Thursday, 22 October 2009

Michael John Ashcroft

MICHAEL JOHN ASHCROFT Bus Stop oil on board 23.5 cm x 26.5 cm £625

Michael John Ashcroft delivered new work to the gallery last Saturday. Two of the paintings are of Kippford, they are for our Galloway exhibition which opens on the 5th December. The other painting is of a scene closer to Michael's home in the North of England - a bus stop at Clayton Brook in Lancashire.

Michael started to paint after surgery for a non-malignant brain tumor in his twenties. Unfortunately this surgery was radical and it left him deaf and with a long recovery ahead. In the subsequent years he has gone on to have further surgeries and treatment for more tumors.

On his visit to the gallery he talked about his passion for painting and the moment after his first surgery when he became compelled to start painting. Half his face was covered by shadow and the other half bathed with light. He knew he had to paint his portrait, capturing all the shadows and light that were reflected on his face - and has never looked back. I immediately thought of John Bellany and his 'hospital drawings' after his liver transplant. Michael and I looked through a book of Bellany's work and he could strongly identify with the feeling that if you were painting you were alive!

Michael recently had a much talked about retrospective exhibition at Astley Hall, documenting his last ten years of painting. You can read a review here.

Michael loves visiting Galloway so we can look forward to more of his work inspired by our region. We are delighted to welcome him as a new artist to our gallery.

1 comment:

Kathryn Mackenzie said...

What an inspirational story! I love the 'Bus Stop' - it reminds me a bit of the mood and feel of Edward Hopper's paintings.