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Colours of Australia: A journey of inspiration with Neale Whitaker and artist Ash Holmes

Shot on location at HAKE House of Art featuring artwork by Ash Holmes.


Colour inspiration can be found at every turn in the vast Australian landscapes. 

Drawing on colour psychology and her environment, fourth-generation Australian Artist and Sydney local, Ash Holmes practices on Guringai Land, which inspires her abstract paintings.  

Neale Whitaker joins Ash Holmes who shares her creative inspiration and personal artistic journey. 

Watch the video and read Ash’s story to help inspire your own artwork, interior design, and colour palette choices.



Fourth-generation artist


Growing up with art in her home – and in her genes – Ash comes from a long line of female artists. 

“I'm fourth generation artist now. My mum was a practicing artist and worked as an in-house painter for an interior design company.” Ash shared. 

My grandma was also a landscape painter. She used oil paint, and it was more of a traditional style of work. My great grandma was a sign writer and did camouflage swatches for the World War II era.”  

"I've realised it's quite a big deal in the last few years. When I was younger, I think it was just a known feeling for me to have artists around. It’s only recently become sentimental.”   

Beginning at age three, painting is a way of life for Ash – who has always made time for artistic practice in her world.  

“I started painting at home with my mum. She would set me up for a day to keep me busy while she was working.” Ash explained. 

“For the last 10 years now, I've been a full-time artist. And before that it was always something I would practice in between jobs and before and after full-time work.” 


Created by Ash Holmes. Captured at HAKE House Of Art.


Australian landscape inspired


For Ash creating her beautiful compositions begins in nature, where she finds inspiration in both the natural environment itself and its array of colours. 

“Although my work is abstract, the compositions are led by what is found in nature” Ash shares. 

"I've never been drawn to painting or expressing subjects that weren't the natural world. For me, the natural landscape of Australia offers so much in terms of rich tones and raw compositions.” 

When Ash explores the natural world, she is accompanied by her camera to ensure that the sense of time and place are accurately captured. 

“I'll take film images when I'm out on a walk or in a different part of the world I haven't seen before,” Ash explains. 

“The film images capture the colours and energy of the space more than my phone does, and it also means I'm limited to using 36 photos as opposed to hundreds.” 

“In a way these images are stored in my memory somewhere and then I'm replicating the scene... not necessarily how we view the scene, but how it felt at the time.” 

One journey into nature that stayed with Ash was exploring the Margaret River Region in Western Australia. 

“I went to Yalingup in Western Australia. I didn't expect I'd come back from the studio and want to do a whole body of work based around it. But the back of my film camera opened so the light was exposed – which is meant to damage the photos – instead I got pink, green and blue light leaks, and all of these colours.”  


Featured: Fleur Sofa in Boyd Autumn Mist and Eveleigh Dark Olive, Fleur Tub Chair in Leura Biscotti, Fleur Ottoman Bench in Prestige Saddle, Fleur Ottoman High in Olley Tasman Roci, Issho Coffee Table in American Walnut and Bruny Rug in Fern.


Curating interior style


For Ash, creating an environment that is filled with items of meaning is key to creating a home you truly enjoy being in. 

“I have selected pieces for our place over a long length of time. I feel I'm curating as I would with the gallery.” Ash shares. 

As a lover of nature and nature-inspired colour palettes – Ash has selected a palette that brings a sense of calm and earthiness home. 

“It's predominantly walnut timber and dark greens. Those colours for me are very grounding and natural. It brings the outside world into our apartment, which is limited with size – we didn't want to over clutter, it's quite minimal.” 

As one would imagine, the items Ash selects for interior styling at home are chosen with great care and many pieces are created by other artists. 

“Most of the pieces that we've selected have been made by friends or artists that we know or represent. The joinery in our place was made by my brother who's making it all by hand. And we've selected a lot of art from locals.” 


Featured: Fleur Sofa in Eveleigh Dark Olive, Fleur Ottoman High, Issho Coffee Table in American Walnut and Bruny Rug (coming soon) in Fern.


Selecting art for your space


How does an artist go about choosing art for their home? Ash begins with understanding the story behind the artist who has created the work. 

“When buying art, look into the artists. When you look into their story you realise that you are supporting an artist who's put in a lot of time to make that piece.” Ash explains. “I would also say select works that may not match every element of your home, but just feel right for you.” 

“Having that personal touch and the energy of the artists... It's kind of like selecting the company you want in your home.” 

When selecting art for your own space, Ash encourages you to trust your intuition, for art has the power to enlighten and inspire us daily. 

“If you like a piece within the first 30 seconds, there's a good chance it will continue to give and grow.”  

“It might enlighten something in you that you want to see on a daily basis.” 


Ash Holmes is pictured above at the HAKE House Of Art in Sydney


Continue the journey


In a world filled with colour, Ash takes us on a journey of inspiration through her abstract paintings and her deep connection to the natural world. 

Ash captures the essence of time and place, translating the energy and emotions of nature into her artwork.  

To learn more, delve into Ash's experience with colour psychology to help guide your colour palette choices or find inspiration in our Colours of Australia Lookbook.

Follow Ash Holmes and HAKE House of Art on Instagram.