A NOTE FOR YOUR DIARY:
Ashtorre Artists are busy preparing their next exhibition of artwork and are looking forward to you joining them on a 'New Journey' starting 24th August at Ashtorre...
Eleanor Russell-Hsieh's new journey has begun recently working on these original monotype prints inspired by her son's love of ocean creatures and the plight of our seas. Using a method of completely inking a plate, then using sticks, cotton buds and rags to remove some of the ink a 'subtractive' image is created. Eleanor completes the process by running this plate with paper on top through an etching press leaving her with a unique one-off print.
Jill Coughman - Work in Progress
I have been investigating, in my art, how it makes the viewer feel when looking at an image of a face and a part of that face is hidden, in this case by a hand or hands. I have tried different combinations, for example, covering the mouth, the eyes or ears. I have focused on our means of communicating.
As a natural part of this exploration, I became interested in the shapes and complexity of the hands and the fingers, and it is this area that I am now focusing on. The way that fingers are intertwined, or the shapes that two hands holding each other create, is absorbing me and I am relishing the opportunity to draw couples holding hands in my studio!
Golitha Falls. Mixed Media. The fall of white water in the deep ravines of Bodmin Moor has a dramatic effect on the cool green shadows of this enchanted corner of Cornwall. Flashes of sunlight add bold colours to the rushing waters. This painting started with watercolour moving on with acrylics and coloured pencil. The painting was selected for the professional artists Open Art Display at the Council House, Plymouth.
The group first saw John’s strong photographic work at a local art show, and so for the first time we invited a photographer to join us. The images are very striking and unusual, and we feel that they will fit in very well in this art show…after all what is art? John says "As my primary artistic medium is photography, I feel extremely privileged, and not a little apprehensive, with this opportunity. This will certainly be a “New Journey” for me.
Although I first learnt the basics back in the sixties from my father, who was a keen amateur photographer, it was the rise of digital photography at the start of this century that really boosted my interest in the subject and especially with its potential for personal expression.
Naturally, living in this part of the world I will explore the coast and countryside for subject matter, however, the urban environment attracts me more and I enjoy seeking out shapes, colours and patterns where humans have left their mark. Urban areas are also the natural terrain for “Street Photography”, a genre which I find challenging but rewarding".
For this workshop members of the group brought in an item or two and built a long still life in the centre of the studio and arranged themselves both sides of it.
Having laid out a continuous length of lining paper, each person drew on it just the objects they could see in front of them using black and white. There were overlaps and double images. Some employed solid blocks of tone whilst others incorporated very delicate lines.
For the second part of the session we swapped positions and, using a cut-out frame to isolate another person's version of the still life, we re-interpreted their drawing to produce a new image but this time in colour.
The above was intended as just a bit of fun with not too much concern for the final results, nevertheless it produced some interesting and varied images and enabled us to become familiar with one another’s way of working especially as five new members were present.
The final task however was to show the group an example of one's own work that we had brought in and give a two-minute presentation. It was good to get a taster of the extent of artwork that this 2019 exhibition will bring to Ashtorre.
As you no doubt already know, Ashtorre Artists seek to engage with young artists from the community and this year welcome pupils from Burraton Primary School in Saltash and Weston Mill Primary in Plymouth who will be showing their own interpretations of ‘New Journey’ by exploring patterns in nature especially those associated with journeys and migration.
Two members of our group, Eleanor Russell-Hsieh and Chrissie Russell, visited Burraton Primary School to work with Year 4 pupils. We looked into the reasons why animals migrate and the incredible geographical journeys sometimes undertaken. The children also studied close-up images of migratory species, in particular the Painted Lady butterfly, swallows and puffins.
To create artwork that had a strong visual impact the children were encouraged not to use pencils or rubbers but to explore the use of solid blocks of colour to create bold patterns that were not necessarily in the right colour! The results were extremely vibrant and we thank the staff and pupils for their enthusiasm. We look forward to mounting the work on screens at the exhibition in August in a way that tells the story.
Members of Ashtorre Artists had an exciting workshop in February led by Plymouth based artist Jill Coughman, centering on the theme of their forthcoming exhibition 'New Journey'.
