Vanessa brushes up on Ashton for new art exhibition
Tuesday 10th October 2017 14:03 Ashton News Tameside Posted by Tom Greggan

A self-taught artist from Ashton has launched her first ever exhibition, forty years after she first started to paint.

Vanessa Dixon, from Waterloo, was inspired by her Aunt to start painting when she left school in the 1970s, but her artistic side was put on the backburner as she focused on a career in nursing and midwifery at Tameside Hospital.

But the 62-year-old has spent the last two years painting Ashton landmarks past and present, to capture both the history and the beauty of the area. Now, her stunning works of art adorn the walls of Tameside Art Gallery on Old Street in the town centre.

“It feels amazing to see my paintings hung on the wall here,” she said. “It’s lovely to see them together; it’s the first time I’ve seen them all together. They’ve just been hung at home; some of them have been piled up against a wall so it’s just fabulous to see them like this.”

A sample of Vanessa Dixon’s impressive work, showing at the Tameside Central Art Gallery until January.

The collection of paintings depicts the most recognisable sights from Ashton and the surrounding area, such as the old Odeon cinema, Daisy Nook and Portland Basin. Some paintings are part of a series, like the sequence of four pieces on the Tameside Hippodrome, which show the building in it’s many forms over the years.

Speaking about her inspiration behind the collection, Vanessa said: “Recently, when I’ve been doing photographs of the Ashton area, I thought I’d really like to capture it in paintings and show how the area is changing. Like Ashton Market; everybody has painted the old Ashton Market but I wanted to paint the new market.

“I want people to see the area differently,” she continued. “You here people criticise the area and say there’s not much around here but I want to show that it’s a lovely area. We’ve got Daisy Nook and the canals. If you walk down Stamford Street, look up and look at the beautiful buildings and the detail. That’s what I’ve tried to capture is the beauty and the history of the area. This area has got a fabulous history and I wanted to capture that too.”

Vanessa’s work has received heaps of praise from those who have visited the gallery, including Tameside Council Deputy Leader, Cllr John Taylor. He said: “I’d seen Vanessa on Facebook and I saw that she was doing a lot of work in Ashton in terms of the town’s history. I first met her when they were building a new railway bridge for electrification and she was there videoing it. I’ve met her many times since but I didn’t know she had this talent! Vanessa is clearly a very, very talented artist.”

The exhibition, entitled ‘Ashton Places and Tameside Landmarks’ is free to view at Tameside Art Gallery, above Central Library on Old Street, until January 13th 2018.