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Expressive, dynamic and vibrant, Carly Ashdown's figurative art draws upon the profound experience of being alive.

History and Background

Carly’s earliest memories are of picking up a pencil and drawing pictures of people. Fascinated by human interaction, these imaginative sketches were her way of processing the world around her. Creating the illusion of movement allowed her to experience a feeling of release. 

After completing an art and design degree in film and photography, Carly went on to enjoy a career in television, working for organisations such as the BBC and Channel 4. Eventually her instinct to draw and paint took over, and she became enamoured by the ability of paint to seduce the viewer through illusion. 

Ideas and Inspirations

Carly's desire to explore the nature of being human saw her train in psychotherapy at the Tavistock Institute in London, as well as volunteer for the mental health charity, Mind. As she delved deeper into the world of human experience, her art began to incorporate themes of personal transformation and understanding.

One of her greatest artistic influences is Jackson Pollock, who pioneered the unique technique of drip painting.

Carly says: “There is a lot of chaos within structure. I often find myself in a dialogue with the painting, listening to what’s being asked of me. What unifies us is an inner beauty which we all share, and that's really at the heart of my work."

From Palette to Picture

All of Carly’s work starts with researching images, which she takes from books, online sources and even her own photographs. Beginning with around 50 images, she narrows them down and begins to draw in a sketchbook, creating a series of sketches that evolve over time.

She then paints instinctively, starting with a charcoal outline on the canvas that is washed over with water. Once she has carefully selected her colours, she drips acrylic paint down the canvas.

Following detailed shading to help the figure 'pop out' of the canvas, she both drips and flicks paint at her creation. To add to the sense of movement, she switches between the vibrant and energetic application of paint and intricate work with a small brush.

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