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"How does one best describe the journey of the seeker when the pathways are guided by the mind of a scientist and the heart of an artist, seemingly contradictory signposts which surely lead in opposite directions? To answer this question is to encounter the life-journey of Noel Ashton, and to see how divergence can be brought together into unique and engaging expressions, where these two worlds are blended into one, in service of people and the environment,

Noel engages both his scientific mind and the vehicles of language and art to create, embark upon, and facilitate 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, reflect and ultimately redefine our relationship to ourselves, to each other and to the natural world". 

 

ELIZABETH CAIRNS, 2020

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A JOURNEY THROUGH ART

The pathways of our lives are, at their essence, a journey to discover who we are and how we fit into this magnificent but mysterious world. But where do you begin in a world formed around distraction and a rushing towards tomorrow?

For me, one of the pathways was through art and an exploration of the natural world, of landscapes and the many lives that filled them. My scientific side forged discovery through research and scientific illustration, but it was in my paintings and sculptures of birds, animals and the vistas of their natural homes that I began to find a way to rediscover the joy of being outdoors, and to at the same time reflect and consider what it means to be be a human being living within this wider living world.

It is a journey which I walk alone, but an experience which I wish to share...

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Rosetta naturae

When I feel an unsettling, a loss of direction or balance as the world careens/rushing towards tomorrow, I return to nature, to the silence of the earth and a space to think and reflect, or a walk into the gentle birdsong green of the English countryside. And along the way I find a slow return to myself, a calming settling place of the heart, for as I notice the seasons, the ebb and flow of life held in the flight of a swallow or the turn of a leaf, I awaken, for it is like a coming home, not only into nature, but also to myself.

At first I realised we had forgotten how to return in fullness to this ancient home, and I learned to follow the tracks that cross the landscapes, etched through time by the passage of game and many others, from the first peoples till now, and I began to remember what it was to walk upon the earth with a sense of belonging. For in these tracks I saw my own footprints.

And slowly a new sculpture emerged, a hint of a journey, an unfolding along a pathway, and out of this whisper, Rosetta naturae was born.

I took questions with me, who am I, and how do I fit into this magnificent but mysterious world. Not only in the natural world, but also in the world of mankind.

 

 

As I walk this pathway into the future, sculptures, paintings and thought-journeys help me to engage and experience this world with a new clarity and understanding. These are the signposts which show me the way, and they are the invitations for those who wish to walk alongside me.

Engaging with the natural world as a pathway to re-discovering our own inner human nature

Rosetta naturae

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to know again what it is to walk upon the earth

with a feeling of deep belonging...

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Engaging with the natural world as a pathway to re-discovering our own inner human nature

To walk upon the earth is to re-awaken something hidden within ourselves, for although it is said that we re-connect with nature, it is in fact us reconnecting to our inner knowing, with who we are. And if it is our wish to reconnect with nature, time with the whisper of the winds and the flickering light upon the surface of a gentle stream will invite us to pause, and help us to reconnect with our own truth, and then we will remember that we are not separate from nature, we are a part of it, and we shall feel like we have come home.

Rosetta naturae is an ongoing social media and exhuibition programme that seeks to share my expereinces in the natural world by combing painting and sculptures with thoughts around the creation and context of each piece.

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It is the tracks that I follow into the light of the dawn that invite me into this landscape of belonging, for in them I see my own journey through life and my search for place. And in this silent moment I begin to awaken to the inner knowing that this is where my soul senses home and where my spirit finds the space to roam.

And in the strangest way, it is here that I begin to understand what it means to be human

Given context and direction from this unique sculpture, Rosetta Naturae offers us pathways towards re-connection, and glimpses of respite from the rigors and artificial pace of the modern world. The tracks of time that cross the sculpture capture the essence of what it means to engage fully in an experience, and to begin to translate meaning between our modern world and the space of nature, for it is when we leave the world of man that we start to glimpse what it means to be human in a wider living universe.

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Do you know of the fox in the shadows that silently watches as you pass by, 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, for they each hold the possibility of inviting us to a fuller and richer experience of life.

 

And in knowing them we can know ourselves better.

 

And do you remember that moment when you realized that we do not walk this world alone, and that the raven and the rhino share our journey through life on this beautiful blue planet in an infinite galaxy of stars?

 

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A pathway into nature is a journey back to our true selves

“An artist with a poetic soul” 

                                 T.H. Chairman SATA 2012

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There is a part of each of us held in these stories, for they are a search for what it means to be human.

The Storylines

The Storylines – those unfolding pathways that cross the landscapes of our lives, invisible journeys in search of who we are, so that we can return to gentleness in a world of belonging.

We are born unknowing and unable, and will spend our lifetimes in search of who we are, and how we fit into this magnificent but mysterious world, a journey of discovery guided by the wish to fill our lives with purpose, meaning and joy

During a lifetime of following the pathway of the seeker, Noel brings us over thirty years of Storylines. By combing his engaging artworks and sculptures, narratives and insightful thought-journeys, he offers us powerful and transformative stories of reconnecting meaningfully with our unique authentic selves, our shared humanity, and with the world in which we live.

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Journeys in search of the mysterious mammals of the deep...

What began as a commission to illustrate the elusive Heaviside's dolphin for the International Whaling Commission in the early eighties has turned into an ongoing research programme that seeks to better understand the complex morphology of the worlds cetaceans.

This foundational data has in turn  been developed into a series of scientific paintings and sculptures, and, with extensive field research and observations, incorporated into  three field guides, educational materials for teachers, workshops, talks and conservation programmes. These include the Whale Walk and Whale Show produced in collaboration with the International Fund for Animal Welfare, a set of definitive scientific illustrations funded by the De beers group, workshops in partnership with the Two Ccean Aquarium and De Beers Marine, and the Sacred Ocean sculpture and campaign launched by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

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where ancient meets contemporary

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