Thursday, 24 May 2012

Come meet Ashley & Janie at 'Open Studios', Cornwall

2nd - 23rd June at the Shire Hall, Bodmin
(above the Visitors Information Centre)

Ashley is collaborating with textile artist Janie M McDonald and they will be transporting their studios to Bodmin's Shire Hall once again.   You will be able to see them both  working 'Live' alongside the backdrop of their work, over the 3 week period.  

Ashley is very excited about exhibiting his latest work, inspired by Paul Auster's book, New York Trilogy. 'City of Glass 1' (one of the prize winning paintings for the Canvas & Cream competition) will be on display along with a number of new pieces that have never been shown before.  Ashley is currently working towards his prizewinning exhibition, at Canvas & Cream in London in November and these paintings will be crucial to the series. (See recent posts with images and Ashley's thought process about the new work.) There will also be a good selection of paintings from his Cornish series on view.

Janie's work is very different:she uses a wide range of art materials and incorporates textile elements,colour and stitch into her work. Ashley and Janie first showed their work together at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in 2010.

During ‘Open Studios’, Ashley is runnning a family friendly workshop 'Learn to Paint in Oils' .Come along with your children (or on your own) for a fun and informative 2 hour workshop, where you will learn about colour and the basics of how to paint in oils. 

Learn to Paint in Oils' Workshop, Friday 8th June, 10.30 - 12.30 at the Shire Hall, Bodmin. Fee £20 adults £15 children 10-16yrs including all materials.
TO BOOK: Contact
or call 01208 77656.
Early booking recommended.  

Limited to 10 places only.
Booking essential. 

Monday, 21 May 2012

'City of Glass 5: Truthville, NY' (Finished day 3, p.m.)

Maybe....movement around the periphery and a still centre. The top of the painting/sky was too strong so has now lost its prominence and the top of the tower and the dot of Truthville are now the point of focus- the drawing has been strengthened there and the Hudson River, the state-lines and Lake Champlain all lead the eye. Even though the tower is cut into the paint, it appears further forward than the state-shapes -so their strong colours now work and are held by the drawing. Then the tower disapears behind the yellow-orange corner so now the painting has space and depth. There is an oddness about this painting that I really like - it's done.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Truthville (Day 3)

Too tired to work last night but might as well have - solutions for painting whizzing through my head. Getting there- the tower is a bit too graphic, I'll disguise it a bit. The ocean has real power and is overwhelming the southern tip of Manhattan. An apocalyptic feel to the painting now..The spot of Truthville balances now on top of the tower. Love how scale is undermined- a tower that big, a wave that big......Top of the painting next: it stops you seeing the tower.  Do I lose it and integrate it with colour into the rest of the painting or do I make it into a threatening sky? It's too horizontal- have to sort with a small block of angled colour  which should create a big diagonal.
Linked by the pinks, the states of  New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut on the right side have formed another mysterious tower-shape. Back to the studio to mix another grey for the sky using another blue. Lets see how what a difference Sennelier paints make to my colour- time to open the box as we get towards the end of the painting. If grey doesn't work I'll try a quieter pink. That yellow/orange corner still nags... might work better when I change the top.

Friday, 18 May 2012

'Truthville' (Day 2) 100x70cms oil on canvas

An OK day. I shrunk everything to move Truthville (orange dot) down a couple of inches, with a benefit of more space around the edges.  The dot is not as powerful yet as the blue dot in 'Hope Falls'.  I have discovered zinc-white which makes colours slightly more transparent. The right -side has been simplified and horizontals more subtle, now the angles are more prominent. Unsure about it though- the paint seems a bit samey and the colours too obvious,too known,too luscious.  Time for some serious looking and testing. The best thing is the curve at the bottom, following the curve of Long Island, doing a job for the painting and holding up Manhattan. Painting is starting to deflatten and space is becoming more interesting- the Tower is going in tonight to disturb the space even more and I'm going to take out take out the yellow/orange corner-it's one colour too many.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

'Truthville' (new painting) DAY 1

‘Truthville’ (on right) alongside ‘Hope Falls/hope falls...’ in the studio’ after first session.  I’m going to try and make them work as a pair/diptych.  Had a grey/pink colour-scheme in my head so mixed up a few colours before starting.  First thoughts:  simplify! The right hand side needs ripping up - too many colours, too many horizontals, too distracting.  Truthville (the orange dot near the Vermont border) is further north than Hope Falls (blue dot on left painting) so I am going to shrink everything in new painting by 10% so that dots are on the same eye level.  The 2 slightly different scales will also add an interesting element of discord to the pair. Could be a late night in the studio.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

'City of Glass 3: Hope Falls, hope falls....' , City of Glass 4

'Hope Falls/hope falls...'  100x70cms  oil on canvas

My third painting ‘ Hope Falls/hope falls....’ is  now complete and is a very different take on the novel, Paul Auster’s ‘City of Glass’.

