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Charles Ash

Charles Ash

I love working quickly using a calligraphy brush on rough paper, going for the zen of the moment.  I keep the colors pure while at the same time letting the paper do the work; looking for happy accidents that I can exploit.   Many times I will take a scene and modify the composition to minimalize the basic elements to maintain a deceptively simple beauty.


The subjects I choose to paint tend to have an interesting massing, a layering of elements and a quality of light and shadow.   I am always looking for new views and experiences.  As I travel, should I come across a striking scene I may simply take a picture for future reference, draw a quick sketch or paint on site.  Many times I will remember scenes and sketch from memory while I have an idle moment.   My work draws from the forms, colors and experiences of the desert Southwest; an enjoyment in the act of painting expressing a simpler, more casual approach to life.


Open skies, storms coming in, sweeping vistas, mountains and grasslands all call for broad strokes and bold light and shadows.  I strive for an economy of color and execution that can bring a landscape to life.  These, I bring together with the Japanese aesthetic of "Bokusho", the art of abstract expressionism through the medium of Japanese calligraphy.


If I can capture the shadows, forms, space at a given moment with the flow of line and color, then I can start to feel that I have succeeded.  Working in such a quick, expressive manner can be like playing a jazz riff, improvising with the moment.  I start with the basic composition, placing elements as needed, some planning on where I want light and shadow.  Then I throw away the sketch, the photograph, look away from the reality and let the paint, the brush and the water flow.