Saturday, 21 December 2013

Just Released - Our Painting Holidays in Cornwall, 2014


12 - 17 May & 22 - 27 September

We are delighted to announce the release of our painting holidays in Cornwall for May and September in 2014.

The concept remains the same, a unique opportunity to work with Ashley spending 2 days on location in Cornwall's stunning coastal landscape on both the north and south coast (on each holiday), followed by 2 full days developing the paintings and ideas further in a studio set in a sleepy village high on Bodmin Moor. We have a new location for you this year on our May holiday with the introduction of Polperro on the south coast.

 Prices start from £395 and include:

  • 5 nights accommodation
  • 4 full days tuition
  • 1 to 1 tuition
  • Group critiques
  • All lunches
  • Ferry trip to Polruan (Sep Hol)
  • Celebratory evening meal

The holidays/courses are extremely flexible with lots of accommodation options depending on your budget. You can hire your own cottage, get together with a group of friends or make new friends sharing a cottage. There is also an option to go on the course and source your own accommodation, if you prefer. Non participants are also welcome.

Heather Rachel's Painting & Photo Sep 2013
There is also a place on our September Cornwall painting holiday to be won!! We have teamed up with the new art magazine Discover Art and the art materials specialist Great Art and all you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is to paint a postcard in any media of your choice. Pick up your copy of the Discover Art magazine from WH Smiths high street stores or see here  for more details.

To Book or for More Information:
Contact or call 01208 77656
See also here for more detailed information

Limited to 16 places, book early to guarantee your place.
Comments from our Previous Holidays

It was beyond my expectations and extremely helpful. You both worked so hard and the workshop was brilliant. Thank-you so much for giving us such a creative and inspirational time!
Petra Rohr-Rouendaal September 2013

The workshop was a highly purposeful environment and precious time was used appropriately. The demonstrations were thought provoking and stimulating. St Breward is pleasant, rural and the studio has the air of a retreat - perfect for painting and the artistic soul. Overall the course delivered something special and I think different and more 'out there' than the norm. Ashley is an inspirational tutor. Thank-you!
Alison Garner April 2013
Thank-you so much, both of you. Ashley is a very good tutor and such an enthusiast that it is completely contagious. I am buzzing with pictures to paint in my head, like I never had is almost a waste of time to sleep! You were both so generous with your time and care...very memorable and can’t wait to come down to Cornwall again!
Jane Crane September 2012

 I didn’t know what to expect—but I have been delighted that it lived up to its title ‘Freedom in Painting’ - suggesting that the painting comes first, it dictates the subject matter. Its been very useful for ideas for future work. Ashley’s a very passionate, selfless teacher. He tries to get into the mindset of each student and find out what they want to achieve. He really gives of himself. Excellent.
Kate Newington April 2011

Thanks to everyone for allowing me to use their comments and special thanks to Heather Rachel for the use of selected photographs.

Canterbury Workshop - Exploring the Circle

Teddy Kempster

The group found our recent 'Freedom in Painting' workshop in the sculpture studio at Canterbury Christchurch University both intriguing and challenging.

In a series of exercise students explored the circle as a window, object,  sign, target, symbol and also as a circular space within painting before making their own interpretation of the circle. Ashley was very impressed by the strength and variety of the work produced over the 2 days, we hope you agree!
It was difficult to choose from all the wonderful work made but here is a selection of some of the paintings. Special thanks go out to Denise and Ruth for sending in the photos.

Denise Collar

I really did enjoy the recent painting course held in Canterbury last week and the experience has truly begun to liberate me into 'painting with freedom', Thank-you Ashley. The process which you planned informed us well before we began to paint and the structure of each session soon liberated each one of us into using paint to interpret the theme of the circle in so many ways. I could feel myself growing in confidence as the hours went by. What an intensive two days at an affordable cost and a really valuable investment of time for any budding artist who needs to discover their own direction,
Denise Collar

Linda Tucker

A mixture of inspiration, art, contextualisation, modelling and giving your all! I would give you a 1, that is 'outstanding' in Ofsted terms!
Linda Tucker

I've learnt  a lot more about mixing colour and documenting the mixes. Also I am much more confident about using acrylics. I really loved mixing and applying colour with the palette knife. Also I appreciate abstract art  a little more now. Lots of room in which to work - lovely!
Maria Welch

Rachel Wickremer

Maria Welch


Ruth McDonald
Sue Lock

Thank-you to everyone who came along to the workshop we hope to see you again soon.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Merry Christmas from Ashley & Denise

We would like to take this opportunity to say a BIG thank-you to everyone who has come along to our workshops, painting holidays and exhibitions and to those of you who have followed Ashley's Art, either via the Blog, Facebook or Twitter over the past year. We would also like to say a big thank-you to all of our partners and supporters who play an important part in helping to make our Painting Holidays and Workshops such a great success!

