A Life of Creativity with Purpose
“Noel Ashton has the seeking mind of a scientist and the creative soul of an artist, and he brings these two facets together in a stunning offering for our modern world.
By engaging both his scientific mind and the vehicles of language and art, he creates, and facilitates for others, the process of a transformative creative journey. Through the centre of Noel's life and work runs the emancipating theme of creativity with purpose, offering us opportunities to engage, encounter different perspectives, to reflect, and ultimately redefine our relationship to ourselves, to each other and to the natural world.”
The Empowered Entrepreneur
The storytellers of Africa speak
not that we will listen
but that we will remember...
But how do we remember
in a world that seems to have forgotten so much?
Every artwork and sculpture holds within it a story,
and an invitation to follow the storyline,
along a journey of self discovery.
This might be a unique encounter with the magnificent rhino or a curious fox, of slipping below the surface and coming face to face with the mysterious blue whale, a route up into the mountains and the tranquil silence of a sacred cave, and beyond, into the stories of the stars and the infinity of now.
These are pathways into nature, but in awakening our curiosity and deepening the moment, they are also an invitation to pause, and to connect mindfully with a fuller experience of life.
It could be said that the 800 year old little Mapungubwe
rhino linked those people to the land through a sacred thread of belonging....
And I offer this sculpture of Mapungubwe Revisited as a way to remind us that
the natural world around us is much more than a commodity, a space or a view, it is an intrinsic part of who we are and where we have come from, and each rhino killed or tract of land destroyed is another part of ourselves lost.
It makes visible the deep connection we have with the natural world, a connection which sustains our souls and reminds us to tread more lightly upon the earth.
“Your journey was fascinating, your artwork stunning and your talk powerful.
What I love about you is you don’t preach, you just talk from the heart.”
BBC Wildlife Presenter
It was the moral compass of Archbishop Tutu's words when he unveiled Sacred Ocean that reinforced my vision when he said 'it is more for ourselves, even more than for the whales that we say no to whaling'. This echoed my own understanding that it is in our relationship with whales that we can begin to see ourselves more clearly, and through this artwork, to invite the millions who saw the sculpture to reflect on the choices we have to make between kindness and cruelty. For this not only affects the lives of the magnificent whales and so many other species that share our beautiful blue planet, but at its essence, it is a choice which has a profound effect on the inner peace and wellbeing of our lives as a knowing and reflective species.
52 Artworks - A Year in Nature
If, during our busy days of rushing towards tomorrow we pause, and take a moment to reflect, an invisible shift occurs, not only in what we see, but also in how we see. And in this, a slow change can ease its way out of our bones and into our fuller consciousness, a deeper knowing, an awakenening, of connecting.
And if we see a beautiful otter or a curious raven, then we are not only invited into seeing them more clearly, but also in finding them within us, for we know the otter, the owl and the kestrel, how could we not after walking beside them for thousands of years.
A creative celebration of the natural world
A new offering for 2024
A chance to explore Natures Pathways, from the dusty landscapes of Africa to the softness of the English countryside, the majesty of the mountains to quiet times at the edge of the sea, encounters with nature shared by an acclaimed artist and environmental storyteller.
Do you know of the fox in the shadows that silently watches as you pass by, or the haunting song of the curlew that speaks of the turning of the tide?
Can you hear the rhythm of the earth in falling droplets of rain and the softening of the season in the rustling leaves during a full moon walk, or witness the return of the swallows as a gift of spring's awakening?
And in the silence of these encounters do they awaken something deep within you?
The first snowdrops and forests of bluebells, swallows over the pastures and the sighting of an elusive otter, a school of dolphins at play in the surf or a circling buzzard over the peaks of the Cederberg. These are some of Noel's encounters during his times in nature, experiences and sightings which inspire new paintings and sculptures that capture these special moments. And now you can experience them too.
Natures Pathway is his way of sharing these unique moments in artworks and stories as a free ongoing offering in The Journal of Mindful Nature.
Follow The Journal of Mindful Nature blog hosted on this website, and receive each new artwork and story email as soon as they are released.
(and if there is an exhibition, talk, or special event,
you will be the first to know)
Link to The Journal of Mindful Nature blog
Into the Oceans - where science meets art
"One of the privileges of my life has been to take people below the surface of the sea and to bring them face-to-face with the magnificent whales and dolphins, and to share their extraordinary stories - for that is the first step towards their protection."
To many, Noel is known for his paintings, sculptures, scientific illustrations and books on the world's cetaceans, but what is less well known is the rigorous scientific research and fieldwork that has formed the foundation to all of this work. After graduating in Environmental and Geographical Science from UCT, Noel focused his research on the oceans, and central to this has been his innovative process of using complex data sets to morphologically map the world's species, resulting in highly accurate scientific illustrations which have received international recognition, including being published by the International Whaling Commission.
Journeys in Search of the Whale
and other stories
What is it that draws us to the edge of the ocean to
spend time with the magnificent whales, mammals
separated from us by the surface of the sea...
“I have been an Audio Visual producer for 20 years and have been involved in many presentations and Noel Ashton’s presentation on whales and dolphins had me riveted from start to finish.”
Cape Town Tour Guide Association
A Sense of Place - a new series of paintings
"There are aspects to landscapes that speak to more than the eye, for they engage us in a deeper conversation. To the creative sensibility, these moments require a response that becomes very direct, visceral even, resulting in a journey that pulls us into the heart of the creative challenge. But it is from these encounters that some of my truest works have found form".
Noel Ashton, 2022