From Darkness Comes Light: The Paintings of Michael John Ashcroft

From Darkness Comes Light: The Paintings of Michael John Ashcroft


Artzu Gallery Manchester TwitterArtzu Gallery Manchester PinterestArtzu Gallery Manchester FacebookMichael John Ashcroft explores the hills and streets of Greater Manchester by capturing the light and darkness he has felt reflected in his own life.  It was a devastating illness which persuaded him to focus all his attention on creating vibrant art.  He discusses his inspirations here:

Click here to view the full painting portfolio of artist Michael John Ashcroft 

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“Lancashire, England is a wonderful place for an oil painter to live, from its luscious greens and warm yellows during summer, to the long winter months where the pale skies hang majestically over the dark, drab landscape; there is an endless amount of subject matter.

It is a fascination with light and dark in its extreme form that has inspired me to paint the way I do, from sunlit barns on a summer evening surrounded by dark green foliage, to reflections of artificial light bouncing of rain soaked roads on a stormy night, and believe me we have plenty of those in Lancashire.

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Michael John Ashcroft – Girl with Red Bag

As a young lad growing up I always had a fascination with lights.  On a late night drive home from visiting relatives I would peer out of the rear car window and blur my eyes watching a kaleidoscope of coloured lights in the streets contrasting against the black sky.  But it wasn’t until many years later that I started to turn these thoughts into art.

I always loved art from an early age, growing up watching artists paint watercolour pictures of Church Street, in Croston.  But it wasn’t until 1998, when I discovered I had a brain tumour, that I started to take painting seriously.

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Michael John Ashcroft – Twilight Arnside

My life was turned upside down, and although the operation to remove the tumour was successful, it was a long recovery and I needed something to focus my attention on.  Of course, the only answer was art.  All my thoughts turned to painting, and especially oils.

I had seen a painting by Norman Long, an excellent portrait painter (and later to become a good friend).  The image just knocked me for six, it was totally different from the paintings I grew up with all those years ago; it was strong and vibrant like nothing I had seen before.  I’ve never looked back!

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Michael John Ashcroft – Girl in a Red Beret

Capturing the Light

The feeling of wanting to capture the contrast between light and dark is always in my mind.

When I am on the hunt for new material I sometimes wait for the sun to start setting and, if I have a place or a subject in mind, I will head straight there waiting for that magical moment when the sun is just dipping down to tree level, creating strong contrasts and long shadows.  It is a wonderful time to capture the contrast between dark and light.”

Click here to view the full painting portfolio of artist Michael John Ashcroft 

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Michael John Ashcroft – Corner of Harvey Nichols