The idea came from words:  a line from the Bible quoted in City of Glass, about the supposed scale of the Tower of Babel, where a man would have to walk for 3 days to escape its shadow.  How far could you go if you walked continuously for three days from Manhattan and where would you end up. ?   

I calculated 200 miles and found 2 stand-out candidates in upstate New York, with fantastic names that link to the novel.  I plumped for Hope Falls, (the blue spot in the painting) because of the echoes with the despair and disintegration of the detective, Quinn.  Truthville is the next painting.

 I liked the idea of positioning Manhattan centrally on the bottom edge and making something very small, very powerful.  The idea was to have the shadow of the tower over the map/landscape ending at Hope Falls and this was painted several times but never looked right.  A consequence of repainting this shadow and scrubbing /removing it, was a rich residue of intense red that suggested a bleeding wound.  
'Hope Falls/hope falls...' Detail

I can’t take credit for this- when I showed the painting to the group from our painting holiday, they pointed out the quality and mystery of the red stain and fiercely told me to leave it alone!  After several more attempts painting the shadow I realised they were right, and the tower is in the painting in a more subtle way.  What do you think?

'City of Glass 3'   150x120cms   oil on canvas

After my unsuccessful attempts to introduce the tower/shadow in ‘Hope Falls/hope falls...’ I was determined to make it work in this painting. The only question was how graphic and explicit it was going to be.  The ziggurat shape comes from the mythology of the tower and the Paramount building in New York.  Central Park becomes a window and the building appears ablaze....

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

New Local 'Life-Drawing' Evening Class with Ashley

'Emma' by Ashley Hanson
Following the success of our last ‘Life drawing’ Workshop, we are delighted to announce an evening programme of 'Life  Drawing' classes with Ashley from Friday 18th May 2012.

Working from the life model is an essential and timeless discipline for artists of all levels of ability. Through drawing we learn to understand the human body, its proportions, its form and how it moves.

During the course we will be using a variety of materials and poses and explore different aspects of life drawing including shape and line, form and tone, measurement and composition and rhythm, movement and gesture.

Initially this is a 5 week evening class, 6.30 - 9pm at St Breward Village Hall. (If this proves popular we would like to make this a regular weekly evening class.)

Cost £50. Bring your own easel and drawing materials.
Early booking recommended, limited to a maximum of 12 places.

To book or for more information contact or call 01208 77656. 

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Pics and Update on Our April Painting Holiday

Lots of fun and hard work was had by all during our recent 5 day Painting Holiday in Cornwall. A great bunch of people came from far and wide including Sigi from Canada, students new to Ashley's art and workshops and some very familiar faces.

On our days out on location we had sun, rain and wind with the hint of a rainbow all in the space of a few hours - but Cornwall didn't disappoint! The landscape would become quite magical when a glow of sunshine would seep through the deep blues of the sea and the dark greys of the clouds.

Our lunchtime breaks were very welcome and the food and hospitality at both the Longcross, Port Quinn and The Pier Hotel, Charlestown was first class. When the rain came most people took advantage of the amazing view of the harbour from The Pier Hotel and put pencil to paper and carried on sketching.

In the studio, Ashley as always put everyone through their paces with a mixture of exercises and surprises. It's always colour first with Ashley and he was amazed at the beautiful colours and unusual colour combinations made by each member of the group. Then the students experimented with mark-making with their depictions of the wild seas taken from their studies. Everybody immmersed themselves into their painting and there was some really exciting work produced - Freedom in Painting!

Thank-you to everyone for all your wonderful comments and messages about the holiday and painting experience. We are so pleased you enjoyed it and still made art, in spite of any short comings with the weather and that we lived up to your expectations! A BIG thank-you to you all for joining us (and special thanks to 81 year old Mary who mucked in with us all) and for being such a great group and helping to make it such a success. We do hope we will see you all again soon!

We have 4 places only, left on our next Painting Holiday 24 - 29 Sep 2012.
If you are interested in joining us or would like to know more please email or call 01208 77656. More information can also be found at

Ashley is also running a 5 day non-residential Creative Colour course with the Art Academy in Porthleven, Cornwall 9 - 13 July 2012. This is a place of great signifcance to Ashley as it inspired his first series of work about Cornwall. For more information see