Artists were invited to draw an imagined 'first journey' to a place they would like to visit, and from there take a variety of drawing and painting techniques using found and unusual objects, including toy cars dipped in paint or ink, and make a large painting, focusing on mark making and experimentation. Brushes and palette knives were definitely left to one side!
The final creative act involved taking a section of their large paintings, and produce a smaller, carefully observed image, again focusing on mark making, but using whatever colours they felt made the most successful image.
All artists produced a dynamic experimental piece, working outside their comfort zones, where the process was more important than the final artwork and are looking forward to the next workshop.
Ashtorre Artists' 10th Summer Exhibition
Well that's it for another year because today Sunday 9th September we open the doors for the final day of our 2018 annual exhibition of art at Ashtorre.
We had a great time doing the artwork and producing the exhibition. Feedback has been very positive so thank you to everyone who supported us by participating or visiting Ashtorre during the fortnight of the show. Let's hope we can meet up again before too long.
The upstairs studio at Ashtorre Rock on Saltash Waterside was again transformed into an impressive gallery by the twelve Ashtorre Artists for their 2018 summer expo which marked the 10th year of their shows at Ashtorre Rock.
The group was formed in 2009 by Richard Allman from Plymouth and John Forster from Saltash to create 150 images of Brunel’s Royal Albert railway bridge in celebration of its 150th anniversary. In successive years the twelve artist members from both sides of the Tamar have reunited to produce work that responds to the gallery’s stunning waterside setting. This year we have around 100 pieces on display with a diverse range of subject matter and techniques that include painting, drawing, collage and printmaking.
On entering the Ashtorre centre however, one first passes the café sideshow where artists have taken the opportunity to respond to the ‘Final Straw’ campaign for the discontinuation of single-use plastic drinking straws that for just 15 minutes use remain in the environment for 100’s of years. Many of the pieces here incorporate an element of collage, a term coined by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso from the French: coller, ‘to glue' where the artwork is made from an assemblage of different forms glued together to create a new whole
Young artists join us
This year Bishop Cornish and Burraton Primary Schools were also invited to show their skills at portraying the many ways human activity, waste plastic and pollution impact on the marine environment which is so important to us here in the south west. An enthusiastic response was received from the children who produced two large artworks on display in the upstairs gallery at Ashtorre until September 9th. One group based their work on 'Duffy’s Lucky Escape' by children's author Ellie Jackson from Looe whilst the other group researched, identified and then illustrated the many types of single-use plastic that finds its way into our oceans.
'Art in Pieces' - an interactive event
And that is not all because the show also included a section where visitors could have a go at making art for themselves by participating with others in recreating a painting from a well known Cornish artist with the final result becoming apparent as the task is completed.
How to find us
With superb views down the Tamar and refreshments available on the terrace, it’s an inspiring location for such an exhibition and well worth a visit! There's ample parking nearby and if coming by rail it is a short walk down from Saltash station. Directions and further information can be found here > find / contact us
Below are some examples of members' work...
Jill Coughman... in my work, I explore my inner and outer landscapes, trying to express my reaction to what I see and how I feel...
Circles can represent continuity, perfection, movement, femininity, completeness, fulfilment, strength, timelessness, a flat or a 3D shape, self-containment, mystery and beauty. I am drawn to them and they constantly feature in my artwork. My ‘All Fall Down’ series began as an exploration of colour mixing with oil based printmaking inks. I cut circles from squares of lino block and began the process of inking up each block individually and running it through the old press in my studio. As I got into the momentum of inking and printing, the process led to the image. Often the ideas that emerge are at first unconscious. The ‘falling down’ became the theme. I repeatedly inked up the plates and ran them through the press, leaving days between each print in order for the ink to dry. After a few days I had numerous sheets of paper hanging up in the studio to dry but few seemed resolved. I then combined prints by collaging shapes from one to the other. The result is the prints that you see...
Chrissie Russell... Inspired by my love of nature and especially plant life, botanical illustration was my first introduction to watercolour, eventually submitting paintings for the Eden Project Florilegium. Recently I have been experimenting with various printmaking techniques with the Saltash Press Gang per those shown here...
