At last after a fifteen year wait, I finally got to meet face to face with the man who changed my life. At the time he didn't even know it. So who is he and how did he change my life? He is, of course, Ashley Jackson the world famous Yorkshire watercolour artist. How then did he affect my life so much? In 1999 I had an accident badly injuring both knees. As a very active man who was still keen on sports this was a devastating blow. There was no way I could return to my former employment and I felt like my whole life had ended. Back then our only entertainment was the ‘telly’ and I spent hours idly watching while waiting for operations etc. One afternoon I came across a programme entitled ‘Painting with Ashley’. The painter was Ashley Jackson and the premise of the show was straightforward as Ashley would coax a different celebrity each week into producing a watercolour painting. He was so enthusiastic and inspiring that I got hooked. He made it seem so easy as if anyone could have a go. Merice picked up on my interest and one day returned from York bearing gifts. She had bought Ashley’s book “A Love Affair with the Yorkshire Moors”, a watercolour pad, some paints and a brush set. Now Ashley is a passionate Yorkshireman and so am I and when I watched him paint on the TV he only used four colours so that was all Merice needed to buy. The famous quartet was French ultramarine, burnt sienna, lemon yellow and Prussian blue. I spent many days looking at his book and trying to work out how he did it. Once I got a bit of mobility back we spent many hours in the Yorkshire Moors looking and sketching. I say ‘looking’ because I had now been introduced to a whole new way of viewing the world – really seeing it for the first time and admiring the incredible beauty all around us. However translating that view onto paper was a different matter. It certainly wasn’t as easy as Ashley made it look! Over the next couple of years I looked at different techniques and gradually developed my own palette and way of painting. However I never forgot my debt of gratitude for the inspirational example set by the great Yorkshire artist. I have visited his gallery in Holmfirth a few times but always just seemed to miss him though we eventually did meet up on Facebook. Imagine my delight then when I found out he was coming to Bridlington and I would be able to meet him at last as well as enjoy a three hour show of anecdotes, experiences, tips and a live demonstration. Happily both he and his wife recognised me from Facebook. They could not have been more charming and at long last I was able to thank him personally for giving me hope and purpose all those years ago. The show was fascinating. As well as many amusing anecdotes from a fascinating life, Ashley was also able to articulate what most of us feel about art today – he could never be accused of being politically correct! He talked more sense about art in three hours than I have heard during the last ten years. So once again I am indebted to this charming, enthusiastic, articulate and inspiring man for reigniting that passion that is so necessary for good art. As he explained –‘Anyone can paint a picture but only an artist can paint a painting. A picture becomes a painting when it becomes imbued with the passion and soul of the artist and his subject.’ So yes it is fine to be passionate about your art because it will show in the work and move the viewer. So once again may I say a big and grateful thank you to Ashley Jackson for inspiring me and so many others. So here's 'Full Circle' which I painted last year and is very much inspired by the work of this great artist.
|'Full Circle' by Glenn Marshall|