'City of Glass 8' - The Red Notebook

We wish you and your families all a very Merry Christmas and a creative, inspirational year ahead. With very best wishes

Ashley & Denise

Monday, 9 December 2013

'City of Glass 14' - (Dialogue) 120 x 80cms

Sunday 8 Dec
It's done!  And so, finally, is my Pollock Krasner Foundation application - ping, there it goes. 20 years in the making according to Denise!

Thurs 5 Dec 

'Possibly, maybe... once again I had big problems with the shock of the change in colour when I took the painting out of the lights in the studio to natural light -the painting looked terrible in daylight- especially the orange which was too dark, too dense, too cold.  This colour shift is always a problem : if you work with a daylight bulb the painting might look terrible in a gallery, so the painting has to work in all kinds of light. Anyhow, in the painting I tuned the orange up, warmed it up and made it more interesting, with the introduction of indian yellow and warm orange glazes and a greater tonal shift from top to bottom.   I did all this as a demonstration in my class at Truro College- thanks for the feedback everyone!  The title 'Dialogue' refers to the dialogue between the left and right sides, between map-shape and image- and of course 'dialogue' has a literary reference. All along I've tried to link the grids of the streets, the grid of the painting itself, my mapping-out grid with the grid of the fa├žade of a building.  The building, giant and sinister, emerged from the paint-  it appears transparent, made of glass...... It's verticality links to the pink block of Central Park, the perspective line of the roof 'talks' to the angled spike of the Williamsburg Bridge.. it seems to lift Manhattan and and make it vertical too.
I love the leverage and breathing space on the bottom edge and I’m happy that, finally, the three canvases have a reason, a purpose and the strength of the lines where they meet add to the painting. They work formally but also, as 42nd St and W107St, they are significant to the novel.

Detail: the Upper West Side, the streets where Stillman walks.......
Below in sequence are 3 previous stages of the painting:




Thursday, 14 November 2013

Chance to Win a Place on Our Sept 2014 Painting Holiday

We are very excited to bring you news that in collaboration with the new magazine, Discover Art and the art materials specialist Great Art there is an opportunity for you to win a place on our September 2014 painting holiday, along with lots of other fantastic art prizes. To enter you will need to design and create a single postcard using a media and technique of your choice. For full details of the competition pick up a copy of the magazine at your WH Smith's High Street branch or most local newsagents.

Here is a bit more information about the painting holiday prize to whet your appetite!
Taking inspiration from 4 stunning locations on the north and south coast, (Port Isaac, Trebarwith Strand, Charlestown and Polruan) Ashley will encourage you to create your own personal vision of the landscape.  You will spend 2 days on location followed by 2 full days in the studio under Ashley’s expert guidance.
Ashley will demonstrate and share many of his tips and techniques and artists will explore colour, composition, mark-making and abstraction. Included are 5 night’s accommodation, 4 full day’s tuition, all lunches and a 3 course celebratory evening meal.

Your artist tutor Ashley has a wide experience of teaching including Visiting Lecturer at Canterbury Christchurch University and has shown his work both nationally and internationally. More details can be found on Pages 48/49 about the competition. Ashley is also one of the featured artists on pages 96-98 of the magazine.
Painting holiday dates for 2014 dates are :
12th  -17th  May & 22nd - 27th  September
We are currently working on the full details for our 2014 painting holidays, watch this space for their release date. For more information about Ashley and our painting holidays visit

Saturday, 9 November 2013

New Painting -'City of Glass 13- (Entrance)'

