Twitter is a great place for discovering new artists. I stumbled into Ashly Lovett’s world late one night when she was having a sale on prints. I managed to grab one for myself despite being almost hypnotized by all her work:
The title of the work is Drift. The medium is pastels. That’s one of the reasons I was attracted to it. I love using pastels. I love the sensation of using my fingers on rough paper to smudge, define, and add highlights. Compared to artists who work in watercolors and digital art, the number of fine artists using pastels is small. Ashly explains why she works with pastels in this interview. Please see question six for a detailed description of why Ashly prefers pastels.
Ashly told me that she loves textures, like bark, and that’s another thing that made me fall in love with Drift. I love the woods. I love trees, touching the bark, photographing the lichen. I also love the theme of woman as nature.
The colors in the actual print glow. The leaves are copper. The lips shimmer. There are tiny details like the tiny mushrooms that grow on fallen logs. And there are the white highlights that sculpt the face and give it dimension and life.
When you view Ashly’s gallery, you’ll understand why I describe her work as almost hypnotic. Some of her subject matter is startling, like her portrait of Hester Prynne. She also takes a concept like a peony fairy and gives it an unnerving lifelike impression.
Ashly’s work isn’t pretty, bland fantasy art. Some of it is startling. It definitely takes you out of your comfort zone. Her particular strength is in creating eyes that shine with personality.
If you’d like to learn more about Ashly’s process, she’s going to be featured in Graphite Magazine in January. If you’re interested in working with pastels, I suggest that you check it out!