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Went in again with new central stripes (below). Denser colour, more painterly, the Ship Inn, the 'eye', more prominent. The painting is raw, visceral, capturing the physicality, drama and movement of the subject. One of my best, the antithesis, I hope, of the 'tepid, polite and pointless' work described by Jonathan Jones, (Art Critic, The Guardian) in his recent acidic review of the Summer Exhibition (See: Royal Academy Summer Exhibition review – a gasping death-rattle of conservative mediocrity ) 

Dear Jonathan,

Your scathing article about the RA Summer show was a reminder of what is shallow and what is real - I would like to shake your hand! I considered changing the title of this painting to ‘Varnishing Day’ as my own two-fingered gesture…

Best wishes, Ashley


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I'm giddy with excitement: going back to the painting - risking all - has transformed the piece (3). The violence of the the sky now zigzags downwards in the harbour shape of Porthleven which sits cradled by the raging sea, linking top and bottom, disrupting the polite, almost decorative stripes. The painting below was anchored in too many places, now it's full of constant motion and menace...

Love the way Porthleven is now pivoted on the central red bar/pier, the gestural marks now have a formal, visual purpose, establishing scale and context: the existential threat becomes real...


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The sky crackles with electricity, an apocalyptic sea, the Ship Inn the eye of the storm...

And yet... I'm still looking. Love the sky, the spinning internal frame, the concept and presence of the white dot/Ship Inn as the eye of the storm, and the red brushmarks charging across the canvas. But there are questions:

The dark marks of the sea are beautiful in themselves, but not menacing, almost narcisisstic, aloof. The paint in the harbour-shape and the surrounding greens (below), although raw, have more chararacter, are more distinctive. I cannot work out my 'harbour-shape' in the above, and it worries me. Above all the violence of the colour in the 'sky' doesnt extend into the bottom two-thirds. I  don't like the 'wave' drooping downwards in the bottom-left corner. Time to clean some brushes...



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