David Gamblin... has meanwhile joined a group led by Louise Courtnell at Kingsand where these 90-minute studies were done from a live model. As a student of Robert Lenkiewicz in the late 1980's Louise feels a responsibility to pass on to another generation some of what she learned, especially about tone. You will already know that Lenkiewicz spent much of his time painting the down-and-outs, the mentally ill and the misfits of society although none of these sitters here appear to fall into that category...
As a small child Rosalie was taken to Plymouth City museum and Art Gallery and saw an exhibition of work by refugee children. All her childhood work to GCE O-Level was lost when Rosalie's family disintegrated. During university in Leeds and work in London Rosalie made very few marks but enjoyed galleries and bought others' work.
On early retirement in Sheffield Rosalie could not afford full time college but took part in tuition and workshops where she learnt to make freer larger marks in various media, and also exhibited, mainly with others. Above all Rosalie wanted to return to the coast-anywhere...
In 2011 she returned to Plymouth after 50 years and finds it an ideal setting for her work.
Drawn to rocks and wild places, but also to colour, Rosalie continues to experiment using ink, acrylics, and other water based media, also beachcombing and upcycling things. She feels very privileged to continue exhibiting with Ashtorre Artists, endebted to all at The Artmill, Peninsula Arts, and many more who contribute to Plymouth's vibrant art scene.
This year we recreated a painting from a well-known Cornish artist. It was an opportunity to focus on a small section and impart one's own interpretation. In so doing the identity of the painting was revealed to be The Pier Head by Stanhope Forbes 1910, oil on canvas, 123.5 x 149.5cm currently in the Geelong Gallery Collection, Australia.
After his early training in London, Stanhope Forbes travelled to France in 1880 where he studied initially at Leon Bonnat’s Paris studio before heading to Brittany where he first began to paint in the open air, a practice he favoured for the remainder of his career.
In 1884, back in Britain, Forbes settled in the picturesque Cornish fishing village of Newlyn near Penzance, and along with his artist wife Elizabeth, became a leading figure in the growing colony of artists there and in nearby St Ives
Newlyn provided Forbes and other members of the Newlyn School of impressionist painters with something of the same quality of light they had enjoyed in France and which, along with the unpretentious maritime subjects in their midst, was a constant source of inspiration. The figures seen in paintings by Forbes and his associates were mostly modelled on the local villagers and fishermen.
In 2017 visitors enjoyed participating in recreating a painting by Renoir.
Luncheon of the Boating Party is by French impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
(Oil on canvas, dimensions 1.3 m x 1.73 m, created 1880–1881)
It was included in the Seventh Impressionist Exhibition in 1882 and identified as the best painting in the show by three critics. Location now: The Phillips Collection.
To extend the scope of the exhibition again this year to include other members of the Saltash community, two groups of young artists are also exhibiting their works. Pupils from Bishop Cornish and Burraton Primary Schools enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to display their artistic creations in the context of an established exhibition and to explore the related theme of 'Flotsam and Jetsam' with some very interesting results.
Jill Coughman, the artist who led two workshops at Burraton Primary School, explained she collected flotsam and jetsam from the beaches and shoreline outside Ashtorre and took the collected objects to her studio in order to make studies of them for her own work as well as examples for the pupils.
She demonstrated how observational drawings were made of the pieces, all quite small, broken and damaged by their time in the sea. She then investigated different areas and transferred the most interesting design onto a 19cm square. Using a limited colour range of one primary colour and its complementary opposite, she blocked in, making sure the white of the paper was covered.
The pupils all had a selection of flotsam and jetsam to make their own drawings using pencil and line only. They selected the most interesting design to draw onto their square and they too used one primary, its complementary opposite, and in some cases a brown to add colour to the design however they felt best suited their composition. They could blend and scratch (sgraffito) into the oil pastels if they felt it enhanced their art work.
Each class had approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes (including the demonstrations) to produce these fantastic images and we applaude their superb efforts in such a short space of time. The composite artwork, arranged and mounted by Jill, will be on display at the exhibition.
