Thursday, 21 May 2015

May 2015 Painting Holiday in Cornwall - Photos & Update

Rock and the Camel Estuary
We were very much looking forward to meeting our May painting holiday group as we had a number of artists returning from previous years (Sigi from Canada and Elizabeth and Antonia from last year's holiday) along with welcoming our new artists who had  all signed up to the  'Freedom in Painting' experience.

A fantastic week followed that inspired the group to produce some amazing results by the end of the holiday. Here is an insight into what we got up to...


Elizabeth sketching at Rock

Day 1 - The North Coast. Rock and the Camel Estuary looked breath taking. The sun shone on us all day and the changing colours of the sea and altering shapes of the sandbanks were quite magical. Ashley brought the group together to begin the day sketching before everyone was encouraged to find their own special place to draw or paint from.  He then chatted and discussed the sketches and studies individually with everyone throughout the morning. Our artists were just warming up!


Rocky beach at Porth Quinn

Hazel sketching at Port Quinn
After breaking for a delicious lunch at the Longcross Hotel, we headed five minutes up the road to Port Quinn our  location for the afternoon. This place is a wonderful contrast to the calm sea of the Camel Estuary and the group enjoyed the diversity of the landscape. Once again Ashley began the afternoon with a drawing challenge on the small rocky beach before taking the group up onto the cliff tops, for some spectacular views to work from.





Polperro Harbour

Antonia painting at Polperro
Day 2 - The South Coast. Polperro our morning location was just waking up when we arrived, so an ideal time to visit this traditional Cornish fishing village and harbour. Ashley began the morning with  a series of sketching exercises from different viewpoints and he then encouraged the group to start looking/thinking about ideas 
for paintings, whilst making their studies. A hearty lunch followed at the Blue Peter Inn and we were then refreshed and ready to move on.





Kate painting at Polruan
Polruan was our final south coast destination and it didn't disappoint. The 360 degree panoramic  views were stunning as always and here Ashley introduced some linear exercises before our artists were encouraged to draw or paint from their own personal viewpoint. For those who wanted, there was more amazing landscape to see and paint/sketch from along the way down to the ancient ruins of the Blockhouse and harbour. The difficult task of processing and editing all the work from the past two days would begin in earnest tomorrow!

Carol's studies in the studio


Day 3- 4  The Village Hall at St Breward , high on Bodmin Moor was our studio for the next two days. The first morning was devoted to group exercises exploring colour and composition with the artists editing and abstracting from their own drawings. After a break for lunch at The Old Inn pub (conveniently located next door) the artists began working on their paintings. Everyone was asked to work on two pieces simultaneously developing their studies and ideas further.






Ashley 'in action' demonstrating techniques 
Over the two days Ashley discussed the work of some of his favourite artists and demonstrated many of his painting tips and techniques, including numerous ways of mark- making and applying paint  . Under his guidance everyone was encouraged and inspired to move out of their comfort zone and   take their painting somewhere new. The finale as always was an indepth group critique which the artists found both enjoyable and invaluable, a wonderful shared experience.

Ashley working with Hazel





In the studio















After the intensity of working over the past few days our artists certainly earned their celebratory dinner on Friday evening and enjoyed a quick pint at The Globe Inn before settling down to a superb three course meal at Asquiths Restaurant in Lostwithiel.



Thanks once again Sally and Graham for looking after us so well.


Antonia Glynne Jones painting
Diane Bedser's painting



Philippa Hutton's painting

Elizabeth Aspinall's painting
Kate Watkins painting


We had a terrific week with you all and the dedication you gave to your paintings really shone through. Thanks for joining us and we really hope you felt the benefit of Ashley's guidance and tuition . We would also like to thank all of our contributors that help to make our painting holidays a success.

We do hope to see you again soon!


Philippa Langton's painting

If you would like to join us on our 21st - 26th September painting holiday in Cornwall 2015, there are still places available. For lots more information see the website here. If you would like to make an enquiry or booking contact Denise or call 01208 77656.










Hazel Crawford's painting
Carol Hayslip's painting


Sigi Johnson's painting

Photos and write up by Denise Hanson

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

'Porthleven 20'

'Porthleven 20'    80x80cms

One of the great benefits of teaching is that it presents the opportunity to restate principles and beliefs about painting. Without a doubt, this helped with this painting, which I worked on during the recent workshop at the Lifeboat Art Studio in Porthleven.  

As in all my paintings, there were many wrong turnings during the process.  There is usually a point where a painting looks like something you have made before: this piece was exposed when hung alongside 'Porthleven 19' and I was also forced to look again by the clarity and quality of the work of the other artists in the group. 

In comparison, this painting was bitty/fragmented, inconclusive & static. The colour was not working, the deep pink was too sweet and distracting, cancelling out the blue, the painting tediously divided into three equal sections, with the group of four piers almost dead centre. Day 3- Day 4 was definitely backwards. It was a mistake to square off the bottom right corner of the harbour, losing the beautiful 's'-shape though we did see the introduction of the dynamic parallel lines of the slipway on the bottom edge.  Above all I had failed to come to terms with the square, whose perfection has to be broken.

