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'Black Harbour'  80x60cms


Disparate sources providing ideas for the new painting.  Joni  Mitchell's 'Black Crow' from 'Hejira' on the way to the studio- love that album, all-time favourite. The three versions of Dufy's 'Black Cargo'. Richard Diebenkorn's black and orange 'Ocean Park 133'. The dark paintings of Jeremy le Grice at Tremenheere - stirring. 

Inky, dense blacks, mainly Prussian Blue and violet + another: Hookers Green, Magenta, Raw Umber.  A single focus - find a shape, find the shape. Paint poured and pushed towards the edges and corners, obliterating the unncessary.  Shape refined, drawing and re-drawing, exhilerating, Female. The left-side, dark to light to reveal and contrast the beauty and density of the black harbour-shape. The last act: the fat pale- blue brushmark, top to bottom- twice. Spawned by Porthleven, this painting escapes 'place' and simply 'is'.

A last look at the sea: it's relentless, like life...

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The painting from the recent Porthleven course, exploring the course-theme of 'Curve/Boat'.  Playful, graffiti marks - movement though the gaps between piers to the the two paralell lines of the slipway, top-right. Purple to purple. Shapes taken from the landscape. The shape with its scalloped-corners revealed at low tide on the top-right pier. Triangle motif,  green to set off the orange and pink. Pastel-palette- looks different. The key to painting Porthleven harbour is to find the shape- a shape, different each time, to position in the rectangle of the canvas, using the structure to structure the painting. 



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'Porthleven 30 '- beginnings..



From the moment they were resolved, I have wanted to show the two figure paintings as a pair, with the subversive, negative space of the building in 'Prophecy' on the left balanced by the building in relief in 'Coat of Paint' on the right. Side by side, they were interesting but never convincing. This new arrangement excites - the two figures seperated by 'The Space Between'.

It was meant to be- all three paintings the same height.  The dark violet-void the same proportions as the two flanking figures, its curve linking to the curve of their backs. The identity of the dark-space now multiplies: it is Central Park, the 'Space Between' West Side and East Side. It is the view through the window of the Stillman Apartment. It is an alley, through which the figures may walk. It is hierachial, with the central curve higher than the others. It is the third figure - Quinn? It is allegorical. It is the alley from where Quinn obsessively watches the apartment. It is infinity. It is 'Nowhere'. 'And this was, finally, was all he ever asked of things: to be nowhere'*

We go full -circle: we are back once again in Grand Central Station, where Quinn has to choose which Stillman to a madman, one an innocent or imposter...


* p:4, 'The New York Trilogy'

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Fowey River panorama with Village Hall studio bottom-left


Beautiful, unspoilt Polruan was our location for the latest 'Freedom in Painting' course in Cornwall. 

Subject matter was not hard to find: the spectacular diamond-shaped panorama of the busy River Fowey, the intimacy of the small working boatyard and the framed glimpses of river between buildings were the catalyst for the many strong paintings made during the five days. 


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The course began with demonstrations followed by three group exercises designed to enter painting three different ways: through colour & shape, through mark-making, and after a drawing session on location, through abstraction and extreme reduction.  Building on this, from this point on it was up to the artists to explore the relationship between line and colour and decide how much figuration/information their paintings needed or how 'abstract' or 'figurative' they wished their paintings to be.

All nonsense of course to have these labels, but the aim of the course, through the exercises, the response to the landscape, the demonstations, dialogue and a creative environment was for each artist to aquire more knowledge and ideas about painting and its possibilities, hopefully creating a desired shift in their own practice.

And to have a couple of pieces to hang on the wall!


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studio6 CopyCarol Hayslip's drawings


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 'To learn from someone who is passionate about art was fab    SUE FRAY

 'A brilliant course. It fulfilled all my goals of producing an abstract painting and learning how to loosen up my current way of working'   ANITA BONE

'Ashley keeps us on point and spends time to consider and suggest without being emphatic.Great!  CAROL HAYSLIP

'Thanks for your dedication and serious honesty'  GERALDINE FRANKLIN


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'Polruan'  25x35cms      ASHLEY HANSON



City of Glass 9 Fiction and Fact 120x200cms'City of Glass 9 - (Fiction & Fact)'  120x200cms


As the 'City of Glass' series nears completion - there is a final idea to explore - and after a time of reflection, I would like to announce, in advance, a new series '20 Books=20 Paintings' which I aim to complete by 1 September 2018. A year to find a gallery to show the series as a coherent whole. Materials are ordered: each painting will be 45x70cms.

In a shift from 'City of Glass', each of the twenty paintings will be sourced from a different novel, whose identity will remain a secret. If the viewer wishes, there will be clues in the paint and if you know my tastes....

Each of the pieces will be in the 'book-format', ie two canvases joined together, referencing both the genre and the painting as 'object'. This was a favoured format in City of Glass; see 'Fiction & Fact' above and the paintings below. And of course this years 'WestSideStory' and 'EastSideStory'.

In paralell, there will be a continuation of work inspired by the sea, the shapes and imagery of harbour-towns, the sensations of light, weather and colour. This is a lifelong series. As a discipline, I think I'll continue with the idea of a block of colour in the bottom left corner that links 'The Sea' and 'Crane (Polruan)' below, which establishes and controls the space.


cranethe seacrop'The Sea'   70x70cms                                                                                                                            'Crane (Polruan)'  40x30cms



City of Glass 10 Stillman Stillman 120x200cms'City of Glass 10 - (StillmanStillman)'  120x200cms



Diptych City of Glass 5 and 4'City of Glass 5 - (Truthville,N.Y.) & City of Glass 4 - (Hope Falls, hope falls...)'



City of Glass 11 StillmanStillman 80x120cms'City of Glass 11 - (StillmanStillman)'



City of Glass 32 The Apartment 70x100cms'City of Glass 32 - (The Apartment)'   70x100cms