LIVE ART CHAT May 2022 Loving New Directions

Welcome to a new episode of LIVE ART CHAT. In this episode Lin and Sally-Anne chat about new work and new directions and the challenges this can bring when the work is ahead of our understanding of what it is about or even where it is heading. They take us through some recent paintings and look at processes, materials and inspiration.

Colour Mixing Taster

Colour Harmony

In this short live demonstration I am giving you an example of the kind of exercises, teaching and materials you can expect from my international online abstract art course Directions in Abstraction.

In this short colour mixing exercise you will be able to begin to explore some of the following questions:

How do you find your preferences and palette in how you use colour?

Are you drawn to strong and unsaturated colour or more muted and unsaturated hues?

Are there particular colours you keep repeating in your work?

What range of colours do you notice in your work?

From the exercise in the video you will see how to use colour to create more harmony in your work and so use colour expressively.

Exploring Colour Harmony

This is an exercise to explore creating colour harmony. For this exercise choose three colours. I suggest that you do not use the three primaries yellow red and blue but a different combination. An example might be cadmium red, sap green and cerulean, or vermillion, yellow ochre and cobalt blue.

The process is a simple one and begins with mixing a harmony colour from the three colours. You will then go on to create a wide spectrum of new hues using this fourth colour mixed in different amounts with your original three colours resulting in an exciting range of colours which harmonise.

Put a generous amount of each of the three colours on your palette. Roughly about a good tablespoonful of each. Then take an equal amount of each (about a teaspoon of each this time) and mix these together on your palette to create a fourth “harmony” colour.

You can use your sketchbook for this exercise or a large (A3 or bigger) piece of paper.  Now divide your page horizontally into 5 segments. You are going to paint a series of small squares of colour, moving horizontally across the page using incremental amounts of each of your starter colours mixed with increasing amounts of your harmony colour.

Begin with one of your original colours. Paint a small square on the left-hand side of the page using fully saturated colour straight from the tube. Next, mix a small amount of the harmony colour in with this original colour. About 10% mix is a good place to start. Paint another square next to the first one. Take a moment to look at how the colour has changed with this small addition. Continue to add incremental amounts of the “harmony colour” to this mix, painting a square each time. Stop after each square and notice the differences.

Experiment with adding this harmony mix to your other two original colours in small incremental amounts. Create another grid of small squares as you are doing this. With this exercise, it can be useful to keep notes of what each row is and the proportions of paint added. Notice the way the colours interact up and down your verticals and across the horizontals. Are there any particular hues that really catch your eye? Make a note of the ones that you really like and also the ones you do not.

Other variations on this exercise are to repeat the process above with each colour plus the harmony colour, then to add separately a row using white, black and then grey.  The variations are many!

Sketchbook Practice

Play in your sketchbook with more colour.  You might like to repeat this colour exercise with a range of different colours.  Maybe choose some colours that you habitually find in your work.

If you use Pinterest you might like to begin some boards about colour.  See what kinds of hues really speak to you in other artists’ work.

You might like to collect items with colours you like, or photographs of colours that appeal to you.

Reflections and Mindset Work

What did you find interesting or exciting from the colour mixing exercises?

What have you learnt from this exercise about the qualities that are important to you in your use of colour? See if you can come up with lists of words that express this for you.

How easy or difficult did you find the exercise?  What were you telling yourself as you were completing it?

Look at some of your existing work. What do you notice about how you have been using colour? 

Are there colour combinations that you repeat? Are there colours that you don’t use? What do you find yourself strongly drawn to?

You can download this exercise as a PDF below.

If you enjoyed this exercise and want more then please do take a look at my international online abstract art course Directions in Abstraction.

LIVE ART CHAT August 2021 Inspiration & Intention

This is the fifth episode of Live Art Chat and I hope you are enjoying this venture.

This month is with Lin again from Buxton talking inspiration and intention. Lin has recently been inspired by a the colours in a vase of flowers that were used as decoration at her Open Studio. This led on to her exploring these colours in some recent small works. Lin and Sally-Anne talk about how important following your creative impulses and ideas can be. The demonstration is about working over previous paintings and bringing in the new themes.

As we approach the half year point Lin and Sally-Anne are interested in your feedback and response to LIVE ART CHAT. If you have a comment for us please use the form below to let us know your thoughts.

LIVE ART CHAT July 2021 Collage

In this episode we return to Sally-Anne’s new studio in Southend-on-Sea where she is preparing for an in person workshop on using collage in abstract work.

Lin and Sally-Anne talk about how they find that art mirrors life in offering a way to express through their creativity experiences that they may be facing in their day to day lives. The demonstration this week is from Sally-Anne on how she makes use of collage in her work.

LIVE ART CHAT is a monthly online event where we demonstrate and chat live about art, creativity and how we make our work. Find out more about LIVE ART CHAT here.

