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 for "Aging Gracefully" (Eston, SK) 1988
- Kindersley Fine Art Show (Kindersley, SK) 1989
- Frontier Days Exhibition (Swift Current, SK) – First Place for 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 included stained glass pieces: "African Elephant", "Giant
Panda Table" and "Lion King Family" in their show
- 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 included "Three Generations", "Snapchat
Fun" and "Lake Louise" in their February 2020 show
- Journeys Show – Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery - March 2020 included: "Travel Memories", "Inside Passage" and
- "Canvas Unbound" Online Exhibition – Federation of Canadian Artists; Art Selected: "Ocean’s Alive" & "Butterfly
Garden" for exhibition from April14th to 22nd, 2020.
- Ladysmith/Chemainus/Cedar Art Studio Tour – Cancelled Due to Covid 19 Restrictions - April 2020
- "365 Online Exhibition and Calendar Project" – FCA; Art Chosen – "Early on a Frosty Morning". Show ran from
May 1st to 31st, 2020.
- "Animalis" Online Exhibition – FCA; Art Selected – "Moose" Show ran from May 12th to 24th, 2020 at
- Monoprints Online Show – Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery included: "Stormy Seas", "Peaceful Solitude" and "Topsy
Turvy" in May 2020 show
- Stories of the Forest Online Show – Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery - June 2020 included: "Holland Creek Trail"
"Fawn in the Forest" and "Hobbit House"
- "Landscapes 2020" Online and Granville Island Gallery Show, FCA; Art Selected " Whatcom Falls" Exhibited June 15 -
July 1, 2020 at the Federation Gallery in Vancouver.
- Summer 2020 Member Showcase – Nanaimo Chapter of FCA Online Exhibition; "Harbour Seal" & "Ocean Surf"
- Federation of Canadian Artists "Limitless" Exhibition (August 1 to 31, 2020) juried "Shoreline" into their online show.
See for the entire exhibition.
- "Small Artwork 2020" Exhibition with the Federation of Canadian Artists selected "Pink Reflections", "Inside Passage"
and "Butterflies" for their online and in gallery exhibition (August 17 - 30, 2020) at the Granville Island Gallery,
“Botanical” Exhibition (September 2020) Ladysmith Arts Council Online Exhibition included “Butterfly Garden” in their show.
“Mindscapes” Exhibition (October 2020) Ladysmith Arts Council Online Exhibition included “Activated Brain Cells”, “Isolation” and “Fire” in their show www.ladysmitharts.ca
Federation of Canadian Artists “Crisis: Climate Change Exhibition” October 5th – 18th, 2020 accepted “Impacted Oceanlife” as a “Recognized Work” for their Online show. The exhibition can be viewed during these dates and after at www.artists.ca.
Federation of Canadian Artists “Shape and Form 2020” Exhibition (October 19 to November 1) accepted “Whale Spirit” to their gallery show and recognized “Bison 2” for inclusion in the online exhibition.
FCA “Concept 2020 Exhibition” (November 3 to 15) accepted “Frozen” for their Granville Island Gallery show and “Family” was recognized for inclusion in the online show.
FCA "Bella!" 2020 Exhibition juried "Coastline" into their November 16 to 29th show at the Granville Island Federation Gallery.
"Out of the Box" Online Exhibition with the Ladysmith Arts Council is exhibiting "Flow", "Transformation" and "Northern Lights" for the month of November 2020. The art show can be viewed at
Nanaimo Chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists included "Leaping Lion" in their November 6th to 19th, 2020 Online Chapter Exhibition on the FCA website at
"Frozen", "Emerging" and "Whistler Snowfall" were included in the Winter 2020 online exhibition with the Ladysmith Arts Council at
Federation of Canadian Artists juried "Escape", "Copper Paisley", "Spirit Island", "Coal Harbour Sunset" and "Melting Snow" into their December 2020 "Ten Squared" Exhibition at the Granville Island Gallery and online at
"Summer Sunlight" was juried into the "2021 Works on Paper" Exhibition at and the Granville Island gallery in Vancouver, BC from January 11th to 23rd.
