transforming the studio into an exhibition space open to the public from 12 - 7.30pm, where the work will be available for sale.

'Porthleven 6'
Ashley has a very special connection with Porthleven: the paintings of Peter Lanyon (in particular 'Porthleven' made in 1951) had a major influence on his work and this unspoilt fishing town, with its double harbour and iconic clock tower was the inspiration for Ashley's first series of paintings about Cornwall.

There are now 18 paintings in the series and 'Porthleven 6' has been selected for the 'Brilliant Colour Exhibition' at Falmouth Art Gallery, 20 Sep - 22 Nov 2014 . This exhibition celebrates work from some of Cornwall's finest abstract artists including Sir Terry Frost, Grace Gardner and Patrick Heron.

To book or find out more contact: or call 01208 77656

Testimonials from 'Freedom in Painting in Porthleven 2013'

Since Cornwall and being back in my studio, my work has moved on.Wonderful environment, wise criticism, excellent company.
Helen Herbert

I found the 4 days of concentrated work very useful in exploring different ways of painting.
Rebecca Child

The tuition was second to none!
Alison Garner

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

'City of Glass 15- (Stillman walks..)' selected for The Discerning Eye

The exhibition is at the Mall Galleries in London, (admission is free) and opens Thurs 13 November until Sunday 23 November 2014. This years selectors were artists Emma Green and Emma Stibbon RA, collectors Charles Ingram and Dr Giles Brown, and critics Simon Martin and Helen Sumpter,
Here are my thoughts at the time of making:
'This is the smallest painting yet in the New York Trilogy series. It's always a problem going from big to small - there is no room, no space! - but I think that problem has been resolved. 
In this painting I returned to the idea of how to place both the figure of Stillman and the map-shape of Manhattan in the same painting, without Stillman appearing giant.  The painting started with Stillman in a gallery, walking past a painting containing the Manhattan shape ('City of Glass 1') but the verticality, which has been a constant throughout the series, was missing. I think the solution above is far more intriguing and ambiguous. 
The vertical grid on the right is a specific section of the Upper West Side. As 'detective' Quinn discovers, Stillman's daily walks, (where he invisibly writes the letters that spell T.H.E.T.O.W.E.R.O.F.B.A.B.E.L.) are all within 'a narrowly circumscribed area, bounded on the north by 110thSt, on the south by 72nd Ave, on the west by Riverside Park, and on the east by Amsterdam Avenue. No matter how haphazard his journeys- and each day his itinerary was different- Stillman never crossed these borders' *
*from 'The New York Trilogy' by Paul Auster

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

'Porthleven 6' at Falmouth Art Gallery

My daughter Faye's favourite painting (and one of mine), 'Porthleven 6', has been selected for the 'Brilliant Colour' exhibition at Falmouth Art Gallery (20 Sept- 22 Nov 2014), to be shown alongside work by Terry Frost, Roger Hilton,Trevor Bell, Grace Gardner.
When I moved to Cornwall 9 years ago, it was inevitable that Porthleven would be the subject of my first Cornish paintings: the work of Peter Lanyon and in particular his  'Porthleven' from 1951, had a major influence on my decision to drop my architecture studies and become a painter.  
'Porthleven'     1951     Peter Lanyon
To start the Porthleven series, I nailed white wooden crosses, (taken from the Cornish flag) to 6 canvases and enjoyed the painting problems that they created. In 'Porthleven 5', halfway through the process, the cross was removed, leaving a imprint of the cross in the heavy paint. I repeated the action in 'Porthleven 6', which revealed the remarkable sharp edge of the bottom left pier - one of the most fantastic moments in my career as an artist. We need and crave surprise in our work.


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

'New England (Green)'

'New England (Green)'      55x45cms      oil on wood
 Had a chance to see this recently at a friend's house - it's a favourite but never really got a showing before it was snapped up. There is a red and a blue version too but this is by far the strongest. Seeing it again reminded me of Spectragel, which I used in the ocean- must get some more.

Monday, 28 July 2014

'A m e r i c a s c a p e s - 'California Zephyr' 210x70cms

The second of the Amtrak paintings.Of all the train journeys, this was the most varied and spectacular and my favourite- a 2 day journey from Chicago across the Rockies to San Francisco. Originally a panorama, the painting was transformed by switching of the format and the introduction up of the cactus. Lake Michgan, at the top, is massively scaled-up, it's like an ocean, which is how it seems when you're in Chicago. There are delicious plays between the right-side of the cactus and the meandering trainline and between the cactus and the skyscraper shape formed by the shapes of the states on the right side of the canvas.......

The roots of the 'City of Glass' series are in this painting

'Maine', 'Crescent' & 'California Zephyr' at the Michael West Gallery, Quay Arts