Friday, 21 March 2014

'City of Glass 19 - (Park Avenue)' 200x60cms

It's been a good week- I have a new painting and City of Glass 6 & 13 have been shortlisted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Fingers crossed.

The third tower-shaped painting in the City of Glass series. The shift in this piece is that the verticals of the avenues extend beyond Manhattan to the edges of the canvas: the grid of the streets connecting to the grid of the building. I am enjoying the verticality and the subtle rhythms of angles and triangles around the painting but most of all I am enjoying the colour, the new blues and greys and reds.  There are intriguing shifts in perception: what am I looking at? The view from the air, the view on the ground, an incredible giant tower, bigger than Manhattan. Is it one image or two? Is the tower solid or transparent, made of glass?  Is the image of the island shape of Manhattan seen through the tower, or is it in front of the tower,  or part of the tower, or outlandishly, painted on the tower like a giant mural? I think it is a new kind of space, slightly disorientating...

In spite of the colour, the tower- the new Babel- is oppressive, which is what I want. It has the feel of the tower of the Salvation Army training camp in Camberwell - maybe it is because there are no windows!

For a long while there was no title, which always worries me: it's an indication that I didn't yet know what the painting is about. Because of the emphasis on the verticals, towards the end the favourite was 'The Vertical City'. This changed when I put in Washington Square with a fantastic pink made from Fanchon Red by Williamsburg Paint - at one point this small rectangle was the strongest thing in the painting, not just the colour but also all the lines firing in.  But even this couldn't compete with the long red stripe against the blue, a colour heaven that grips the eyes.  

My daughter Faye said it was her favourite painting in the series. She immediately zoomed in on the saturated colours flanking Park Avenue, confirming the choice of title. (Park Ave is also, of course, significant to the novel*). Denise was missing a particular blue that had been mainly painted out and she wanted it back! I went back in the studio and added some more blues, especially to the bottom canvas, and it's made a big difference.  Thank-you girls!  Ollie likes the vertical lines carved into the paint.

The soundtrack for the painting was 'Five Leaves Left' by Nick Drake. Beautiful.

* 'The New York Trilogy' by Paul Auster.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Photos - Riverside Gallery Spring Exhibition PV

A few photos from the opening night of the Spring Exhibition at the Riverside Gallery, Barnes, London Friday 7th March.
The exhibition is show casing the work of artists Ashley Hanson, Sara Bor and Liz Hough and runs until Saturday 27th March.

It was a busy night, the gallery looked great and the work was very well received. 
A Big thank-you to Ron and Ruta  for hosting an excellent PV. Thanks to Rob Amey for the great photos!

Monday, 3 March 2014

Special Limited Offer - Painting Holidays in Cornwall


Freedom in Painting in the Cornish Coastal Landscape with Ashley Hanson

12 -17 May & 22 - 27 September 2014

Our Painting Holidays in Cornwall include:

  • FROM ONLY £365 (Including offer )

Spring is here and we have a limited offer for you!
Book by 24th April to receive a £30 discount - there is no better time to book! 
Be inspired by the spectacular Cornish coast and the generous and thought provoking teaching of Ashley Hanson

'I didn’t know what to expect—but I have been delighted that it lived up to its title ‘Freedom in Painting’ - suggesting that the painting comes first, it dictates the subject matter. Its been very useful for ideas for future work. Ashley’s a very passionate, selfless teacher. He tries to get into the mindset of each student and find out what they want to achieve. He really gives of himself. Excellent.'
Kate Newington, London

To book or find out more contact:   or call 01208 77656
See also  for lots more details

Saturday, 1 March 2014

'City of Glass 18 - (Mystery)' 80x40cms oil on canvas

Dense, intense, colour. The parallel vertical lines, echoes and extensions of the grid pattern of the streets, 'de-flatten' and twist the island shape of Manhattan, and suggest a structure, a building...
This painting began as a 'teaching' painting on last years' Porthleven course. Some fabulous blues and exciting marks but I never believed in it - why should I? - there was no time for contemplation and thought and the language was not my own. What I did keep was the blue dot on red, which became the colour-scheme and the starting point in this painting and my Columbus Circle.
'Mystery' refers to both to the experience of the viewer - what am I looking at? - and to the mystery within the novel that inspired the series.
detail:  Columbus Circle - 14th St

 *  'The New York Trilogy' by Paul Auster