Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Colour - An artist's ambition

Colour is one of the world's most fascinating things with many artists and scientists dedicating their lives to unwrapping it's secrets. So many elements to uncover and question; 
  • How do we see colour?
  • How do certains colours make us feel?
  • How do we recognise colour?
  • How is it constructed?
  • What if we were to change it?
  • How do others see colour?
"Penzance 9" 30x40cms oil on canvas by Ashley Hanson
I find it mind boggling to think about all the possibilities of colour and unlocking the potential in certain shades. Have you ever considered how animals see colour? or Insects? There's an interesting article on the BBC website about how bees see colour;

"Much of the coloured world that's accessible to bees and other animals with UV receptors is entirely invisible to us. In order to see that invisible part of the works, we need special machinery"

It really does make me question how we see colour and if everyone sees colour the same?
One artist who has dedicated his life to colour is Cornwall based Ashley Hanson, who's bold, vibrant paintings have a powerful and assertive presence that only few dare to attempt.

'Lights ot the West 1' 60 x 80cms
'Lights ot the West 1' 60 x 80cms
Inspired by Cornish painter Peter Layon, who's mastery of colour and form was revolutionary in it's time, Ashley lives and works in Cornwall surrounded by constant inspiration. 

"I feel it was inevitable that I would eventually settle there: it was after seeing a Peter Lanyon exhibition in Manchester in 1978, that I decided to be a painter.’’ 

Like Lanyon, Ashley is particularly drawn to the unique shapes and imagery of coastal towns with their mix of the natural and man-made. Using complimentary colours his vibrant paintings are both powerful and refined. His paintings have been accurately described as ‘a harmony of opposites‘. Since moving to Cornwall he has made series about Porthleven, Padstow and the Fowey River.

Ashley fearlessly tackles bold, intense colours and seems to go beyond our comfort zone into a dream world that demands attention.

For those of us that would love the opportunity to meet Ashley and learn about his techniques, style and unique approach to painting we are pleased to announce that there are still some available spaces on his next Painting Holiday  this September 22nd-27th but you need to book now as spaces are filling up fast! Prices start from just £395 for 5 days tuition and board a real steel for a break like this. You can find out more here: 

Painting at Port Quinn

We also have workshops with Ashley available to hire (Ashley will come to you/your organisation/group) including; Abstraction Colour Painting Workshop and Colour and Coast Painting Workshop

Be bold, be brave and go beyond your comfort zone. It truly is amazing the possibilities of colour and how we relate, communicate, perceive and explore it.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Where has our imagination gone?

Living in the digital age and having billions of images, information and inspiration available at the click of a mouse, are we forgetting how to imagine?Screaming man
How often do we head to Pinterest when we are trying to think how to do something, or what to make? Be it food, craftwork, painting, design, fashion (and almost everything else.. ) I must admit, i am regularly there! I head straight for Google, Youtube, Pinterest in a flash to get to an idea quicker than ever. I must admit that sometimes I wonder how we coped without it. Did we spend hours with our heads in books trying to find some spark inside? It seems like a lifetime ago. And is this an acceptable source of ideas? Sometimes it feels like cheating.
The last few weeks I have been thinking deeply about this; “where has our imagination gone?”.
There is SO much information available within seconds that it almost seems silly to waste time imagining something for yourself. How do we feel about this sharing of information, ideas and concepts? and how do we make time and mental space to be creative, free from the online noise?
I’m primarily a portrait artist so the route to my inspiration is generally a very simple and direct one. I work directly with the source and find that through the course of creating, i am able to draw (excuse the pun) something out of myself and the artwork. But do i allow myself to venture into the unknown enough? No, probably not. This has many factors and time is certainly one of them, so if i am looking to do something different, rather than spending months developing a new technique, style etc, i can just look online for how-to guides and general inspiration. I must admit that i feel as though i have just done confession!
So is this such a bad thing and does it mean that i have lost my imagination?
I certainly find it difficult to get outside of my comfort zone especially when using a new medium and if i don’t have access to the internet to search for inspiration, i do get a bit panicked. It seems that only when i am away on holiday and far, far away from my computer or without internet/3G access from my smart phone, that i finally find myself getting really organically inspired.
I guess it’s just an adjustment and one that, with conscious effort, can be managed. We need to strike a balance with the right measures of;

Own space and mental freedom + shared online concepts and inspiration.

It’s a difficult balancing act, but one that many artists and makers are now party to. And really, should we feel like we are cheating or that our ideas are being stolen? Personally, I think we should feel both privileged to have access to so much information and proud to be able to offer others inspiration.
So… “where has our imagination gone?” I think that through sharing our ideas and concepts we can help further each other’s imagination – as long as we allow ourselves some time away from our computers to use our own imagination too!