All About Ashley

 

I have always been a “sharp eyes.”

 

As a child, whenever anyone asked me: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I answered “An artist.” I always drew and made small books when I was young. I was not afraid to steal plot elements from the Brothers Grimm. Two of my favorite things to draw were princesses and horses.

A page from my mash up of Rumplestiltskin and Snow White. Age 6. Crayon on paper

In school I loved my art lessons and my teachers: Prindle Wissler and Lachlan Field. In high school I spent all my spare time in Mr Field’s art room, where I felt most at home.

charcoal and watercolor on paper

wanted to go to an art school, so Mr. Field helped me prepare my portfolio, including the three required  black and white drawings. The first two were of a bicycle and shoes.  For my 3rd drawing I did a self portrait in charcoal. The face was black and white but I used colored pencils to draw a wreath of flowers in my hair. I was accepted to the Rhode Island School of Design.

My favorite class was life drawing, but I studied painting and printmaking, wood working, jewelry making and lots of art history. I eventually decided to major in printmaking and illustration.

a painting of my mother, done while at RISD. Oil on brown paper

When I took an illustration class called Picture and Word I knew I had found something I really loved. It was taught by illustration professor Judy Sue Goodwin-Sturges and English professor Phil Bailey. In that class we learned to write stories that left room for pictures and use pictures to enlarge and enhance words. The lessons I learned in that class inspired my first book: A Year of Birds, and still influence me today.

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And I have always painted murals. I started on barns and expanded to warehouses, doors and ceilings.

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I have painted sharks, mermaids, horses, pigs, geese, giant tropical trees covered with ferns and orchids and small, exquisitely detailed portraits of cats, dogs and children.

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My books are all different and illustrated in many techniques and media:  watercolor, gouache, and acrylic,  linoleum block print, collage, pastel and colored pencils.

 

While I like to change the techniques used for the pictures,  many other things remain constant in my books.  You won’t find many airplanes, tractors or trucks, but you will always find lots of color, animals, children and a love of nature.

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n 2014 I moved back to the Champlain Valley of Vermont. My children are grown and living in the west, but I need to be closer to my mother.

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I built an energy-efficient, modern home on the shore of Lake Dunmore, Vermont
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I live and work here, and share my home with guests on Airbnb.

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See my complete Curriculum Vitae here.