Sally-Anne Ashley: Abstract Artist

Question: Can you tell us about yourself/your artistic background and education?

Artist: After studying art and textiles at school and college, I went on to take a textiles degree at De Montfort university. I decided to take a year out to travel and research for my final year but ended up starting a clothes making business and never returned! I continue to develop my practice by studying with working artists who inspire me. 


Question: Can you take us through the process that you go through your masterpieces? 

Artist: There are many different ways in which I like to begin my work and it depends on the surface, medium and intention of the piece. I start by building a ground to respond to, this is by mark making, applying collage or light washes to the surface. I then use acrylic paint, pencils and glazes in layers to build interest and depth. 


Question: What drew you to starting painting abstract art?

Artist: I began by painting intuitively, expressing my thoughts and feelings through paint but to be honest, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I soon found out that it was actually a thing(!) which offered me some validation and gave me the encouragement to continue in this way. Around the same time I discovered Abstract Expressionism and from then I was hooked! 


Question: Throughout your time painting what has been the most important thing you have learnt?

Artist: Not to get attached to an outcome and paint as much and as often as possible. 


Question: What are your most important tools you use to create your masterpiece?

Artist: At the moment it’s paint shapers! Aside from these, I like to use a variety of different sized brushes, palette knives, brayers and natural tools such as sticks to create interesting marks and lines.


Question: Do you have any art influencers? If so, what are they? 

Artist: Yes, many, for different reasons: Cy Twombly for mark making, several of the abstract expressionist artists for their experimental techniques and contemporary artists such as Alice Kettle for her amazing embroidery and textile work. 


Question: What makes a good day for you?

Artist: An early start in my studio, a sea swim, nourishing conversations with friends and an early night!