'Simplify-  always look for a bigger shape within the canvas, a stronger composition.....'

Precisely.

Now all the elements within are larger. The new thing is the procession of lines and the curves creating movement towards the top right corner/the open sea. Drawing holds this piece together. I have been drawing more, especially now I'm drawing not teaching in the Thursday life class.

The painting has been on the wall for a week- no changes are needed. It looks different which is how it should be. It could not have been made without being in this place (Porthleven) with these artists at this particular point in time. The drawing and exercises we did together,  the discussions we had both in the studio and the Ship Inn, the group dynamic and the intensity of working, all contributed. See here for blog post on the April  'Freedom in Painting' Porthleven course and exhibition.



day 4


day 3



 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

'2 Figures' - Canterbury Workshop, 25 - 26 June 2015



Our next 'Freedom in Painting ' workshop will be held once again at the Augustine Art Centre at Canterbury Christchurch University. On this workshop, using the life-model, the challenge for all participants is to explore the idea of '2 Figures' in a painting, with it's possibilities of narrative.....

We will spend the first morning drawing extensively from our first model building on our observational skills before starting on our painting and as usual Ashley will have a few surprises for you! On Day Two, we will introduce our second model  into the composition.

To book and guarantee your place: email denise@ashleyhanson.co.uk or call 01208 77656

Comments from our last workshop

As always, stimulating, challenging, exhausting! I look forward to more.
Teddy Kempster

Ashley's very approachable, gentle and sensitive while being a clear and dynamic tutor and workshop leader. Thoroughly enjoyed my journey! Big Thank-you and to Denise for exceptional admin skills.
Selina Firth

Very supportive approach and good teaching style. I feel more confident.
Katrina Jean Dallamore




Thursday, 30 April 2015

April Freedom in Painting Course in Porthleven , Cornwall



The Life Boat Art Studio - Porthleven

The artists had a fantastic week, (weather included) and this year our exhibition days coincided with the Porthleven Food and Music Festival bringing many more visitors to the town and the studio to view the work. Most of the artists had worked with Ashley before but as always he came up with some new challenges and surprises and the end result was some really exciting work! Porthleven is an extraordinary place with its iconic clock tower, double harbour and beaches and its ever changing light, weather and tides - it never fails to inspire.


Far left -the Lifeboat Art Studio , The Ship Inn, in the foreground 
The artists gathered at the studio Sunday afternoon to set up their space, followed by an introductory talk where Ashley discussed the aims and principles of the course.A perfect opportunity for the group to meet each other before visiting the Ship Inn (which became known as the unofficial office!) for a bite and a pint.








Jane Crane's drawing

The first morning was spent drawing around the harbour from a variety of viewpoints, collecting information and finding inspiration and ideas. After lunch the artists returned to the studio and took part in a series of drawing and colour exercises before Ashley let them loose on their paintings.


Helen  Painting 'Plein Air'
Bruce drawing outside the studio



Day two was structured in a similar way but then the studio became the focus as the artists pushed their paintings further. Ashley was on hand to give individual mentoring and there was lots of opportunities for groups discussions and critiques which the artists found invaluable.Once again everyone enjoyed seeing Ashley develop his own painting, giving an insight into his working process, demonstrating tips and techniques along the way. With the exhibition looming the artists were totally committed, often working into the early evening before retiring to the office for some well earned food, drink and laughter!


Ashley with Mitzi 




Studio Shot

















This year the group benefited from an additional half day on Friday morning to finish their paintings and a full day exhibition on the Saturday. Friday afternoon was spent transforming the studio into a gallery in preparation for the Preview on Friday evening and what a transformation! Colour and strong line filed the room, the paintings complimented by the drawings and studies. It looked amazing. Ashley's working painting 'Porthleven 20' was also exhibited but he is still not sure if it has been resolved..., what do you think?


Bruce Campbell's Painting
Helen Herbert's Painting






Ashley Hanson's Painting
John Robson's Painting
















Jane Crane's Painting
Mitzi Delnevo's Painting


A BIG thank-you to the Porthleven Food and Music Festival for supporting us and helping to spread the word about the exhibition via the website , Facebook and Twitter and it was great to meet you.



Friday night Preview
Gallery Ready for Opening








Dinner at Amelies
After the Preview we celebrated the week's achievements, together with  the younger Hansons at Amelies Restaurant , thank-you to Paul James (who was one of the performing chef's at the Food Festival) for a lovely dinner.

Before the opening on Saturday, Ashley brought the artists together for a final critique of the work. The exhibition was very well received and the artists enjoyed their many conversations with visitors to the show. 


As well as the increased numbers to the exhibition an added bonus was that all the group got to see and participate in the festival during the weekend.




Well done to everyone, the quality of work produced in just one week was exceptional. From your comments , we are so glad you enjoyed it and hope you are not left too exhausted! As soon as we have the dates in place for next year, we will let you know!

