new gallerycrop Copy


‘Repetition in painting can be pattern but also much more…

Repetition can be symmetrical or asymmetrical…

Repetition can bring order and structure, unity, rhythm, and movement to a painting..

It can be the subject of a painting…’


The latest 'Freedom in Painting' workshop was held recently at the Queens Park Art Centre in Aylesbury, exploring the idea of 'REPETITION', a theme put forward by one of the 11 artists taking part.

Of course 'REPETITION' in painting can be dull . My intial thoughts were of tedious spot paintings, Carl Andre and the worst of minimalism but then I remembered the strange and wonderful 'The Cholmondeley Ladies' and the deeper I looked into the subject, the more fascinating and richer and varied it became, also making me aware of the subconcious repetitions in my on work.


1.The Cholmondeley Ladies CopyThe Cholmondeley Ladies


The workshop began, as always, with an extensive talk referencing the different kinds of repetition in art history, taking in Pre-Columbian and Islamic art, Monet's haystacks, Warhol, Duchamp, Mondrian, Klimpt, Joseph and Annie Albers, William Scott and the work of several contemporary painters including Helen G. Blake, Sarah Morris and Jennifer Durrant.




This was followed by four quickfire exercises, looking at repetition in the grid, shape (circles), mark-making and movement, with the aim of each artist finding a particular direction to explore further with the ambition of making 'REPETITION' inventive and interesting!  On a demonstation after lunch, I chose 'repetition as movement', with a repeated motif of Porthleven harbour. Early days - watch out for developments soon.




As you can see from the selection of paintings above, each artist followed their own path over the 2 days, some working from ideas and studies brought to the workshop, others spingboarding from the morning exercises, with some very imaginative processes and results. Brenda Hurley cropped her original study into five seperate compositions (below) to inspire her painting.  


STUDIO 3 CopyBrenda Hurley - studies


 Three artists worked in a diptych format, allowing further posssibilities for their painting. I'm still not sure which version of Mitzi Delnevo's painting of the long pier in Porthleven I prefer - no, it's the one of the left, full of movement...


m2crop CopyMitzi Delnevo


I very much enjoyed my tutorials and conversations with the artists during the two days and seeing the paintings develop. There was a fantastic creative energy in the studio, with all the artists pushing their work and also learning from each other, taking advantage of precious time devoted exclusivly to painting. Late on Friday, we finished with a group critique, always enjoyable, with insightful comments and contributions from all the artists.




Before the workshop, I never really connected to the work of Josef Albers  - repetitions of squares within squares - but I was enlightened to discover in my research their fascinating source in the temples of Central America. Below are some of his perceptive thoughts on the essence of Art:


Rational functionalism is technique,
Irrational functionalism is art.

Art is creation
It can be based on but is independent of knowledge.

We can study art through nature,
but art is more than nature.

Art is spirit
and has a life of its own.

Art in its nature is anti-historical
because creative work is looking forward.

It can be connected with tradition
but grows, consciously or unconsciously out of an artist’s mentality.

Art is neither imitation nor repetition
art is revelation



'Thank-you - what an inspirational and confidence-builder the course was! Ashley was hugely kind and generous with his feedback and pointers'  HELEN SAVIN

'Very interesting and Ashley is incredibly generous with his time, commitment and help. By far the most enjoyable course I have been on'  KAREN JOY

'Ashley gave very individual feedback which helped me develop my own responses to my work. The course was very positive'  ANNE MARIE HOLLOWAY

'Thank-you. I feel I have moved forwards as an artist'  FIONA WILLIAMS

'I enjoyed the intro. talk and learning about new artists. Warm up exercises valuable'  MARION OWEN