Here is a small excerpt of what is quite a large artwork...
Mr Jamie George, Reception Class Teacher from Bishop Cornish School explained how his class approached the project;
“We used ‘Brusho’ paint to cover our card to represent the sea. The children used blue materials, (ribbon, rope etc.) to weave through the netting. This took a lot of time and help from Kalum Wilmot (an A-Level student from Saltash.Net who is going to Plymouth University in September to study Primary Education.) We decided that this would form the main piece of artwork - representing a wave. The children then positioned the ‘rubbish'/flotsam and jetsam onto the netting/card and I stuck it down using a glue gun (wouldn't trust that class with the glue guns! Ha ha!) The children then used paint rollers to make waves for their own individual pieces and placed on portions of carrier bags shaped into boats. (They decided that lots of bags get washed onto the beaches.)"
Here is a small excerpt of what is also quite a large artwork on display until the 10th Sept...
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Whatever the weather do come and check out this exhibition by 12 local artists in an inspiring setting overlooking the Tamar on Saltash Waterside PL12 4GT and to round off your visit there's an excellent cafe/wine bar opposite! http://ashtorre-artists.weebly.com
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Slideshow of daily progress...
The 1st image (Picasso's 'Mediterranean Landscape') starts on Day 1.
The 2nd image (Henri Rousseau's 'Traumgarten') starts on Day 10.
After going to the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy in London, I was trying to analyse why I was so inspired. I think it was the variety of techniques used by so many artists using different mediums and totally varied techniques. So as I view the exhibition at Ashtorre I feel the same thing. There are painting images that are inspired by music, pen and ink drawings that I’ve seen the instigation of at Looe, monotype prints in circles using different tools for mark making. I gaze admiringly at different methods of print making including drypoint, linoprinting, collagraph and chine colle. I linger by abstract oil painting and collage and I’m inspired by the minimal lines of life drawing. There are many more techniques used here to make art. What can other people see here?
These are still at least half descriptive, a visual response to things around me. But with the WOOD CONSTRUCTIONS I tried experimenting… even just playing with the components.
Rather than responding to a subject in front of me, there was no starting point other than a selection of odd wooden pieces collected from the water’s edge from far and wide – and I started drawing or composing with shapes and textures of wood (some of which clearly had a story to tell, had bits of indistinct lettering visible or patches of distressed paint) and added more patches of colour where the wood demanded it.
Contrary to the Looe series, there is almost no illusion or visual description involved in the wood series – they are more concerned with instinct and intuition, but how do you compare the two different approaches…..? Richard
In addition to our main show 'ART ON THE EDGE' we have an exhibition in the downstairs cafe exploring the subject of 'CAFE'. Artists through the ages have been intrigued with the subject, maybe because a lot of time is spent debating ideas in cafe´s, who knows, but here we have another dozen or so new interpretations of the theme for your delictation!
* Poster image by David Gamblin and is very loosely based on the Lookout Cafe in Looe
The title of our 2016 show is 'Art on the Edge', but each artist is interpreting this differently. Some choosing to depict the water's edge, boats, mud, rocks, waves, driftwood.... but also the edge of anything (beer mugs on the edge of a table, yellow lines at the edge of the road, even the edge of a piece of paper). Some have decided to interpret the theme emotionally - at the edge of sanity, despair etc...? What would you do?
Whatever the approach taken there's a huge variety of paintings, drawings and prints here so make a note in your diary to come along to Ashtorre Rock between 20th August and 4th September and see what's been produced.
Comments from members of the Ashtorre group:
Gillian Thomas... When I joined a watercolour group some 25 yrs ago little did I foresee how my art might develop. The influence of various tutors introduced me to different media, to other ways of looking at and treating subject matter as well as considering what I was trying to achieve. Richard Allman has introduced me to new approaches to art which I have found inspiring and liberating, for which I am most grateful.
Chris Waring... I think that my artwork is always 'on the edge' simply because I rarely seem to know beforehand exactly where it will end up. I usually start with a vague idea of colour or shape but that soon gets overtaken as the work progresses. Sometimes I literally have to shove it over the edge in order to find a satisfying resolution.