Ashley was interviewed by the Porthleven Food & Drink Festival organisers. Here he  speaks about the Art Exhibition, the artists work made during the week and their commitment to the course and their art practice. 


video


Our October Porthleven 'Freedom in Painting' course for this year is now fully booked but if you are interested in joining us next year or finding out more about our courses and holidays see www.ashleyhanson.co.uk or would like to join our mailing list email Denise here.







Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Porthleven Food & Music Festival & Art Exhibition


You can feel the excitement in the air already down in ‪#‎Porthleven‬ as they prepare for the Porthleven Food & Music Festival. We are really looking forward to it - especially with our exhibition coinciding on the same weekend. Hope you can get to both!Come along to the Friday night Preview 5-7.30pm (just before the Hayseed Dixie band are live on stage 7pm ) or the next day, Saturday 10-5pm. Ashley and our experienced artists will be working extremely hard all week - looking forward to showing their work in the exhibition.

The exhibition is in the Lifeboat Art Studio, next to The Ship Inn on Mount Pleasant Road by the harbour.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

'City of Glass 30 - (Celestial)' 100x80cms

 



DAY 5
 
The stars went in, an Alizarin glaze on the pink block, a couple of additional lines, tried and discarded, and it was done. This magical moment, when the painting says STOP! is unexplainable, intuitive, based on knowledge only up to a certain point because this is a new thing. Ideas, process, probing, testing, melt into pleasure, the senses.  
 
Familiar themes of the grids of architecture and the street interlocking, a building 'there but not there', now you see it , now you don't.  A rare sky, both inside and outside Grand Central station...fake sky, fake constellations, fact & fiction. The  curve of the sky is the new thing, echoed by curves within the painting. The stalagmite orange line pulsates, the proportion and arrangement of the rectangles feel right, glowing with colour, one with light. A window? I love the strength of the intersection of the long horizontal and vertical,(42nd St & Lexington Ave), almost making a painting within a painting but then not. The eye is led upwards. The familiar figure of Stillman from 'The New York Trilogy' * appeared at one point, two Stillmans, blue left, brown right: there are few traces, edited out, but they forced the issue and moved the painting forwards- this painting is about something else.
 

 
 
 DAY 4


Colour is happening and a more complex space. None of the usual colour horrors bringing it into the daylight. The dominant vertical that emerged - (Lexington Avenue) is on the Golden Section, as is the 'horizon' line. Over 30 years, I can't remember ever using these proportions deliberately/consciously, though I guess they have appeared. Together with the curve of the sky, the painting makes me think of ' The Baptism of Christ' by Piero della Francesca, with the weird hovering bird. Looking at the two paintings, there is also the strange co-incidence of the angled leg of the figure on the right and the diagonal in my painting- spooky, almost a reverse image.

The constellations/letters are going back in tomorrow and refinements adjustments of the verticals and horizontals.
 


 

Early days...the sky will be the deepest blue, letters hidden among the constellations in the vaulted ceiling of Grand Central Station....ghost avenues.....the 'scaffolding' of the streets still raw.. the dual carriageway of Park Avenue pointing to the heavens, also the radio tower atop a half-hidden building...

 * a novel by Paul Auster



Wednesday, 18 February 2015

'City of Glass 29 - (Babylon)'

'City of Glass 29 - (Babylon)'   100x75cms



TUES   I've had a change of mind-  'Babylon' is the title of the painting.
 
MON    I have been looking for hours at this piece- I think it is resolved. Denise is not sure but Ollie says it's his favourite.
 
Any more additions/complications will detract from the strength of the bricks running through the image of Manhattan.  I've simplified the yellows and Central Park and put in the rivers of New York, adding a curious drawn, linear element to the painting. Now I have, like the novel*, a mix of the ancient and the present day. Manhattan sits, like Babylon, between two rivers, the bricks/canvases and image within reminiscent of the friezes of the Ishtar Gate. The shape of the canvas relates to the ziggurat-shape of the Tower of Babel, which is, of course, made of bricks. The only dilemma is the title: 'Babylon' or 'Tigris and Euphrates'.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


The usual horrors when I took it out of the studio into natural light. The yellows are crude and the surface too knobbly and complicated. The bricks/canvases must be more prominent - I'll gouge out the paint in the cracks. Am liking how the Manhattan shape site in the shape of the piece, the pinks are doing something and colours and paint in the Lower East Side. It's not enough- back we go.


 
 
Day 2

I had to go to work today- so just a couple of hours in the studio. Colour is starting to happen and bricks/canvases more prominent. Manhattan image emerging. The larger bricks will be broken down into smaller bricks with the proportions of a New York city block. Manhattan will be covered with a brick pattern instead of blocks- made of bricks like the Tower of Babel. I think the scale is going to be 1 brick = 6 blocks, hence the new title.  The painting takes on the idea of the enormous scale of the new Babel, where every inhabitant of North America will have their own room...... Think again of the words: 1 brick is the size of 6 city blocks... My daughter Faye likes the colours.


Day 1



 
 



* 'The New York Trilogy' by Paul Auster.