Village Green new
'City of Glass 34 - Village Green)'    70x70cms


City of Glass 34 - (Village Green) was 'Selected Not Hung' in the 2016 RWA Open.


4.30 p.m.

More clarity by extending pink border/frame to top corner. Is this it?

2 p,m.

I think I'm there. I am enjoying the reworked shapes and the warmer colours that were introduced- the earlier version below felt too crude, the palette cold, cold, cold. There is an in-and-outness about the grid that I like- sometimes linear and forward, other times 'shape' and locked, with colour creating the space. The rectangle of Washington Square is now strong, tucked amongst the pinks in the bottom right corner. The green is based a Michael Harding paint, Bright Green Lake- beware! The top section is indulgence - I enjoyed making this mark. The gestural paint and blue slash continues the movement of the fast pink marks on the right around the canvas, helping isolate the painting within a painting, the large shape of the grid.

Denise wasn't sure about the painting, thinking it too complicated, and suggested taking out the line of 8th Ave, below 23rdSt. It's made a great difference, opening up the painting and revealing the green semi-circle more. The different thing about this painting? Not a single drip.

Quinn's walk from the novel is there*: initially a strong dotted line, I've gone for subtle. There is a trace if you know where to look (see description below)

'Village Green' is quintessentially English: do New Yorkers use the phrase?


COG35 Village GreenSunday
In progress - 'City of Glass 35 - (Village Green)' 70x70cms


This much worked canvas has had many lives but never gained priority or favour. A sparse, abstract demonstration painting from the Portheven workshop tentatively became a painting about Porthleven itself before becoming an enjoyment of colour, shape and paint, with that first exercise providing the palette.

To be honest I didn't know what to do with it but seeing it on the wall after a break of a few weeks, with fresh eyes, I immediately hooked onto the pink triangle, my entry into the latest City of Glass painting. It is the 'Chelsea Triangle', formed by 24th St, and 11th and 12th Aves which I seem to have highlighted in many of the paintings in the series. My first thought was to balance the triangle with the green rectangle of Washington Square in the bottom right corner, hence the title. I'll have to fix the shape and make it a powerful green to take attention away from the pink triangle, still, in my eyes, the dominant element in the painting.

I like how the quadrilateral sits within the square, with faster marks and movement around. Organic shapes undermine the severity of the grid and the less-disciplined streets below 14thSt gives scope for angles, zigzags, real and fictitious, giving more movement.

Washington Square features in the novel, part of Quinn's meticulously described walk on pages 106-112. ...down 5th Ave to the Flatiron Building, west along 23rdSt, left down 7th Ave to Sheridan Square, then along Waverley place to Washington Square.

Quinn's walk will be plotted on the painting- it has to be there, it just a question of how strong or subtle it has to be in terms of the painting.

Here we go.

*'The New York Trilogy' by Paul Auster

City of Glass 34 watch that man
'City of Glass 34 - (Watch that man...) 120x100cms



I have redrawn the left-side of face again & also added a very subtle line of the chin. There is a definite twist to the face now, less flat. I am enjoying the composition - how the West Side follows the angle of the face and how the bulge of Chelsea is echoed by the left ear. Two more City of Glass paintings on the go now, one I started a while ago, the other with the working title 'Village Green'. Watch this space.


A few subtle changes to the Bowie outline- it now seems more varied, more interesting and truer to the image. I also added a couple of small piers on the West Side to disrupt the verticals. Listening to Young Americans. The intersection of 5th Ave and 14th St is very powerful, an unintended piece of symbolism. This painting is right on the edge.


A tribute to David Bowie, a hero...the iconic outline of Aladdin Sane becomes the framing rivers of Manhattan. The outline is not quite right, it's a little crude,a little obvious. I may re-draw tomorrow.Or not.

Choosing the title for the piece was very difficult but critical- some were obvious, others more subtle: 'Hero', 'Starman', '285 Lafayette St', '(1913-1938-197?)', 'Millions weep a fountain..'.