'City of Glass 13- (Entrance)'    120x150cms     oil on canvas

This painting began in June with three Manhattans side by side (of increasing scale from left to right). In COG 2 & 9 I had two Manhattans in the same piece so why not three? A New York Trilogy? The idea was to explore space by moving the Manhattans around, touching or tucked behind each other or placed apart to see what works best.  The three shapes were connected visually by each having 42ndSt on the same long horizontal. Once again the idea was stronger than the execution - there was no space, the painting was cramped and claustrophobic so I made the decision to keep the strongest, the Manhattan on the right. There are ghostly traces of the other two in the swirling paint on the left side. I'll go back to the idea again with a wider canvas.
A friend described the shape of Manhattan as ugly - can't argue with that!- but throughout the series I have made a point of isolating and highlighting the island-shape and seeing in it the curves and proportions of the human figure.
In this painting, Grand Central Station is a door, the entrance to the implied tower in the surrounding streets, emphasised by shape and a narrower grid, with fake streets and false avenues.  I toyed with the idea of calling the painting 'False Avenues' - I love the dual meaning of 'false avenues', avenues that don't exist, out there, and the false avenues we find ourselves travelling down, in life, as artists, as detectives.......I'll save the title for another painting. The almost-solid orange Hudson River also suggests architecture, a building 'there but not there', the top cut-off and open and the left-side deliberately straight. The colour, flatness and physicality of the paint all help create space, with the purple tucked in behind, and the large curve leaving the canvas and popping up as a purple stripe in the bottom right corner.

The earliest sighting of City of Glass 13- never make an orange with Light Red!


Monday, 4 November 2013

December 'Freedom in Painting' Canterbury Workshop

We are now taking booking for Ashley's much anticipated 'Freedom in Painting' workshop Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 December at Canterbury Christchurch University.

As always Ashley will be exploring new possibilities in painting and the focus of this workshop will be the 'circle' and how you might use it in connection with your ideas and art practice. Ashley will endeavour to challenge and inspire you with his expertise of colour, oil paints, technique, mark-making and composition. Suitable for students and artists with some experience in painting.

Some comments from Ashley's last Canterbury workshop in June 2013

Ashley is always so generous with his time and knowledge, he is a refreshing and inspiring tutor.
Shona McGovern

Always good to get me painting, to be encouraged to take risks and to really look at what you are doing.
Jo Dunlop

A lively and fun course. Thank-you Ashley, most enjoyable. Re-kindles enthusiasm every time!
Tanya Remon

The New York Trilogy Exhibition continues....

Ashley's latest series of paintings inspired by Paul Auster's novel 'The New York Trilogy' continues until 25 November at The Castle, Bude, Cornwall. You can visit him as Artist in Residence at The Castle until this Friday 8 November, where he will be working on the next piece in the series.

Open Mon - Fri & Sun, 10am -4pm.
For more information see here

Monday, 28 October 2013

Ashley's Latest Exhibition, Residency & 'The BIG Draw'

'City of Glass 7' (The Black Tower)
The Castle Bude - The New York Trilogy Exhibition
28 October - 25 November 2013

For anyone who didn't get the chance to catch 'The New York Trilogy' Exhibition at Plough Arts in the summer, this is another opportunity to see the series  at the Willoughby Gallery, The Castle, Bude, Cornwall. To coincide with the show Ashley will be Artist in Residence from 28 October to 8th November, Monday to Saturday and will be working on the latest edition to the series. Do come along and visit him in the studio, if you can.

'City of Glass 4' ( Hope Falls, hopefalls....)

In addition Ashley is also hosting 'The Big Draw' at The Castle on Wednesday 30th October. Children and adults are invited to help create a huge panoramic city drawing in the studio and be part of the New York Trilogy Exhibition. Come and create your own skyscraper and stick it on the drawing (the bigger the better!) Who knows Ashley may put one of your buildings in his painting! This is a free event and all materials will be provided.

You can take part in The Big Draw until Saturday 2nd November and the 'Cityscape'panorama will be on display until the 25th November in the Blanchminster Room.

'The New York Trilogy' exhibition is open , 28 October - 25th November, Monday - Friday & Sunday & also Saturday 2nd November, 10am to 4pm.

For more information about the exhibition, Ashley's residency and 'The Big Draw'  click here 

Monday, 14 October 2013

Freedom in Painting in Porthleven - October Course

Life Boat Studio in the Foreground

Our first course held at Porthleven's Life Boat Art Studio was a great success. Ashley encouraged  a discipline of drawing and sketching around the harbour each day, which became a great source of reference for the paintings made back in the studio. With the weather better than we ever expected, the light and conditions were perfect for painting and the group made the most of the amazing view  from the studio, located directly on the harbours edge.

Our small group of 8 experienced artists were all looking to build on their existing knowledge and further their development as artists. Everyone benefited from the opportunity to focus on their work in a productive environment and over the 4 days  Ashley was able to spend constructive time with each of them, looking at their work and drawing from his experience to help push their painting further.

The artists were spurred on knowing there was an exhibition of their work on the last day and they all rose to the challenge .

