Saturday, 31 May 2014

'City of Glass 22- (Cleave/The Fall)'

City of Glass 22 - (Cleave, The Fall)        120x100cms

This piece continues the exploration of the power of the divide and also references Stillman's musings about 'the fall', where, quoting Milton: 'It was out of the rind of one apple tasted that good and evil leapt forth into the world, like two twins cleaving together'
'Stillman also dwelled on the paradox of the word 'cleave', which means both to join together and to break apart'*
The idea was to split/cleave Manhattan in two, one side New York today with the grid and Central Park and the piers and the other side how Manhattan would have looked at the time of the Garden of Eden, a natural, empty landscape....
However, to establish the shape on the 'natural', before the fall, green right side, I used the grid and enjoyed the marks that appeared....then I found/made an immense red which dictated the direction of the painting.  In the early stages of the painting, Stillman's face stared at the viewer between the two sides, but then colour took over.
I have a  same sized canvas- lets see what happens tomorrow...
*from 'The New York Trilogy' by Paul Auster

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

'City of Glass 21 - (Nowhere)'

'City of Glass 21- (Nowhere)'      160x100cms

'By wandering aimlessly, all places became equal and it no longer mattered where he was. On his best walks, he was able to feel that he was nowhere. And this, finally, was all he ever asked of things: to be nowhere. New York was the nowhere he had built around himself, and he realised that he had no intention of ever leaving it again' 

The words of author/detective Daniel Quinn....*

Exploring blacks again- a rectangle of true/tube black in the bottom left corner- how to use colour to make it work...thoughts of Richard Diebenkorn's black/orange 'Ocean Park 133' and a black/orange Mark Surridge painting at his recent show at the Millenium Gallery...Manhattan fragmented, open, anonymous, nowhere, subjugated to the painting....

'Ocean Park 133'

It's Open Studios again at the Shire Hall Gallery in Bodmin, a fabulous space I'm sharing with Janie M McDonald. The dialogue has already begun.. Janie's loathing of the salmon pink led to the red found with an Alizarin glaze...I spent 3 hrs repainting the central green vertical with the difficult aim of getting a line with presence, a line that was straight but not perfect.....Denise saw the outline of a figure in the curves of the eastern shore...Quinn? Stillman?...the pursuer or the pursued?

Black is 'nowhere'

detail- COG 21

* P:4, 'The New York Trilogy' by Paul Auster

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Our May 2014 Painting Holiday in Cornwall - Photos & Update

Port Quinn in all it's glory
What a fantastic week , helped along by the glorious weather that we ordered for the benefit of all of our artists! We had a group from all over the country including Norfolk, North Lincolnshire and John from Kent, who dared to return again ( having been on one of Ashley's previous courses in Canterbury.)

Rock & the Camel Estuary

Day 1 - was spent on the north coast with a visit to our morning location at Rock and the Camel Estuary. Ashley brought the group together to begin the day sketching. Then everyone was encouraged to find their own special place to continue sketching and painting and Ashley was able to chat and discuss their work on an individual basis throughout the morning. The views were spectacular and we even saw a wonderful scene with a horse and it's rider cantering on the beach alongside their dog.

Painting in Port Quinn
It was then time to head off for a well earned lunch at the Longcross Hotel, near Port Quinn. After lunch on the way to Port Quinn we encountered another intriguing sight of a farmer with his flock of sheep in the middle of the narrow road. You certainly knew you were in the heart of the countryside. Ashley started the group off with a drawing challenge on the beach; we then headed upwards and across the fields to work from the stunning Cornish clifftop panorama. 
Painting in Polperro

Day 2 - We were excited to be visiting our new location for this year on the south coast 'Polperro ' in the morning and it didn't disappoint. Ashley set the group up for some interesting linear exercises, which really got them looking at the subject. Everyone then found their own space to work and captured the feel of this delightful working fishing village. 

The Blue Peter Inn provide us with a delicious lunch and we then headed off for Polruan our final destination for the day. Our visit started at St Saviour's Hill , practically a 360 degree panaromic view. T|he difficulty was how do you capture something so vast? We then made our way down the steep hill stopping to sketch along the way absorbing all the viewpoints until we got to the water's edge by the ruins of the old Blockhouse. 

Days 3 & 4 - In Ashley's own words 'this is when the holiday stops and the hard work really begins!' Our studio for the 2 days was a very well equipped Village Hall in St Breward, the highest village in Cornwall located on Bodmin Moor. 

Ashley started the first studio day off with a talk followed by some engaging and gestural colour demonstrations. He then went on to demonstrate various techniques of how to apply paint and create marks in all sorts of ways, using palette knife, brush , hand, pouring paint, scattering paint etc etc. It was then the artists turn and they were given a number of challenges where exciting things began to happen.

After lunch at the Old Inn the artists were encouraged to work from their field studies (the sketches and paintings made on location)  and use the skills they had learnt earlier to develop new paintings, looking at colour, abstraction and compostion at all times. During the 2 days Ashley referred to the work of a number of artists who have worked from the coastal subject and have had a major influence on his own work.

At the end of the last day Ashley led an informal discussion about all the work made with everyone contributing and learning from each other. By the end of the 2 days each artist had produced something very different to the work they had made before and there was some really exciting paintings.  

Jane's painting
John's painting

As before we celebrated all the hard work on Friday evening by a quick visit to The Globe Inn followed by a exquisite meal at Asquiths Restaurant in Lostwithiel, where we thoroughly looked after by Graham, Sally and their staff.

Fe's painting
Thank-you to everyone who came along and to all the contributors of the holiday that helped make it such a success. Ashley and I had a great time sharing with you some of our special places in Cornwall and we hope you found the holiday/course both enjoyable and beneficial.

We do hope to see you again soon.

Denise & Ashley

Elizabeth's painting
If you would like to join us on our  22nd - 27th September painting holiday in Cornwall 2014 there are still places available. For lots more information see and if you would like to make an enquiry or booking contact: or call 01208 77656.

Jane's painting

Nikki's painting
Francis' painting

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Freedom in Painting with the Life Model Workshop

Thurs 26th - Fri 27th June at Canterbury Christchurch University

Following the success of last year's workshop, we are are running another 'Freedom in Painting with the Life Model' workshop. There will be a different and intriguing approach to the subject for anyone who has attended Ashley's previous 'Life-Model' workshops, so be prepared for some new challenges!

During the workshop we will be exploring colour, mark-making, composition and the physicality of paint and the journey from drawing into painting.

'The Life Room is a special place for artists and links artists working today with artists from the past. Working from the model is a timeless, challenging and essential discipline but is rich in possibilities: the aim of this 2 day course is to build on observational skills and gain a greater understanding of painting through our own personal interpretation of the human figure.'

To book and guarantee your place : email or call 01208 77656  
16 places only

Comments from last year's workshop

Lots of new ways of looking at life modelling and ways to use materials. Educational, informative and freeing. Re-kindles enthusiasm everytime.
Tanya Remon

This is the third workshop I have participated in and I always learn something new and feel my painting is improving each time. Thank-you.
Catriona Campbell