I've gone for 'Watch that man...' with it's dual reference: we were all watching Bowie, wondering what he would do next.

The novel 'City of Glass'* is all about watching that man...

'Watch That Man' is, of course, the opening track of Aladdin Sane..

Emotion, image, place, was more ambiguous than David Bowie. 'Ambiguous' comes a close second as a title...




285 Lafayette St


detail 5


in the studio

* from 'The New York Trilogy' by Paul Auster


Red is passion, courage, revolution, luck, blood, sin, fire.....

It is scarlet, cadmium, crimson, pink, burgundy, red earth.....

Red gets noticed....

A very challenging and enjoyable two-day workshop at Canterbury Christchurch University. Red means something different for each of us- I'll let the paintings speak for themselves....


Estelle Jourd 1Estelle Jourd


Antonia Glynne Jones
Antonia Glynne-Jones


Phillipa Langton1
Philippa Langton


Heather Rachel
Heather Rachel Johnston


Nicola Waters
Nicola Waters


 Robin Acer
Robin Thompson


Aiden Flood


David Carnegie
David Carnegie


 Jo Rollnick 1
Jo Rollnick


Mitzi Delnevo
Mitzi Delnevo


Catriona Campbell
Catriona Campbell


Jo Dunlop
Jo Dunlop


Heather 2
Heather Rachel Johnston


Jo Rollnick 2
Jo Rollnick


Studio 7
In the Studio


Colour studies


Studio 8
In the Studio


There was another artist, Kathleen Alberter but unfortunately we don't have an image of her striking painting. Watch this space.

Here are a few comments from the artists about the Workshop:

'Really thought-provoking'   David Carnegie

'Well prepared. Very positive and helpful guidance'   Robin Thompson

'The individual comments on my work were really useful and insightful...Ashley's passion for art was unflagging and fed through to everyone'     Aiden Flood

Sunset Ltd
'Sunset Ltd' 120x120cms


The third and fourth paintings in the Amtrak series, showing the journeys from Los Angeles to New Orleans and then back to New York.

As well as referencing my travels, 'Sunset Ltd' was also driven by the challenge of making a circle work in the centre of a square. Before this piece I had had a rare commission where part of the brief was to place a sun in the centre of the painting. I struggled with this and moved the sun slightly towards the bottom edge, breaking the perfection.

in a way,I felt I had avoided the challenge so I made an identical 120cms square canvas and screwed down in the centre a circular piece of wood that had been hanging around in the studio for years. The idea didn't come until a few weeks later when i read 'Sunset Ltd' by James Lee Burke where New Orleans and the train-line feature.

The expressive brushwork of the oceans spins around the still centre, flamboyant shapes continue the movement across Canada. Desert colours, the Great Lakes like palm trees. Within the plateau of the circle is the image of a sun setting behind a mesa, which also reads as the Texas and painting truth, plan-view and frontal view, once again intertwine.




'Crescent' below shows the last leg of my journey from New Orleans to New York. It is a strange piece, sweet colours, the pale-blue hints of sky and I see the image of a horse.


Crescent 55x50cms

Self Portrait
'Self-Portrait' 70x45cms oil on wood


My daughter Faye is working on a self-portrait in the style of Matisse for her art homework and it made me think of this painting, a rare self portrait. An antidote perhaps to all those recent red paintings. Strange, I cannot remember when or where it was made but possibly early nineties, Camberwell or Nunhead. I would have been looking at Auerbach and I was definitely looking at the Bellini's 'Portrait of Doge Leonardo Loredan' in the National Gallery.


London National Gallery Top 20 06 Giovanni Bellini The Doge Leonardo Loredan


The painting reminds me of the advantage of painting on wood - I must have been broke- where you load on the paint without picking up an impression of the stretcher bars. Though wood does weigh ten times as much!

I'm enjoying the richness of the brushwork and mark-making, the paint itself, and it's a pretty good likeness with the blue background representing the sea and it's importance in my life and my art.





detail 2