Michael Ashby works from life to handcraft images steeped in the impact and beauty of western art. Based in North East Victoria you may often see him at the side of a road working 'plein air'.


My art studio gets a kick along

This month finds me doing more work to complete my studio here at Whitlands, North East Victoria. Christmas was spent in Melbourne and since returning I have been busy lining some of the interior walls of my studio with recycled pine lining boards. These were kindly given to me by my builder brother-in-law, Anto, who has been a long time contributor to many of our building and renovating exploits over decades. Many thanks Anto. Here is a photograph of how they look after much de-nailing, sorting, sanding, cutting, fitting and re-nailing. Thanks to my sister, Helen, for her help with them. Originally I was…

So that was 2015!

Well the dust has now gently settled after my 20th annual exhibition last month – ‘Things of Paint & Wood’ in the King Valley.

We welcomed over 300 people in just 2 and a half days. 25 artworks were sold and many cards, tea towels and aprons. Artisan woodworker John Kunert sold well, as did Marissa Heymann (jewellery).

20th Annual Exhibition opens tomorrow

Tomorrow, Friday 13 November 2015, I open my 20th annual exhibition. It is aptly titled Things of Paint & Wood, as I share the space with artisan woodworker John Kunert. What will you see there? Well. My work will include some golden oldies. Roughly one from each year of the last 19 years commencing with “Gathering Storm” from 1997 – some for sale, some not. I have tried to include pieces I am particularly pleased with and that show what my work has traversed. My inclination has been to pursue my art on the path that most appeals to me….

Suddenly… it’s my 20th Annual Exhibition

  Back in 1996 I found myself with quite a few paintings I had created over the previous year or two. My beautiful wife, Jenny, suggested a studio exhibition. The rest, as they say, is history. I have dug out a listing from my 1996 exhibition. It lists 26 works (between $40 and $300) and indicates I sold as many as 17! Sales of 65% is certainly heart-warming. And so too the joy of viewing people enjoying my art. It was quite a modest affair but every year since I have strived to make improvements: be it in presentation, catering…

Falling in love with art as a kid

As a young boy I experienced great exhilaration from discovering I could draw something recognisable. Finding something I was good at, that did not require the use of speech was a plus as, unlike my sisters, I took quite a while to master my tongue. So did slow verbal development lead to an enhanced interest in the visual? I like to think the reverse. Do we pursue a skill because we are naturally good at it or because we desire to be good at it? I believe my mind was made for the visual. This was reinforced through drawing while…

Painting in the great outdoors

“En Plein air” is a French expression meaning “in the open air,” and refers to the act of painting outdoors directly from the subject view. The French Impressionist painters believed such a process can result in paintings that capture the natural light and atmosphere as well as the solid landscape forms. Almost exclusively, I practise the “en plein air” method in my landscape work. It is certainly challenging but, I believe, results in a painting that expresses what we see, rather than what a camera sees. In essence the human experience of the landscape. While working on the painting pictured…