Monday, 22 August 2016

Freedom in Painting in Polruan - Aug 2016 Course

Behind the studio: Polruan and the 'skate'-shape of the Fowey River

For the latest Freedom in Painting course in Cornwall, we were based in a new location, Polruan, on the south-east coast.  Our group of artists included four members of the Buckinghamshire Art Society and Daniela Merz, a photographer from Karlsruhe in Germany. 

The first two days were spent on location: in Polruan, with its' superb sea and river views, in Fowey, a short boat-ride across the river, and in nearby Charlestown with its' exquisite Georgian harbour. With a mixture of group drawing exercises and personal working, the artists were asked to find the essence of each place, and ideas for their painting. 

The next three days were spent in our studio, in Polruan Village Hall, with its spectacular view of the river from the terrace. This was a period of intense working,with the artists transforming their ideas and the studies into colour and paint. 

Hats off to the artists for producing such a strong and eclectic body of work.(see gallery below) 

Daniela at work..

A discussion with Di about her painting....

Alice's painting in progress..

working on the terrace.....

The tutor takes a break.....


Jo Rollnick

Antonia Glynne-Jones

Antonia Glynne-Jones

Antonia Glynne-Jones

Brenda Hurley

Brenda Hurley

Brenda Hurley

Alice Leary

Kate Watkins

Kate Watkins

Kate Watkins

Erica Shipley

Erica Shipley

Daniela Metz

Daniela Metz

Di Oldfield

Di Oldfield

Sally Timms
Sally Timms

My own painting of Polruan is not yet finished, so for now here a couple of photos....

Ashley Hanson- Polruan, RedGreen

Ashley Hanson - Fowey


'The tuition was very helpful and supportive to me as an individual, making me look much harder at tone/colour and suggestive form to create movement. I have enough evidence/ideas between sketchbooks and photos to give me plenty of work for the coming year. Thank-you Ashley- I really think I have made some progress in my thinking/recording'  Kate Watkins

'Great course'   Erica Shipley

'Exciting and rewarding!'   Daniela Merz

We still have a few places left for our next  Freedom in Painting in Polruan, 7 - 10 Sept 2016.  For more details see link here  or contact Ashley on 01208 77656 or

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

'City of Glass 37- (PLOT.noun/PLOT.verb)'


Exciting news - this painting has been shortlisted for the Lacey Contemporary Art Prize and will be on show in the Finalist Exhibition at Lacey Contemporary, London W11 from 3 -16 August

Gallery view - Lacey Contemporary

Private View at Lacey Contemporary. (Ashley with Chris Salmon on left)


I've spoken many times about 'breaking (the perfection of) the square' - well, it's not a square now....

This is very exciting; the power and tension of the black-lines of 8th Ave and 14th St, holding the shape that wants to spin round...I've pushed the shape of Manhattan right into the corner - more plotting.  Because of the orientation of the canvas, the original drips now become a subversive, subtle pattern of angled lines beneath the transparent paint.  I think it might be done. 

Mysterious doorway.

'Hello Mondrian..' would make a good title, though he wasn't fond of green! (or curves)

This goes back to something I was looking at during Open Studios last year when this painting and 'City of Glass 33 - (Buried)' were in very early stages. 

I have used the idea of the controlling vertical in a shaped canvas before in 'Porthleven 13', (below), the only circular canvas that has worked and that I've kept.

'Porthleven 13'

detail- City of Glass 37


in progress

Early days but I already have a title- the relationship with words is so important in this series witrh its source in text*

Love the multiple meanings of the word 'Plot':

  • plot as in narrative
  • plot as in conspire
  • plot as in plan or map....

In the novel, Quinn plots Stillman's walks onto a street-map of New York

In turn, in City of Glass 6 and 35, I have 'plotted' Quinn's walk described on pages 106-112...

In the act of painting, I have 'plotted' the grid of New York, already several times in this piece, to establish the angle, scale and position of Manhattan within the canvas , looking for the strongest composition. 

My 'plot 'is for the Manhattan shape, once established, to be painted entirely with layers of transparent colours, giving the appearance of coloured-glass.....

*'The New York Trilogy' by Paul Auster

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

'Looking at Diebenkorn' - Workshop Review

Teddy Kempster

The latest Freedom in Painting workshop, 'Looking at Diebenkorn', took place recently over 2 days at  Creek Creative  in Faversham, Kent. As it was a new venue I was a little nervous, but the room we worked in was ideal, with its features and central columns featuring in several of the paintings. I've already booked it for the next Freedom in Painting workshop 'Still-Life' in October. 

Jane Crane- in progress

In advance of the course, the 14 artists were asked to choose their favourite Diebenkorn painting and bring along an image to the workshop - a difficult task but of course it forced everyone to look at all of Diebenkorn's work. 

After an introductory talk about the three distinct phases of Diebenkorn's career, his ideas and methods, I asked to the artists to find a connection between their chosen image image and reality, with something out there, and make a drawing and use this as the start point for their painting. Some artists found their inspiration outside, others in the studio, perhaps proof that, because of his range and his seamless shifting from abstraction into figuration and back again, Diebenkorn is everywhere.

Drawing was an integral part of the workshop: drawing from Diebenkorn's work, from the world outside, from the drawings themselves and from the paintings in progress. Here is a selection of studio shots and paintings - I'll be adding more images as they arrive. 

Anne-Marie LePretre
Jo Rollnick

Jo Dunlop

Catriona Campbell

Jane Crane at work

   Jan Bunyan

We had a fascinating conversation in our Group critique about Jan Bunyan's paintings working as a diptych (or not) 

Margarita Hanlon- work in progress

Teddy Kempster

Rob Frampton-Fell's three paintings

Here are a few comments about the Workshop:

'Outstanding tutoring and camaraderie really helps the atmosphere of serious enquiry'  Margarita Hanlon

'Having Diebenkorn's range of work was inspiring and stimulating. The course is a springboard for future work. Ashley's a great teacher!'
Teddy Kempster

'Every time I work with Ashley I feel more confident that I am progressing my art' 
Catriona Campbell