The next session is on Friday 13th August at 3pm UK time and it will be Lin’s turn to demonstrate. To join us live hop on over to the registration page and join the LIVE ART CHAT list to get the monthly reminders and links for ZOOM.

You need only register once to receive monthly reminders for each session. You can unsubscribe at any time.

LIVE ART CHAT June 2021 Reworking an Old Painting

Back to Buxton, Derbyshire UK and live from Lin’s new studio in her home for the third episode of LIVE ART CHAT.

In this episode, Lin talks about moving into her new space which has meant an exchange of rooms between office and studio. She speaks of the mindset challenges in taking a large central room in her house. And then in the upheaval of moving, Lin has found an old painting that she has decided to work on. In the demonstration, Lin shows us how she approaches reworking this older piece.

LIVE ART CHAT is a monthly online event where we demonstrate and chat live about art, creativity and how we make our work. Find out more about LIVE ART CHAT here.

The next session is on Friday 13th July at 3pm UK time and it will be Sally-Anne’s turn to demonstrate. To join us live hop on over to the registration page and join the LIVE ART CHAT list to get the monthly reminders and links for ZOOM.

LIVE ART CHAT May 2021 A New Studio

The second episode of LIVE ART CHAT with Sally-Anne Ashley comes live from Sally-Anne’s new studio in Southend on Sea. Before the painting demonstration, we take a look around the new space and hear about Sally-Anne’s exciting plans for art workshops and Open Studios.

In this demonstration, Lin and Sally-Anne talk about making intuitive starts in their work. We also talk about the importance of surface texture, how to make your own gesso and ways to incorporate drawing into your work. Sally-Anne also shows us how she works flat in the early stages of her work manipulating and moving paint over the surface to create subtle and interesting effects.

LIVE ART CHAT is a monthly online event where we demonstrate and chat live about art, creativity and how we make our work. Find out more about LIVE ART CHAT here.

The next session is on Friday 11th June at 3pm UK time and it will be Lin’s turn to demonstrate. To join us live hop on over to the registration page and join the LIVE ART CHAT list to get the monthly reminders and links for ZOOM.

Live Art Chat April 2021 The First Episode

The first exciting episode of LIVE ART CHAT with Sally-Anne Ashley where each month we meet up on line to demonstrate and chat live about art, creativity and how we make our work. Find out more about LIVE ART CHAT here.

It was great demonstrating from my studio chatting with Sally-Anne. We talked about creating interesting surfaces to work on, the differences in the way paint will react on paper, canvas and board. What it’s like to work with a structure and framework in abstract work and how this can be helpful in bringing intention to the work and making decisions. We also talked about how to make a start when I know when to begin making more conscious decisions about where to go next.

The next session is on Friday 14th at 3pm UK time and it will be Sally Anne’s turn to demonstrate. To join us live hop on over to the registration page and join the LIVE ART CHAT list to get the monthly reminders and links for ZOOM.

Integration and Authenticity

One of my big goals for this year is to have a lot more contact with people who may be interested in my art, or me as teacher and coach. So, I’m doing a lot more videos on Facebook and Instagram, posting more regularly about what I’m up to. However, as there is only so much time in a week, it has meant I’ve been doing less writing. A recent short video on IGTV (You can see it here) on how to find integration and authenticity as an artist has prompted me to the laptop as I really wanted to say more about the ideas I was talking about, so I thought I would expand on the video with some more information in a written post.

The image above is how I have been thinking about how we develop as artists. I also use it to guide me when coaching and teaching artists. I find it useful as a way of thinking about what we might need to pay attention to in our learning. Each of the overlapping circles represents different aspects of being an artist. Our inspiration, how to draw and paint – or the theory of art, and our art practice. Finally, the surrounding and all encompassing circle of our artist mindset or the person themselves.

Looking at each of the elements in turn and in more depth.

Artistic Inspiration

On one level our inspiration can seem to be quite obvious, “I like buildings,” “I like landscape.” However in this area it can be very helpful to take that to the next level and dive deeply into the depths of your inspiration. As we explore in some detail what it might be about landscape or buildings that is inspiring, we are likely to discover more. When we take a close look at the what, how and why of our inspiration we understand more about ourselves and our work. To ask the question why and keep asking it until you can go no further in your answers can reveal useful information and ideas.

Theory of Art

Looking next at theory of art this is often about how to draw and paint and where many artists start. This circle represents all of the bed rock skills we need to grasp as we set out in our artistic journey. Included in this area is learning about materials, composition and design, colour, texture. All of the practical skill needed to make paintings whether they are representational or abstract. There is a huge body of knowledge that we acquire over the years and this never ends. Lots of arts workshops fit into this category, for example how to paint landscapes, how to collage, use watercolours, do printmaking etc.

Art Practice

If theory of art is about the technical skill of drawing and painting then the circle of Art Practice is about how we go about actually making our art. This area can include everything from how we lay out our studios, through all of the many practices that we put in place to support ourselves as artists. Practices like how we use our sketchbooks, keeping our inspiration alive with regular gallery and museum visits, looking at and reflecting on others work, peer group discussions, creative playing, the frequency, priority and time we give to these activities.

