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Porthleven - The Old Lifeboat House on the left


The Old Lifeboat House in Porthleven, Cornwall once again became the perfect studio for our 7 experienced artists from all over the UK. Porthleven delivered - wild weather and big seas followed by beautiful sunny days, giving our artists plenty of inspiration for their paintings. Under Ashley's guidance the artists worked extremely hard resulting in a very strong and eclectic exhibition by the end of the week.




On Sunday afternoon the artists had their first experience of the studio's stunning location, with the sound of the sea through the open door. After setting up their space, Ashley gave a brief talk about the aims of the course and an insight into the week ahead before hosting an 'unofficial' meeting at The Ship Inn next door - a great way for everyone to get to know each other.


Hils Sketchbook


Stormy Weather Photo - Courtesy of Hils


The dramatic weather on Monday morning didn't deter our group - they were excited! Many wonderful weather-charged drawings were produced during that first session around the harbour. Back in the studio, Ashley then set a series of challenging group exercises throughout the afternoon, exploring different ways to start a painting.

During the next few days there was a mixture of outside drawing exercises (weather permitting) and demonstrations from Ashley. As part of the course, Ashley worked on his own Porthleven painting, giving an insight into his ideas, methods and techniques- which the group seemed to love. Most importantly, each artist pushed their paintings forwards, finding their own personal vision of Porthleven.


Ashley and Jane in the studio


Ashley entered into a dialogue with each artist, offering advice about where their painting might go and introducing them to the work of other artists including Terry Frost, Peter Lanyon and Alfred Wallis amongst others. A great camaraderie was formed and everyone was happy to share ideas and discuss each others work.


Diane painting


Freedom7Antonia sketching


Ashley instructing for a drawing exercise


After the clear up!


Friday was Private View day - but not yet! All the artists worked right up until the 12 noon deadline - before the big clean up. The afternoon was spent transforming the studio into a gallery, ready for the exhibition opening in the evening - it was now that the artists could see their work properly for the first time .


Friday night Preview


Speaking about the exhibition, Ashley said 'The work is very inspiring, I know Porthleven very well but the artists' paintings are making me see it in a different light. It 's fascinating to see how, during the week, some artists have moved from abstraction into figuration and others from figuration into abstraction. I would like to congratulate them all.'


Diane Bedser


Antonia Glynne-Jones


Hils Tranter'


Jane McClement 


Erica Shipley


Jo Rollnick


Mitzi Delnevo


Ashley Hanson- Porthleven 21


The Preview was a great success and one of the strongest paintings from Jane McClement was quickly snapped up. Following tradition the artists and guests (including the younger Hansons) celebrated with a delicious dinner at Amelies. After dinner I made a special presentation of one of Ashley's Porthleven prints to Jane, who has been on one of our courses every year, since our very first Painting Holiday, five years ago.


Celebrating at Amelies


Making my presentation to Jane


The exhibition continued all day on Saturday and the artists enjoyed chatting to the many visitors about the work. Ashley particularly enjoyed the conversation with Stephen Rod about the history of Porthleven and its' harbour.


Dramatic Porthleven


Freedom in Painting does what it says on the tin! The concept acknowledges that artists cannot stand still and all our workshops/holidays are designed to encourage artists to explore the possibilities in painting and to move their practice forwards - well done to our latest Porthleven group for your hard work, for taking the principles on board, and producing such amazing paintings. We hope to see you again soon!

Denise & Ashley

If you are interested in joining one of our Porthleven courses next year. The dates are:
Sat 21st - Fri 27th May & Sun 2nd - Sat 8th October but hurry as the courses are filling up fast! Contact for more details.

Porthleven 21
'Porthleven 21'   90x60cms

A bit of weather in Porthleven....mad seas, safe harbour.

Port Isaac


Cornwall was really at it's best for our September painting holiday, treating us to an array of both glorious and wild weather - perfect for capturing our artists imagination in their work made during the course.

Glorious Trebarwith Strand


We were once again delighted to have on board a few familiar faces along with our new artists looking to discover their own personal 'Freedom in Painting' experience - with Ashley's help of course! The group were a great mix of varying abilities and as well as benefiting from Ashley's group exercises and individual tuition, they were able to learn and engage with each other's work, through group discussion and the sharing of ideas.

As always, everyone excelled themselves and there was was some fantastic work made by the end of the week. Here is an insight in to the week.....


Philippa painting in Port Isaac

Day 1 - The North Coast. Port Isaac was our first point of call. Now famous for the Doc Martin series - we love it for its multitude of spectacular view points from above and below, its unique fishing harbour and backdrop of dramatic granite cliffs beyond. Ashley began the morning with some quick sketching exercises from different viewpoints to get the group warmed up before the artists were encouraged to find their own special place to sketch or paint from. He then worked his way round to everyone discussing their sketches and ideas. What luck - we witnessed a seal swimming out to sea and a couple of a rainbows - all in the same morning!


