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

Friday, 25 July 2014

A m e r i c a s c a p e s: 'Lake Shore Ltd (& Jon's Barn)'

Trawling through my archive, I came across this painting, bringing back memories of my journey to the USA in 1997, after I was awarded a Boise Travel Scholarship from the Slade School of Art. I was staggered by the invention and vitality in this piece- maybe it's time to tell the tale....
During my stay in the US I made a series of train journeys around the country, with extended stays in Chicago, San Diego, New Orleans, New England and New York City, followed by 2 month's intense painting in a barn in upstate New York belonging to sculptor Jon Isherwood, a great friend from Canterbury College of Art.  I completed 22 paintings in the barn including three very large canvases, 'Chesapeake Bay', 'California' and 'Nantucket'.  The  'A m e r i c a s c a p e s'  series continued on my return to the UK including this painting which shows the first leg of the journey from New York to Chicago.
It was painted on a Formica kitchen cupboard panel retrieved from a skip - I wanted to replicate a similar surface to the bright-white Formica covered boards that I used for the smaller paintings in the barn. An impossible skiddy surface with the constant tension of whether the paint will fall off.  It's kind of dazzling how this paint messes with time, reality and space. A not very well-disguised homage to Matisse's 'The Red Studio' that I saw in New York - propped up against the barn is one of my paintings- a painting within a painting. But what makes this painting exciting is that the subject of my painting within the painting, Chesapeake Bay, is also in the painting- you can see the shape on the Atlantic coast below New York. Love the relationship between map and image - how the line of the flat shape of New York state continues into the line that defines the 3-dimensionality of the barn. Also the relationship between the paint-filled hole in the Formica and the dot of Chicago above.
Have I ever painted a more confident line than the drawing of the Great Lakes?
A couple of artist friends bought this piece, Michelle Avison & Alex le Fevre - I look forward to seeing it again when I'm next  in London.
Next post will be about the painting of the second leg of the journey, Chicago to San Francisco on the 'California Zephyr'. Below is 'Lake Shore Ltd' with 'Nantucket', which is also propped up against the barn in the painting!

Lake Shore Ltd & 'Nantucket' at Quay Arts

Friday, 18 July 2014

'City of Glass 25 - (streets)' & 'City of Glass 26 - (avenues)'

A simple premise- a deconstruction of Manhattan, one painting showing all the horizontals/streets, another the verticals/avenues. Information fragmented/subverted, allowing the lines to be themselves. I spent a lot of time considering the shape within the shape, which fixed the scale of the lines and spaces between. I invariably see the female figure in the shape of Manhattan - explicit in this shared composition.   
'City of Glass 25- (streets...)'  70x50cms

'City of Glass 26 - (avenues...)'  70x50cms

An exciting shift: for the first time, the sides of the canvas, where I have marked out and numbered the grid, are integral to the painting, extending the idea of 'sculptural' paintings that have emerged this year in the 'City of Glass'* series.


'from 'The New York Trilogy' by Paul Auster