After a while, and with some happy chance, it will begin to feel right and then I am able to relax into it and bring it all together.
Chrissie Russell... 2 months to go before the exhibition and I’m looking at the theme and brainstorming some different aspects of “on the edge”. Should it also include “on the edge of life and death”. Different species of the plant and animal kingdom are on the endangered lists. I’ve always had an interest in nature and in the past I’ve depicted plants in minute detail. How can I move on from this and push myself to the edge of my comfort zone? Starting by drawing or painting something everyday…anything…and see where it goes.
Rosalie Wyatt... was briefly exhibiting with a Sheffield based group of artists, also 'On the Edge'. We shared an inspiring teacher and all lived in or near Nether Edge, one of the dark peak edges which featured often in our work. There was also the idea that we were beginning to leave our comfort zones and try an abstract approach. The thicker the paint the better.
On the Edge may be a unique vantage point, a dangerous place, and some of my work involves narrow escapes from cliff falls and vertigo. There is also the notion of Outsider Art. When is one an outsider? Does one have to be mad or just amateur?
Most of my current work is from sketches on site, remembered. Some is based on dreams and extrapolations. The late architect Zaha Hadid said, "I don't really feel I'm part of the establishment, I'm not outside, I'm kind of on the edge, I'm dangling there. I quite like it."
Bethan Crane... I have completed my piece for the café exhibition. I got my inspiration in Morrisons, but I'm not prepared to say more than that!!
Last year's interactive exhibit was eventually revealed to be based on Fernand Léger's 'Les Loisirs' completed in 1949 and also known as 'Hommage a Louis David'
Here is the image as it progressed over the thirteen days it took to complete...
and here is the original...
Thank you to everyone who took part - we hope you enjoyed the journey as much as we did!
Ashtorre Artists emerged out of the Draw Bridge project in 2009 which was led by Richard Allman of Plymouth and John Forster of Saltash to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Brunel’s bridge. Each year since then the group representing both sides of the River Tamar have come together to show new works responding to the chosen theme.
The main exhibition is in the upper gallery space at Ashtorre with the much smaller café exhibition on the ground floor.
Latest details here >> HOME PAGE...
the twelve artists taking part are:
RICHARD ALLMAN, BETHAN CRANE, DAVID GAMBLIN, JANE JONES, STEPH NORGAARD,
JO ROWLAND, CHRISSIE RUSSELL, VIV SCREECH, MARIANNE STURTRIDGE, BERYL UNDERWOOD,
CHRIS WARING & ROSALIE WYATT.
Rosalie Wyatt explains...
"Journeys are in time as well as space, not static destinations but a process. it has been fun unwrapping this idea and working towards the Ashtorre exhibition. After some blind alleys i chose two important journeys I'd made, one routine and the other an adventure of a lifetime, still vivid after 48 years. Other images relate to other people's searches, and a dream."
"Making works concerned with 'Journey' was always going to be either too restrictive or too free. I chose, like most people I think, to be very free and wide with my work. At first I made drawings and prints in stark black and white concerned with the landing of a small machine called "Philae" on a comet 300 million miles away. Just about the longest journey one could think of. They were fun to do but ultimately unsatisfying.
So to give myself more scope I fell back on making work that could be associated with a journey but were really about my own experimental journey into making images that pleased me. That gave me scope to do anything that I fancied on a whim. Painting, printing and drawing as the mood took me."
In order to widen the scope of this year's Ashtorre Artists Summer Exhibition, it was decided to devote two screens for community use and invite local primary schools to join us in exploring the theme of 'Journey'.
We received an enthusiastic response from Bishop Cornish and Burraton schools who have a section devoted to their artwork. At the invitation of Burraton School, two of the artists visited classes there to talk about how a professional artist would approach a subject and explore it as they worked to produce final pieces to exhibit.
The artists showed original drawings and sketchbooks and enthused the children to develop their ideas and produce a wealth of exciting artworks. The classes involved represent the oldest and youngest pupils so we should have an interesting variety of drawings and paintings on display in the main gallery space upstairs at Ashtorre Rock.
We hope the children will bring their families to see their creations during the holidays.
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