Trebarwith Strand


Lucinda sketching in Trebarwith


It was then on to Trebarwith Strand for a delicious lunch, overlooking the bay at The Port William Inn. Trebarwith never fails to deliver with its wild crashing seas and view of Gull Rock in the distance - it has a special magic all of its own! Ashley kicked off the afternoon by taking the group to a spectacular viewpoint for some more drawing challenges and then everyone discovered their own favourite place to work from.



Ashley with Janet in Polperro


Day 2 - The South Coast. Charlestown was to be our original morning location but we had discovered the BBC were filming the second series of Poldark, so rather than risk any unwelcome interruptions, (unless of cause you prefer more figurative painting!) we headed off to the fishing village of Polperro - full of Cornish charm. Here the group enjoyed the contrast to the north coast's landscape and Ashley got them thinking about putting down ideas for paintings, once back in the studio. By midday everyone had worked up a good appetite and the excellent lunch provided by The Blue Peter Inn was a welcome break.


Amazing skies in Polruan


Lucinda's sketchbook


We then headed down the winding lanes to Polruan - another favourite spot and the last of our four inspiring destinations. Here Ashley introduced some linear drawing exercises from this amazing panorama and for those who wanted, there was more to sketch and paint, on the way down the hill and at sea level with the 13th century Blockhouse, harbour and shipyard. Our artists were ready, excited and maybe just a little apprehensive of what Ashley had in store for them in the studio over the next few days!



Days 3 - 4 In the Studio. Our studio base for the next two days was the excellent Village Hall in St Breward, located high on Bodmin Moor and in Ashley's words 'this is when the holiday ends and the hard work, really begins!' The first morning was devoted to group colour exercises- experimentation and having some fun with colour. After a hearty lunch at The Old Inn Pub, (next door) it was then time to begin work on the artists own paintings.


Ashley demonstrating




Catherine with her painting in progress


Over the two days Ashley showed the group a wide range of tips and techniques and opened up many new possibilities for working with paint. As well as plenty of demonstrations, there was time for Ashley to discover what each artist hoped to achieve in their work and Ashley set out out to help them achieve this. He also introduced the group to a number of artists that have had a major influence on his own work.

There were plenty of surprises and although the artists were sometimes out of their comfort zone they enjoyed being challenged and seeing a totally different outcome. By day two in the studio the paintings were really starting to take shape and some really exciting work was evolving.


Margarita painting


Malcolm's painting in progress


As always the last studio day ended with an invaluable group critique about the work made with everyone learning and contributing from each other.


Janet's painting


Mandy's painting


Roberta's painting


Joy's painting


Philippa's painting

Margarita's painting


Our painting holiday finale wouldn't be the same without our celebration meal at the wonderful 'Asquiths ' restaurant in Lostwithiel, (after a swift pint at The Globe Pub beforehand.) It always seems like a fitting end after all the hard work put in by everyone throughout the week!


Christina's painting


Detail of Lucinda's painting in progress


Lunch at The Old Inn, St Breward


A BIG thank-you to all our artists who signed up - we really hope you found Ashley's tuition and guidance beneficial and also another BIG thank-you to all our contributors, who help to make our painting holidays such a success, as we couldn't do it without you!


Kathleen's Diptych


Muriel's painting


Juliet's painting


Carolyn's painting in progress


Catherine's painting in progress


If you would like to join us on one of our Freedom in Painting holidays in Cornwall next year, the dates are :

9th - 14th May & 19th - 24th September 2016

To find out more about Ashley's art practice, painting holidays and courses see our website here .

If you would like us to keep you updated, join our mailing list and we can let you know as soon as new details are released along with any special offers available.



Their are some very talented artists joining Ashley and it is sure to make for an exciting exhibition. Porthleven (Cornwall), continues to inspire many of Ashley's own paintings and he is hoping to complete number 21 in the series .

As well as paintings, sketchbooks and sketches will be on display, helping visitors engage with each artists painting journey.

The Preview is on Friday 9th October, 5- 7.30pm, where you can meet the artists and share a glass of wine and the exhibition continues on Saturday 10th October , 10-5pm. Entry is free and we would love you to join us!

For more information call Denise on 07957 665378

Black Beach 60x60cms 1991
'Black Beach'    60x60cms   oil on wood 1991


It's about time I put a painting up - 'Black Beach' won Second Prize at the Hunting Art Prizes, back in 1991, presented by Sister Wendy. The painting went to Australia shortly afterwards, one of the girls who worked in the Mall Galleries where the exhibition was shown. If you are out there please get in touch. Still looks strong, one of my best pieces, I worked on it for nearly a year. Every mark belongs, a still centre, almost a still-life in a landscape. Beautiful blacks, all made. Innovative - I remember cutting and rolling/removing paint around the edges to make the frame- obviously influenced by Howard Hodgkin. In the Observer, critic Brian Sewell commented that the painting 'looked like the tarred surface of a London street'. Still not sure if that's a compliment!