'I am not one for pretty pictures' perhaps when I am long gone this will be a quote that I am remembered for alongside my paintings.For you will mostly find me in the Gallery on a sunny day and out on the moors when it is at its most inhospitable, for these are the days that captivate me. All your senses are alive, so that what you visibly see is not the whole painting,the rest comes from you.
In 1966 Ashley Jackson Studio was first opened behind the Thornely Arms Public House in Dodworth , it was a big outbuilding with two floors and a coke stove, it required a lot of work but was a starting point. From having trained as a signwriter and glass guilder with Darwent and working on his own paintings in his spare time he now took the risk of giving up a secure wage to concentrate on creating his own collection. As he was quoted as saying at the time;'I have enjoyed working for a firm but I want to be able to paint what I like as well as what I am asked to do.I know that opening my own studio is an ambitious step, but I am hoping that with plenty of hard work and a little luck it will prove successful'
Between working up until midnight, undertaking signwriting jobs to supplement his income and travelling to London once a week to call upon as many galleries as possible, he undertook further financial pressure by setting up a new studio and gallery. Opening on the last day of August 1968 on Church Street, Barnsley next door to the art shop where he purchased his watercolours. Ashley Jackson Gallery was the first ever professional art gallery in Barnsley.
Continuing to travel to London to approach galleries for an exhibition he managed to secure an exhibition at the Upper Grosvenor Gallery, off Park Lane, it was to be his first one man exhibition in the capital and held over two weeks he risked his family's home as security against the loan he required for brochures, mailings, catalogues and launch preview. with over 30 paintings sold the financial gamble was to have paid off, breaking even when everything had been paid for. It was to be a risk he took seven more times throughout his career.
The final Gallery move was to Holmfirth in 1984 where we still remain having extending the original property twice to provide four viewing rooms for prints, limited editions and original paintings.
He was often called a young man in a hurry and it is this steely determination and passion for his art that has seen him enter our homes through numerous television series and books bringing an ability to encourage anyone to pick up a brush and have a go or to see the beauty in the raw moorlands of the Pennines or the Yorkshire Dales on a rainy day.
I will leave Ashley with the final words;