Ever since art college, I have long admired the paintings of Richard Diebenkorn, (above 'Ocean Park 131), beautiful and painstakingly fought for, seeing them in the flesh for the first time at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1991. At a time when artists were taking a stance about the future of painting, what painting should or should not be, Diebenkorn just followed his instincts, seamlessly switching from from abstraction to figuration and back to abstraction in the Ocean Park series, in my view one of the greatest bodies of work of the 20th Century. 

In the recent 2-day 'Freedom in Painting' workshop at Queens Park Art Centre in Aylesbury, the twelve artists looked at his work and methods and used this as a springboard into their own painting. To achieve this, each artist was asked to bring along a printed image of a favourite Diebenkorn painting and then to draw a simplified translation onto a canvas. Then they were asked to find a visual connection between between the same image in the studio and make a drawing on paper. The new drawing was then superimposed onto the the drawing on the canvas and the painting began - a mixture of art history and reality. The studio was rich with possibilities - lots of windows, exposed roof-beams, paintings, easels, tabletops, which were all inventively used and explored in the paintings below:


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'The course challenged me to explore texture and form. Loved it!' JENNY GREEN

'The workshop helped me to loosen up and look anew'  ALAN KIDD

'Wonderful! All the advise Ashley gave really helped me think about my painting - composition especially, marks and lines' APRIL JONES