The heart in the centre of the model represents the integration of these three elements. It is through integration we can get to a place of authenticity and the heart of who we are as artists. We can know the theory of art – how to paint and have a good art practice but without a solid connection to our inspiration our work may lack consistency and strength. It might be technically accurate yet lacking in soul.

When we know our inspiration and theory of art our work might be full of soul, consistent and technically good but we might struggle to develop our ideas and make work regularly and consistently without a solid art practice to underpin what we are doing.

Finally we may have a good art practice and be connected to our inspiration but without the technical understanding we may struggle to create works that are strong and appealing visually. We may also have difficulty in being able to critique our work and know how to make it better and stronger.


Hopefully these examples of what can happen when only two elements are aligned demonstrates how the integration of all three is key to making strong authentic work. We need to have technical skill to make the work, to be able to critique it to make it stronger. We need to be connected to our inspiration to know why we are making it and for it to reflect us as artists and have soul. We need a robust art practice to enable us to support ourselves in the making of the work and our own development as artists over time.

Surrounding all of this is mindset. Because even with an integration across the whole, where our inspiration, theory and practice is aligned and we are attending to all three elements, our mindset can impact on the work. If we are carrying negative messages and limiting beliefs then these can stop us in our tracks. In fact I think we are unlikely to get to a place of integration and authenticity because the messages will get in the the way of it happening.

How do we work towards integration? I think it is an ongoing process of development and self discovery. Asking ourselves questions to identify where the area of development is can help. Is it mindset, theory of art, inspiration or practice that I need to work on? However like many things this kind of process probably works better with help rather than alone. It can be very hard to see what we don’t know. A habit of regular art journaling can be useful, along with a supportive group or objective third party like a coach or teacher. Any or all of these things can be a great help in supporting and identifying what to focus on.

Sound useful? I hope so, please let me know what you think in the comments section below. If you’d like to explore this with me personally, you can book a 20 minute free chemistry check to find out more about working with me as your coach here.

And find out first about new work and what I’m to with my monthly newsletter here.

Marketing Starter Tips

I’ve recently been having fun posting short videos over on IGTV. Some are about artistic process using my knowledge and skill as a personal development professional . This latest vlog is about marketing where I draw on over 25 years experience of having my own business and working in marketing to give you my top three tips for artists who want to begin marketing their artwork.

Here’s the video from IGTV

And here’s the link to my newsletter if you’d like to find out more about what I’m up to. And don’t forget my new year competition is still running where everyone on my newsletter list will be entered into the draw at the end of the month to win this painting.

First Steps in Art Making

Photo by Pixabay on

People often say to me when I’m exhibiting “oh, I’d love to paint” or when I ask, usually as a conversation starter, “do you paint?” they say, “oh no, I’d love to, but I can’t, I’m not creative.”

This saddens me, as I think that everyone is innately creative. That the impulse to make something new is pretty much hard wired into us and it’s unfortunately only negative experience that leads to us believing we cannot.

However although this is what I think now, it hasn’t always been the case.

My personal journey has been a mixed experience. Thankfully some of my very early introductions to art were positive. I can remember going to the local Saturday art group for children when I was quite young and enjoying that. My next really significant experience of art happened when I was a teenager. I had a really cool ceramics teacher who was happy to let me and a friend hang out in the pottery room during break and lunch times. Still, whilst it was ok to do art as a pastime or a break from academic work, the possibility of taking it further wasn’t really an option. Unfortunately the messages I was carrying at this time would have been something along the lines of “you can’t make money from art, or make a career out of art,” ” why do you want to be an artist,” “you’ll never be good enough” etc etc. all pretty unhelpful stuff.

Over the years I have been able to reframe these limiting beliefs and I am now a successful part time professional artist who exhibits and sells work. I run art workshops and coach. I’m passionate about supporting and helping others in their creative journey. Either people who have already experience as an artist and want help with developing their practice, or someone who is right at the beginning looking for their first experience in art.

Because I have had to deal with my own negative messages about being creative means I can understand how to help others. My workshop First Steps in Art is all about helping people who are completely new to painting and drawing. You can read more about what to expect on the day here. The basis of the day is to introduce materials in a simple way and give people a fun experience of art making that helps them to build confidence.

Mostly I draw on my own early experiences of getting back into art. I remember how important it was to have lots of time to discover how to do things along with clear instructions and support. I wanted to chance to see what was out there, to experiment and learn how to use different materials and see what they could do. I also needed to leave the session feeling like I had done something I could be proud of, to boost my self belief and encourage me to keep on making art.

I hope to offer some of this in my one day course First Steps in Art coming up on Monday 10th February. Sound of interest? If you’ve question about the day, please message me using the contact form below otherwise click here to book your journey into art making.

I’d love you to join me for a fun day of exploration and play.