In 1997, the painter Christopher Le Brun, then a professor at the Slade, saw Ashley’s work during Open Studios and subsequently put his name forward for a Boise Travel Scholarship at the Slade.  Ashley was awarded the Scholarship after been interviewed by Head of Painting, Bernard Cohen, Cristopher Le Brun, gallerists Bernard Jacobsen and Catherine Lampert and artist Prunella Clough. With the award, Ashley made a four-month journey to the United States, travelling around the country on trains for two months, with extended stays in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and New Orleans, before painting for two months in a barn in upstate New York, at the home of sculptor Jon Isherwood, a friend and contemporary from Canterbury College of Art.

Ashley completed twenty-three-paintings in this time including several large canvases. The smaller ‘States’ paintings were shown at Lorraine Kessler Gallery in Poughkeepsie before the whole series was shipped back to England for exhibition at the Morley and Woodlands galleries in London. Ashley returned to the series with a new, hotter palette, and the entire series, now called ‘A m e r i c a s c a p e s’ was shown at the Michael West Gallery on the Isle of Wight alongside an exhibition of his photographs from the journey. 

The ’Americascapes’ series expanded in 2006-8 with new work about New England.  Ashley had three solo exhibitions linking his US and Cornish paintings: ‘The Englands’ at Modern Artists Gallery in 2008 ‘Transatlantic’ at the University of Kent in 2010 and ‘Opposites’ at the Margate Gallery in 2013.

‘Cape Cod & the Islands’ was exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2011, and mentioned in a review of the exhibition in the Spectator by critic Andrew Lambirth.