Cindy Friesen-Ford Ashurst, Visual Artist
Born and raised on a farm in southwestern Saskatchewan, Cindy has always had an appreciation for nature and a passion for creating art. When returning to the farm after her first year of university, she decided to learn how to paint. After all, there wasn’t much to do isolated on the farm with few television channels and no computers.She talked her mother into buying her a set of oil paints. Cindy initially experimented with trying to replicate buildings and farm scenes with little success, but after a summer of painting every day, her skills and confidence increased.
Once able to afford her own art supplies, Cindy purchased some “how-to” painting books which led to numerous successful paintings of mountains, trees and lakes. After making a change in career training and experiencing her first university art class, she created several realistic drawings of family members of which she was quite proud. Later, motivated by a friend’s amazing drawings while working on her fine arts degree, Cindy pursued fine art classes in painting and printmaking. This encouraged experimentation with oils, pastels and watercolors, a variety of subject matter including still life, live models, portraiture, and less emphasis on realistic images. She also participated successfully in a few juried art shows before a career in education and family took precedence.
Loving a challenge, Cindy pursued introductory classes in stained glass which fueled a passion for creating stepping stones, window art, lamps, mosaics and decorative furniture for many years. Training in art therapy, participation in community paint nites and experimentation with pour painting renewed a lifelong interest in painting, particularly with acrylics.
Moving to mainland BC and recently to Vancouver Island provided more time and opportunity to focus on art. The picturesque scenery around her, photos taken daily and on vacation and an active art community have inspired much of the work she has recently produced. Becoming a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists has encouraged and fueled her lifelong passion for creating art. She now creates art to:
Lift her own and others’ spirits
Showcase the beauty in the world around us
Experiment with different subject matter, colors, techniques and materials
Share her amazement of the places, people and wildlife she has been blessed to experience
Explore the healing quality of art, both for the maker and the viewer
Promote calm and peace in an uncertain world
Make artwork that is vibrant, colorful and engaging
My work varies from representational to abstract, moving between the two continuously, experimenting with the best mix of open-endedness and realism. Fluid acrylics provide the freedom to experiment with color and technique, while the brush and palette knife allow for more structure and control. My process has evolved from attempting to pour the paint in a specific shape or with a specific intent, applying stencils over fluid acrylics to enhance the piece, creating shapes with contact paper to control the flow of acrylic, to painting realistically over poured acrylics. Occasionally, I am still motivated to paint a person, animal or scene realistically to do justice to the photo or experience in front of me.
The beauty of nature around me, photographed on almost a daily basis, is the inspiration for my work. I attempt to create colorful, vibrant, and engaging pieces to attract and maintain the viewer’s attention. Combining the abstract with the representational is my goal in achieving artwork in which the viewer can appreciate and inform the piece with their own perceptions and experience.
Art CV - Education
Art Activities Elementary EART 100 – University of Saskatchewan 1982
Painting and Related Work – ART 111 – U of S 1983
Painting and Related Work – ART 211 – U of S 1987-88
Printmaking – ART 113 – U of S 1989
Introduction to Art Therapy – Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina, SK 1993
Explored Color Therapy as a possible Master’s thesis topic (U of R) 1994
Introduction to Stained Glass – Artistic Touch of Glass, Saskatoon, SK 2003
Lampmaking – Artistic Touch of Glass, Saskatoon, SK 2005
Coursework completed toward Advanced Diploma in Art Therapy, Vancouver Art Therapy Institute, Vancouver, BC 2006-09
Art CV – Memberships/Galleries/Shows
Eston Art Show – Honourable Mention (Eston, SK) 1988
Kindersley Fine Art Show (Kindersley, SK) 1989
Frontier Days Exhibition (Swift Current, SK) – First Place, Wildlife & Landscapes in Pastel 1990
Sundog Exhibition (Yorkton, SK) – Glass & Mosaics Exhibited and Sold 2009
Became Member of Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery, Supporting Member of Federation of Canadian Artists; Oct. 2019
“Under the Microscope” Show – Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery
Creative Craft Fair, Victoria, BC – Art & Glass Exhibited and Sold - November 2019
Christmas Art” Show – Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery - December 2019
Granted Active Membership in Federation of Canadian Artists, Obtained Membership with Nanaimo Chapter of FCA - Jan 2020
“Matters of the Heart” Show – Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery - February 2020
“Journeys” Show – Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery - March 2020
“Canvas Unbound” Online Exhibition – Federation of Canadian Artists; Art Selected: Ocean’s Alive & Butterfly Garden;
Ladysmith/Chemainus/Cedar Art Studio Tour – Cancelled Due to Covid 19 Restrictions - April 2020
“365 Calendar Project” Online Exhibition – FCA; Art Chosen – Early on a Frosty Morning;
“Animalis” Online Exhibition – FCA; Art Selected – Moose; May 2020
“Annual International Mail-In Art Exhibition” – FCA: Shown In Granville Island Gallery, Vancouver, BC
Art Chosen – Spirits of the Totems – Honourable Mention;
“Monoprints” Online Show – Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery
“Stories of the Forest” Online Show – Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery - June 2020
“Landscapes 2020” Online and Granville Island Gallery Show, FCA; Art Selected – Whatcom Falls
“Summer 2020 Member Showcase” – Nanaimo Chapter of FCA Online Exhibition; Harbour Seal & Ocean Surf Exhibited
ALL Abstracted 2020 Exhibition - Contemporary Art Gallery Online - Awarded Third Place for "Flow"
gallery ring exhibition "People" - Finalist Awarded for "Three Generations" and "Aging Gracefully"
Light Space Time - Second Annual Primary Colors Online Exhibition - Awarded "Special Recognition" for "Sunset Over the Mountains" July 2020
Grey Cube Gallery Skies Exhibition - Finalist Awarded for "African Sunset" and "Lake Louise"
Contemporary Art Room Gallery - Finalist Awarded for "Butterfly Garden", "Peacock Pride", and "Moose" in Third Annual "Animals" Online Art Exhibition