A market hall exhibition: My About Ashton Series

These days there are all sorts of places for exhibiting art, outside of the traditional gallery. Pop up Galleries, Art Fairs, Open Studios, Pubs and cafes etc are all possibilities. But it’s not always easy to know what is going to work best for your work. There are definitely pros and cons, and often there appear to be positive and less positive experiences for any one of these! Therefore, I am taking the approach of keeping an open mind and just going with what feels right. This spring, I have a small exhibition planned for the new Market Gallery space in the Market Hall, Ashton-Under-Lyne. It’s a smart space, entirely connected with the market and its associated footfall. The exhibition will be titled: About Ashton.

Market Gallery exhibition space

My About Ashton Series: The place

I am interested in capturing the special qualities of places and my feelings about places so I often draw on location. These drawings can be illustration pieces that are completed in situ, or material for my studio-based mixed media work. Last summer I shared some of my drawings of people in the market hall. Tameside council, approached me to present some of my work in an exhibition at the new market gallery. Sharing my finished works, in a location that I spend time drawing in seems a good fit to me, so I said yes!

I grew up in a market town (Bury St Edmunds) in the south of England, with a twice weekly outdoor market. The market was part of weekly life and an important connection with the place and its traditions. I’ve loved them ever since! Therefore, when I moved from Manchester up to the hills, just outside of Ashton two years ago, I visited the town often. I got to know some of the streets, some of the special buildings. I was immediately drawn to the outdoor and indoor markets: Their history, the friendliness of the people, the feeling of connection and belonging, the visual richness and the stories. Stories of place, of people- all about Ashton.

My About Ashton series: The Exhibition

The exhibition will include several different strands of my illustration and mixed-media works. There will be pieces focusing on the streetscape of Ashton, illustrations created on location. I will also include a set of mixed media collage works about the market hall, created from drawings on location. I am now exploring a more abstract approach in my studio-based paintings. They focus upon my feelings of place and I will be sharing some of my new works about cotton mills. The later fits entirely with the history of Ashton and its strong cotton mill heritage!

Mixed media collage Ashton

My About Ashton Exhibition will be on show from 16th March-8th June 2020. I do hope you will be able to visit. Please do sign up to receive my newsletter (a pop up box will appear when you enter my website), where I will keep you updated on this and other art news.

Find Your Voice 2019: A review

CottonMill series Find your Voice 2019

Over the past 6 weeks I have taken part in a second on-line course called Find Your Voice (FYV) with Louise Fletcher. This is a follow on to the Find Your Joy (FYJ) course. You can read my review, including my results, from FYJ here. The purpose of this second course was to continue to focus on developing our own personal voices. But with an intention in mind and looking at 4 key painting principles: tone; composition; colour and mark making.

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My commissioned illustration projects for 2019: a review

Illustration project review 2019

I’ve delivered a wide variety of exciting commissioned illustration projects throughout 2019. These include: a number of building-related commercial pieces. A wedding in Cheshire. Several key reportage (visual journalism) illustration projects and a book cover! Although I have shared some of these projects in dedicated blogs, this blog is an overview of some of these illustration projects.

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My Reportage of Peterloo 2019: From The Crowd

Reportage Peterloo 2019 From The Crowd Liz Ackerley

Manchester Histories, in partnership with Manchester City Council, commissioned me to document From the Crowd in a series of Reportage of Peterloo 2019 illustrations. You can read more of my reportage work here. This Peterloo 2019 production is a musical theatre piece, co-produced with Walk The Plank and Brighter Sound and involving a large number of volunteers (Laurels). These volunteers then supported members of the public to deliver this impressive collaborative performance. In the words of the production’s Creative Director, Evie Manning (CommonWealth): ” From the crowd is a dialogue between 1819 and 2019. We’ll be remembering those that protested and lost their lives at Peterloo and those whose lives today are affected by different oppressions”

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My 2019 Studio workshops

This last week I took part in the oneweek100people challenge, promoted through the Urban sketchers social media sites. The idea is that you post your people sketches on line each day and try to hit 100 in the week. This is the first year I actually completed the task and it got me thinking about the importance of continued practice, continually learning and honing skills. This is important both to improve my own art but also to be a good teacher. In two weeks time I will be starting my own series of sketchbook sketching day workshops in my studio.

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Collage creation 2: Materials and Media

Collage framing

In this second of 3 blogs reviewing my collage progress in 2018, I am going to discuss collage materials and media.   The first blog sharing my works from this year is here.  I am not claiming to have developed these techniques off the top of my head. Those interested in collage materials will no doubt of tried and used many of the elements I will discuss. However, all of the work I am presenting on my blogs is my own and the final results represent my own way of seeing and creating.  It’s important, once you have an understanding of techniques and your own areas of interest, to follow your own path.  There is plenty of opportunity for that with collage!

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Collage Creation 1: In the beginning…

COLLAGE LIZ ACKERLEY ART

Over the last 12 months I have started my journey into collage creation.   It has not been without its ups and downs.    I am used to drawing from life, using pens, ink and watercolour.  However,  I also crave texture in my visual work.  The materiality of things, their physical form and the feel of their surfaces  fascinates me. I am interested in how that materiality is connected with creating a sense of place.   In addition, composition and colour are important aspects of my visual studies.  Mixed media and collage in particular, are therefore obvious media for my exploration.   Moreover, they enable individuality and an opportunity for endless experimentation!  

 In this series of 3 blogs, I’m going to share some of the inspirations and approaches I’ve taken so far.  I will also discuss some of the techniques and media that I’ve started to explore more recently.  The aim is that these additional approaches will help support a particular uniqueness and ‘own voice’ to my work. 

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Going Back to My Roots (Reportage in the garden)

Stillingfleet reportage Liz Ackerley

Over the last few years, I have developed an interest in capturing events and activities through drawing.  This so called reportage approach has so many outlets!  I have been commissioned to capture reportage: one-off events, weddings and festivals and series of activities to name a few.    Telling stories of places and occasions through drawing is my passion!  With a background in landscape design, I was absolutely thrilled to be asked to record a garden Masterclass in drawings recently.  This blog describes the day.   Continue reading