Ladysmith Arts Council juried "Frozen" and "Peacock Pride" into their 2021 Fine Arts Show from February 6 to 28th online at
"Ocean's Alive" was juried into the Federation of Canadian Artists Water Exhibition Online from March 1 to 31, 2021 at
Nanaimo chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists included the following works into their Spring Art Showcase from March 22 to April 12, 2021: "Holland Creek Trail", "Fawn in the Forest", "Butterfly Garden", "Blue Whale" and "Spirit Island"
Federation of Canadian Artists' "Vancouver Salon" Exhibition June 14 to 27, 2021 juried "Peacock Pride" and "Night Waves" into the Granville Island Gallery Show, Vancouver
International Juried Art Competitions
- Annual International Mail-In Art Exhibition – FCA: Shown In Granville Island Gallery, Vancouver, BC
Art Chosen – "Spirits of the Totems" – Awarded Honourable Mention;
- ALL Abstracted 2020 Exhibition - Contemporary Art Gallery Online - Awarded Third Place for "Flow"; other
artwork included in show: "Fire", "Ocean", "Galaxy" and "Glow" at
- 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". See the exhibition at
- Contemporary Art Room Gallery - Finalist Awarded for "Butterfly Garden", "Peacock Pride", and "Moose" in Third
Annual "Animals" Online Art Exhibition
- Grey Cube Gallery "Colors" Exhibition at recognized "Butterflies" artwork as a "Finalist"
- Represented by Art Scene West for their "Reawakening to the Beauty of the West Coast 2020 Exhibition" at
(July 29 - October 31, 2020) Artwork included: "Whistler Snowfall", "Mountain Retreat",
"Coastal Reflections", "Whatcom Falls", "Mountain Escape", "Rialto Beach Driftwood", and "Forest Trail"
- gallery ring "Animal 2020" Exhibition - Awarded "Honourable Mention" for "Masked Swimmer"; Finalists
recognized for "Bison 2" and "Wolf as Red Riding Hood" August 2020
- Art Ascent Magazine chose "Escape" and "Prairie Seas" to be published in their August 2020 "Abstract" Magazine on
pages 84 and 85 at
- Light Space Time Gallery Awarded "Blue Whale" with "Special Recognition in their "Animals" show August 2020
- Fusion Art "4th Annual SKIES Competition" selected "Purple Golden Sunset" to be included in their online exhibition
for August 2020 at
- Contemporary Art Gallery Online 2020 Water/Seascape Painting/Drawing Exhibition August 2020 accepted "Early on a
Frosty Morning", "Ocean Seismic Waves", "Ocean's Alive", "Cornwall Coast" and "Ocean Surf" to their online show at
- gallery ring LAND WATER SKY - August 2020 recognized "Pink Reflections" as their Emerald Award Winner
and selected "Shoreline", "Inside Passage", "Hanging Heart Lake", and "Early on a Frosty Morning" as Finalists
- gallery ring "OPEN" Online Art Competition for September 2020 recognized "Escape" with an "Honourable Mention"
and included "Transformation" and "Leaping Lion" in their Finalist category.
- Fusion Art “Waterscapes 2020” Online Exhibition selected “Ucluelet” and “Ucluelet Sunset” as “Finalists” in their
October show in the Photography and Digital Category.
- Contemporary Art Gallery Online “ALL Animals” Exhibition October 2020 included “Zebra”, “Leaping Lion”,
“Jerome Friendly Giant”, “Donkey from Shrek” and “Eye of the Antelope” in their Painting and Drawing category.
Included in their Photography and Digital category in the same show were: “Bear Claws”, “Chipmunk Grouse Mtn”,
“Doe a Deer, A Female Deer”, “Harbour Seals Victoria” and “Bison”.
- gallery ring honored "Butterflies" with a "Juror's Award" in their December 2020 online exhibition "Colourful" at
- "Transformation", "Erosion" and "Day Turns to Night" were juried into the Annual International Mail-In Art Exhibition
(AIMAE) of the Federation of Canadian Artists from March 29 to April 16th, 2021 at the Granville Island Gallery
- Contemporary Art Room Gallery "Portrait" Online Art Competition selected "Family" as a Finalist in their international
juried exhibition for May 2021
- Contemporary Art Gallery Online (CAGO) included: "Maligne Lake 2", "Frozen", "Hanging Heart Lake", "Pink
Reflections" and "Spirit Island" in their ALL LANDSCAPES ART Exhibition May 19 to June 15, 2021