Artist Ashley comes back from illness

A NORTHUMBERLAND artist is staging his first exhibition after recovering from major illness.

Retired college lecturer Ashley Eldridge, of Bothal, will be showcasing his work in a free display at Morpeth Town Hall.

The artist has spent 30 years working in art and design, focusing mainly on portraiture for commissions.

However, after suffering a brain haemorrhage 18 months ago, Mr Eldridge decided on a change of direction and is set to show his new pieces this weekend.

He said: “Eighteen months or so ago I fell very ill with a brain haemorrhage and I promised myself that if I recovered I would just paint whatever I wanted to.

“I had been all over the world collecting reference material that I never used, such as animals from Australia Zoo, so I have been working like a demon for the past 18 months to put it to use and bring the collection together.

“Before I mainly painted portraits, but now it is mainly animals, such as a Chillingham bull that I had to get special permission to photograph.”

Mr Eldridge used to work in watercolour, but since 2002 has concentrated on oils, often spending 50 hours or more on a painting.

His work can be seen in the Butter Market of the Town Hall from Saturday, May 14, to Friday, May 19, during normal opening hours.

He also has a website at www.halstow.moonfruit.com