We recently held our 5-day 'Freedom in Painting' course in Port Isaac, welcoming a group of nine artists from around the country. Our base and studio was the wonderful Port Isaac Village Hall, but as usual, we spent the first day on location in Trebarwith Strand (below) and then on to Bude, giving our group a wide variety of coastal landscape and location to feed into their paintings.




On the 'Freedom in Painting' courses and workshops, I often introduce something that I'm thinking about and exploring in my own work, and this year I asked the artists to consider geometry and gesture in the landscape and the contrast between the natural and the man-made, and how to find different marks or tools to reference the difference. Throughout the course, I asked to include to include a man-made element in all their work, both as a contrast and a means of control of the painting. 




Drawing from the landscape is a fundamental element of all our painting courses in Cornwall, information + imagination, our way into painting. After our field-trips to Trebarwith and Bude, on the morning second day, after setting up the studio, we set out to draw Port Isaac, from a multitude of viewpoints, working around the filming of the last series of Doc Martin!




Back at the studio, I gave a talk and demonstration about expressive painting, gestural marks using the arm, the body, that can be used o mirror the movement in the landscape. The group exercise that followed was a great way to loosen up and make new, unpredictable marks to start a painting. And paint we did! For the next three days there was a fantastic, infectious, intensity of working in the studio, punctuated by plenty of one-to-one tuition and further demonstrations, where my own piece gradually emerged, with the same doubts, wrong-turnings and dramas as the other paintings in the room! (See: 'Port Isaac (The Architecture of Sky)' )




As always, it was a revelation to view and discuss the paintings in our group critique at the end of the course. Responding to place and their studies, the artists produced an incredible range of work, underpinned by the theme of geometry and gesture. Below is a selection of the paintings and we also have a gallery on Facebook, where you can see the paintings on a larger scale. 





The course helped me to see things in a different way and focus my mind on the essence of an image. I appreciated the personal feedback from Ashley every day. I will be recommending this course to people. Henriette Busch

Brilliant as always. Antonia Glynne-Jones

I certainly found inspiration to develop my art practice, especially in the use of texture. Thanks to Ashley for another fabulous course. Hazel Crawford