I have been fortunate to be surrounded by art and artists all of my life. It was through my training in art education, and the process of learning about children’s experiences with art, that I was inspired to begin my own journey.  The freedom and confidence that children have when making art, so absorbed in the interaction, holds undeniable beauty. The art they create stems directly from what is pertinent to their lives, and this proved a valuable lesson to me.


The art that I produce is created out of an intense desire to make things, as well as to share a part of myself. When starting a new canvas - or “recycling” one that didn’t work out - I  don’t generally have a direct plan, but rather choose to see where the materials take me. This results in many different layers of paint showing through the finished top layer. The relationship between the layers of paint adds yet another level to the dialogue between the characters in my work.  There is an openness in my paintings because I invite the unexpected.  Often patterns and connections are observed and reflected upon after completing the work, rather than at the start.


The flexibility of paint is most appealing to me and I enjoy the journey and patience that oils require.  I work on over 30 canvases at a time, rotating between pieces as layers dry. Thick tubes of paint call to me, brushes beg to be danced in my hand. I am most comfortable working on a large scale where I am free to move across the plains of the canvas. Creating and applying color is  absorbing, as colors induce a reaction to each other and to the subject. I roam the surface searching for the perfect area to nurture, listening for the quiet voice that says “now it’s complete.”


Extremely introverted as a child, I have always enjoyed observing and have a long fascination with creating stories about people.  My pieces are not about a particular, direct person but rather a compilation of people and experiences  that I have brought together in a brand new way.   Although I create fictional portraits, the majority of my audience often find an identifying quality relating to someone they know. One of the moments when I most enjoy being an artist is when people find a connection and create their own story about my work.


I am continually humbled to grow as a painter.  My work is part of the permanent collections at Iowa State and William Penn Universities, and various other cities through community purchase prizes, including my hometown, Iowa City.  My paintings can be found in galleries across the Midwest during the school year, at art festivals throughout the summer and early fall, and I always welcome visitors to my studio.   My work has been featured in top-ranking art festivals, and I have had my images published in popular media including textbooks, interior design publications, and Hallmark greeting cards.


For more information, or to contact me:


b.ash@me.com

About Me