Jane McClement's Sketchbook

Jane McClement's Painting

As well as the paintings, the artists sketch books were on display and visitors were intrigued to see how the drawings had developed.

Chris Salmon's Drawing

Chris Salmon's Paintings

Sara Bor's Painting

Jan Bunyan's Paintings


Well done to everyone, the exhibition was excellent and very well received.  It was great to see and meet some of the local artists working in Porthleven, including Marie-Claire Hamon and Jan Phethean.

Jane Crane's Painting

Rebecca Child's Painting

Alison Garner's Painting

Helen Herbert's Paintings

Thank-you to everyone who came along to our Exhibition and to all for coming on 'Freedom in Painting in Porthleven, the work produced in just 4 days was quite remarkable, you should all be very proud !

Open Day Exhibition

Monday, 7 October 2013

Nine Artists in Porthleven - Exhibition Friday 11th October

This week we are very excited to be holding our first ' Freedom in Painting course in Porthleven' at the Lifeboat Art Studio.

Ashley has had a long affiliation with Porthleven which began after seeing Peter Lanyon's 'Porthleven' (1951) painting some 30 years ago. It was also the place that prompted our family move to Cornwall in 2005 and the inspiration for Ashley's first series of paintings about Cornwall with , currently 18 in the series.

We have 8 experienced artists  joining Ashley and they will all be working very hard, looking to push their work even further, taking inspiration from this magical location . The last day will be an opportunity to see and buy the paintings produced - Ashley is also hoping to make 'Porthleven 19' ( working in the evenings of course!) We do hope you can come along and join us!

Our September 2013 Painting Holiday -Photos and Update

 We had yet again a great bunch of people joining us on our September painting holiday and were delighted to have another full house! As well as welcoming many new faces it was especially nice to see some familiar ones and thank you to Rosie and Hunter who had recommended us to friends - hope we lived up to expectations!

Rock and the Camel Estuary was our first location on the North coast . A favourite place, where we had taken our first group to, back in April 2011. The weather was glorious and made for an ideal painting morning with the ever changing lines of the golden sandbanks and the transparent blues and greens of the Camel river against the back drop of the green hills speckled with lemon and pink flowers.

It was then onto the Longcross hotel, for a delicious lunch before heading off for an afternoon of painting and sketching at the beautiful national heritage spot of Port Quinn. Many of the group were fascinated by the intense colours and formations of the natural rocks and stones while others chose to explore the dramatic wild rugged cliff tops.

On day two, we were in for a few surprises when we visited Charlestown , as they were in the middle of filming a Norwegian children's pirate movie, Captain Sabbertooth. Once Ashley's teaching got under way, even the film crew were interested in Ashley's tutorial and it was the first time we had encountered Charlestown with the odd palm tree thrown in for good measure! It still retained it's charm and character and there was some interesting work emerging. Once again a BIG thank-you to The Pier House Hotel for our hearty lunch, who never fail to look after us.

Our next stop was Polruan. It almost wouldn't be the same without a rain shower and although we were tempted to make a detour to the pub, it cleared up enough for everyone to enjoy the walk and viewpoints to the 12th century Blockhouse ruin and the climb to the top of St Saviour's Hill  for a panorama of the coastline.

As always, Ashley then stepped it up a gear once in the studio over the next 2 days . Colour was big on the agenda and the group warmed up with a variety of colour exercises. As well as having fun - the canvases used would later be transformed into paintings inspired from the coastal landscape from our 2 days out on location.

 Ashley continued to challenge the group encouraging them to try out new techniques using different objects to make marks. It was great to see people working in a variety of ways. Some on the floor, others splattering, dripping or spreading paint. By the end of the last day there was some really nice pieces of work made and most people had paintings that were quite different to anything they had done before.

Steve Walsh's Painting
Barbara Heseltine's Painting

Rosemary Graham's Painting's

Birgit Ackroyd's Painting
Avenda Burnell Walsh's Painting



By Friday evening we were really ready to enjoy our celebratory evening at Asquith's restaurant in Lostwithiel, (After a quick pit stop to the 13th century Globe Inn) . Thank-you Graham and Sally,  the service and food was amazing once again and it was a fantastic end to a wonderful week of painting with lots of hard work, fun and great company. Thank-you all for signing up to 'Freedom in Painting in the Cornish Coastal Landscape'. We do hope you all enjoyed yourselves as much as we did and that we might see you again soon!

Denise & Ashley

  We now have our dates for 2014:  12th - 17th May & 22nd - 27th September 2014.   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