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ABOVE JA115 Against the Winds acrylic on canvas
  • LEFT JA120 Bend to the Wind acrylic on canvas
  • MIDDLE JA119 Autumn walk, South side, Sherkin acrylic on canvas
  • RIGHT JA116 Up the Slopes acrylic on canvas
  • LEFT JA117 Battling the Elements! acrylic on canvas
  • MIDDLE JA113 Lean with the Wind acrylic on canvas
  • RIGHT JA114 Leaning Away acrylic on canvas
  • LEFT JA125 Sapling woods, One Tree Hill (acrylic on canvas) 79x78cm
  • MIDDLE JA124 Dappled Light on One Tree Hill (acrylic on canvas) 79x79cm
  • RIGHT JA125 Early Sun, One Tree Hill (acrylic on canvas) 69x69cm

Johanna Ashby

Johanna Ashby trained at Bournville School of Art and Design, Birmingham; The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art; Oxford University and Goldsmith’s College, London.

Her early career was spent painting, whilst simultaneously assisting with interior decorating and specialist painting projects. She also undertook commissioned work, including a backdrop for the London Designer Fashion Show. Johanna’s career moved into art education, she now lives in London and has returned to full-time painting.

Johanna’s work can be found in permanent collections in both England and Eire and her work has been widely exhibited through Britain and Ireland.

‘My work has always reflected a fascination with nature and its rhythms. The patterns of nature and the elements are constant references. In my youth, it was the Cornish coast that gave me the inspiration for my work. For the past decade I have spent an increasing amount of time in West Cork – Sherkin Island – where we have a home. Although very different in many ways, there are strong echoes to the images and themes of my early painting years. I tend to work in series, making extensive studies of subjects that preoccupy me. These may be close details or larger scenes, perhaps recorded in different lights. Yet I am not particularly concerned with painting ‘views’ or producing purely emotional responses; I am far more interested in exploring ways to record shapes and patterns. Most of these will be created naturally, such as striations in rocks or smooth, weathered stones; the rhythms of water buffeted by wind and land; the effects of light falling across forms and surfaces. Then there is the curiosity of our labours to arrange nature and organise the landscape – as with dry stonewalls – but then, over time, nature reclaims these efforts and re-creates a rhythm of its own. I find it quite reassuring that whatever we do is temporary and will be re-absorbed by nature eventually, waiting patiently until we’ve moved on or will blast our efforts away with one powerful act. Sometimes this means that my work can be very representational and recognisable, at other times it moves off into simplified images, although all are very much rooted in the real world.

Having had a very traditional early training with a strong emphasis on the importance of drawing, preparatory work is a crucial part of the creative process for me. Although there may be apparent wild splashes and splatters, they are all controlled and little is actually left to accident. Tight compositional structures underpin my paintings, then many layers are slowly built-up, each allowed to dry before the next is applied, creating both an illusion of and actual depth. I also like to combine media, using pastels with paint, playing, again, with the juxtaposition of elements – fluid paint with strong edged mark making .’

Johanna Ashby


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