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Pushing this painting further has paid off. A conversation with artist Jane Crane about the angled line lon the right led to the introduction of a horizontal line, bringing a new tautness and tension to the composition, an element counteracting, tugging against, the weight of shape, paint and colour that tilts to the right.

Freedom...and control. 


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There was a kind of pressure to make 'Porthleven 50' a landmark painting and I feel I have achieved that with the five decisive actions in the session this morning. First was a long straight line of shifting colour, to give direction and control to the organic marks, followed by a large black dot to strengthen the two intersecting lines and define the harbour entrance.

Next I simplified the left-side, flattening the colour which made the yellow central vertical pop out even more. Then I brought in a new stronger orange mix towards the top - based on the juggernaut Old Holland Cadmium Orange- slightly lighter in tone which reinforced the weight of the shape.  The final mark was a small, sharp horizontal of Brilliant Rose - towards the bottom of the left corner - to switch the direction of the eye. 


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Looking for weight of become my harbour...

The emerging orange mass is now stronger and clearer (above), the left-side described by a cascade of varied marks of ripped and scraped paint and punchy colour. (detail 1). A new sheet of a liquid Indian Red/Cadmium Yellow mix across its centre adds weight and complexity. Overall, the colour is a little muddy - looking forward to mixing new greens and oranges and bringing more light to the left-edge. 


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A sense that something had to happen in the neglected top-left corner. With the wilder marks, the painting now feels/looks more complete.


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A figurative beginning leads to something far more interesting. This painting is now full of movement, with the repeated motif of triangles, angled lines, levers, openings, fast marks and a powerful corner to corner dynamic. The idea of harbour- stasis and movement - a breakthrough painting.


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A much stronger painting after a rework - escaping the tyranny and fragmentation of the grid. With tuned-up colours and differing scale of shapes, the painting is more spatially complex, the squares now free and moving, popping forwards and backwards and around the canvas. Within the spread of red, the outlined red shape (below) - critical to the narrative - is much more prominent. Green triangle becomes red. Without thought, the painting seems to be divided into three sections, perhaps subconsciously mirroring the structure of the novel. 


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A few adjustments: working the lines, adjusting colours and bringing the right-edge into the painting. Loving the new blue square, top right...


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New painting in the '20 Books=20 Paintings' series, to be shown at Linden Hall Studio, Deal in Feb 2021...

A painting structured in place, anchored and entered by the dynamic 'v', with a palette of the sea...and violent death. 

In a different approach, I chose the city, then found the novel. A tale of crimes, but there is no detective stalking the pages in this one.

The fluidity of ideas across genres: a painting sourced in a novel that in turn references film...and literature: "There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide."


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“Photography is about death. It preserves the illusion of a past moment that can never be re-enacted.”



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A city by the sea...





The gallery above is from our first online 'Freedom in Painting' workshop, where over two days, the 10 artists explored a shifting relationship between ‘Image & Ground’.  

Working with an image of their choice, the artists were encouraged to move away from pre-conceived ideas and to embrace the uncertainties of the process, looking for clarity, balance and surprise in their work.  

Following the format of our physical workshops, we began with a Powerpoint presentation (from Rembrandt portraits to contemporary painter Alex Hanna), followed by a series of demonstrations and group exercises, alternating between image and ground.


lupe editLUPA CUNHA'S second painting: in progress (left) and  at the end of the workshop (right)


The artists were asked to photograph their work during the various stages and then email to me for individual tuition and to share during the Group Critique at the end of the workshop. 





As it was our first online painting-workshop, nobody knew quite what to expect, including myself, but from the feedback it was definitely a success and something we will continue in the future with a few tweaks (I need more time to edit the images of the artists work!). The ZOOM platform was really good and easy to use. Like any workshop, it was a good place for listening in to conversations about other peoples paintings which can be beneficial for your own work.


ASHLEY BLOGMy demonstration painting: 'Porthleven 49' - in progress


The 'image and ground', the yellow and pink, seem to cancel each other out. Where to next? - I think the pink is going to invade the yellow...



'The workshop worked out really well. The preamble is always excellent with a great selection of appropriate artists work to inform and inspire'  CAROL HAYSLIP

'Ashley gave us an informative, content-rich two days with a nice relaxed feel to it which was good to take part in.'  LUPE CUNHA

'I learnt a lot both for my own practice and about others -  I did enjoy eavesdropping on the other tutorials and the critique at the end'  ADRIENNE 

'It was a good couple of days and hope to come again. I thought your demos were good and the one to one worked well'  KAREN MARTIN


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A flamboyant painting - joyful. A tropical-palette of sizzling oranges, cool greens and a yellow punch. The painting is structured on a shape found and formed in layers of liquid-colour (1) & (2), the harbour-shape refined and defined with elegant-line and punctuations of image, a shape within a shape within a shape. In the final stages, the introduction of a new building - forming a triangle of buildings - brought further complexities to the design, adding diagonal movement across the harbour and its' diamond wall echoing both the shape of the pier above and the space between the four piers...


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Curves and geometry in harmony... and a fabulous tension where the bulging green, hot orange and delicate drawing all meet...




'Rose Harbour' & 'Orange Pier' look sensational as a pair - same subject, same thinking, same methods, same verticality and dynamism, same dialogue between the organic and the constructed landscape - but two very different interpretations of Porthleven. Abstract, figurarative..just labels, who cares, both these paintings have their own strength and beauty.


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