I work as a full time artist from a yorkshire art studio where I get physical with acrylic paint and canvas. My work is visceral and spontaneous. When I paint, I rely entirely on my instincts. Using my hands to work the paint washes around the surface, I continually move the artwork back and forth to keep the colours flowing.
Eventually I reach a point where I allow the paint to take the control so that I can revel in the prospect of the paint surprising me yet again.
Through my work, I am constantly exploring the relationship between colour, light and form. Even though it was drilled into me in my earliest formal art studies that drawing and draughtsmanship are of critical importance to serious artistic endeavour, it was only when I ventured away from literal points of reference that I began to discover the visceral impact to be enjoyed in the luminance, shapes and hues of glorious nature.
My artwork is featured in many private collections worldwide and I have exhibited in galleries and shows throughout the UK. However, I am constantly surprised and delighted that so many individuals appreciate my abstract paintings. Shipped worldwide, even to Peru! I can ship art anywhere.
Caroline Ashwood Biography
I grew up in South Yorkshire. As far back as anyone can remember, I have always drawn pictures and experimented with colour and paint. I was the shy girl at the back of the class who never said Boo to a goose. However, you couldn't shut me up when it came to expressing myself on paper. Writing, drawing and painting have always been my voice.
When I was eight, I won a Blue Peter badge for a picture I drew and sent in to the TV programme for kids. By the time I left school I was sure I wanted to make my way in the world through creative expression. So, I went to art school in Sheffield. The world of art opened up to me and I saw its influence everywhere. At art school I developed a strong affinity with the Ruskin era and the Pre-Raphaelites. A time that was as much about creative thinking as it was about art.
By the time I was twenty, I was drawn to London by the prospect of more learning and being in one of the great art capitals of the world. In the late 80s and early 90s, advertising had a high profile in everyday life. People were actually talking about advertising in intellectual terms. I was curious and wanted to learn more. So I enrolled for a diploma course in creative advertising. Again, it was more about the formulation and preciousness of ideas. I lapped it up. It was great fun and it held the prospect of me making a living from being creative.
Thats when I got my first big break. The Saatchi Brother, Maurice and Charles were at their peak when they sold their empire and started a brand new agency, M&C Saatchi. Thus, began my award-winning career in advertising. Saatchis was an adrenalin-charged environment open to ideas. Original thought was God. I adored it. The little girl at the back of the class was being recognised for her voice.
I continued to make a career in the ad industry and worked with some of the best creative directors in the business. They taught me the importance of maintaining the integrity of ideas and concepts. The challenge of filling a blank sheet of paper with something that would fulfil someone elses desires was intoxicating and highly addictive.
But, I noticed something about me was happening. The more I immersed myself in the creative process, the more I wanted to express my thoughts not just those of an advertising client. I was feeling a hunger. An urge to pick up a paint brush and make a mark on a canvas and create some original art. To go deeper into my thoughts without a brief, without an expected outcome.
By this time, I had been painting at every opportunity and people began to buy my work. Then one day, I declared to my family that I wanted to paint for a living.
I first exhibited my abstract art at The Gasworks Gallery in Faversham Kent. I began to receive commisions from interior design companies and my first major commission was a new collection that would fill an entire hotel in Dublin. It was a huge undertaking.
Buoyed with confidence, I began to exhibit elsewhere in Kent. Fine art galleries in Canterbury were showing my affordable original art and exhibitions of my latest pieces. After being invited to be the featured artist in The Kent Life magazine, it was suggested to me that I should investigate the burgeoning creative community in Folkestone. With the help of a generous sponsor and patron of the arts, this lovely, if slightly run-down, seaside town was coming alive again with artists moving in to purpose built studio space in an area called the Creative Quarter.
I set up studio in the Old High Street. Fellow artists were all around me creating contemporary art and I embarked on my most recent and most creative period. I was on fulltime exhibition at Folkestones Fofu Gallery and I was being hired to create works for local hotels, restaurants and weekender pads for Londoners who were discovering our little secret riviera. Through a contact I was introduced to a London-based, luxury yacht design company that was looking to commission artworks to embellish the walls of a £20 million yacht that was under construction. The interior designers liked my work and proposed to their client that I be the artist to create the oceanically inspired art that would adorn the lavish bulkheads and staterooms in this amazing vessel. My contribution to the interiors was my largest canvas to date - nearly nine square metres!
In the latest chapter of my artistic life, I am working on private commissions and on a series of works for a publishing company.