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'Matisse & Notre-Dame' was the theme of the recent 'Freedom in Painting' online painting workshop. I have long cherished the two paintings above, which bookend the series, and I enjoyed the discovery of several more works painted from Matisse's apartment on the Quai Saint-Michel. While, perhaps, the series cannot be compared to the greatness of Monet's paintings of Rouen Cathedral, Matisse's series provides one of the most iconic and influential paintings of the 20th century ('View of Notre-Dame' 1914, above right) and shows us his influences and development as an artist. 


 jane new crop CopyJane Crane's studies and paintings


The workshop began with a Powerpoint presentation of the Notre-Dame series, highlighting the influence of Cezanne and the move away from Impressionism. We also looked at the work of Marquet, who painted similar views of Notre-Dame, Matisse's methodology of producing two strikingly different versions of a painting and the influence of Matisse on the work of Richard Diebenkorn. 


JANCROP CopyThe 3 stages of Jan Bunyan's painting


The artists were asked to produce several quick drawings from their favourite Notre-Dame paintings to find templates for their own interpretations. Throughout the workshop there were demonstrations - we had a second camera facing my painting - and individual tutorials each day where we discussed ideas and the progress of the paintings. Towards the end of the second day, the artists emailed me images of the latest versions of their paintings, which I put together in a Powerpoint for our Group Critique. 

 As you can see in the Gallery below, there was an exceptional response to Matisse's series with some amazing paintings produced over the two days - hats off to the artists!




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 'Ashley’s workshop is so complete in subject and content, the itinerary is brilliant.' Diana Kleyn

'It was the best yet! It’s hard to say what the best bits were - it was all great. Ashley, your way of doing online workshops is just brilliant! You make it personal and encouraging with the tutorials and your teaching style is relaxed and inspiring.' Beryl Hawker

'Totally brilliant two days...my art practice feels like it's gone up a notch...huge thank you Ashley!' Jane Crane