Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Three Little Floating World ACEO's

Pen And Ink Fine Art By Doug Ashby
This new world was indeed a strange place. A seemingly physical contradiction. It simply shattered our notion of physics and the universe. For how could a planet be so apparently hospitable to our needs and at the same time so baffling.

When we first arrived we were not sure exactly what it was floating all over the atmosphere. So we decided to get a closer look and what we found will forever change us. It is the reason we call this new world "the floating world." Our best guess is that something in the worlds relationship with the host planet and the other orbiting worlds is causing large swaths of ground to break off and float away. Yet these chunks do not die. No in fact they thrive.

Our first outpost is on one of the larger pieces. We felt it would be safer here, before we see what is below. In many ways I don't want to leave because the beauty of this place is breathtaking. However that is not our nature, nor our mission, and soon we will be moving on once again.

I like to write little tiny fictions about the work I do. For me it adds a little more mystery to the art
Pen & Ink Fine Art By Doug Ashby
itself. Something a little bit further to contemplate. These three ACEO's artworks are part of my larger floating world series. Inspired by both my love of science fiction and what extra terrestrial worlds might be like, and the Ukiyo-e, or floating world art, of 18th and 19th century Japan. An homage if you will to that which attracts me artistically.

All three are going to be posted on etsy today and are for sale. They are $40.00 each. Not bad for original art. If you are interested in purchasing them please visit my shop. You need not have an etsy account to make a purchase and all major credit cards are accepted.

Pen & Ink Fine Art By Doug Ashby
If you have any questions and or simply wish to inquire about the three pieces you see here do not hesitate to contact me directly at I welcome any and all feedback.

Thanks and I hope you enjoy the art,


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Inspiration From Strange Sources

Pen & Ink Fine Art By Doug Ashby
If you are an artist then you know that inspiration can creep up on you at the strangest moments. I don't believe I am consciously always on the lookout for my next idea, but in many ways I think my eyes, and mind, are open in different ways that makes finding inspiration possible. For this piece, and others in the same series, the inspiration came from a place I am at everyday. A place that is so routine one could be there in their sleep......that's used as a figure of speech.

This abstract artwork came to me in the shower. That's right, the shower. I know....I know. Not the most likely spot to launch a series of artworks. However one day I happened to see something, that I had seen many times before, just in a new light. It was my wife's hair. Now don't get too grossed out. I have to tell you my wife has a gorgeous mane of thick, long and curly red hair. And she sheds a lot. However she is really good at cleaning up after herself. Sometimes though, as life with little kids and full time jobs is busy, she leaves some behind. Always though she gathers up the strands and puts the on the edge to throw away later.

Now this particular clump was forming, as strange as this sounds, perfect circles built around the flowing strands. Very similar to the artwork you see here. I stared at this amazing collection of hair for a time and then took a pic of it after. Needless to say it served as the basis for a series of abstracts I have been working on. Perhaps this story is too much information, however I felt it need to be told.

The artwork seen here is an ACEO. If you are not familiar with that acronym it stands for Art Card Edition or Original. This one is an original artwork. ACEO's are small coming in only at 2.5" x 3.5". They are designed to be collectibles. I have seen whole albums of these that art lovers collect. They are affordable and fun.

This one is for sale on my etsy page. It is a mere $40.00. Not bad for an original, archival, piece of fine art. If you would like to see more then check it out!

As always I hope you enjoy the art.



Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pen & Ink Fine Art By Doug Ashby
While a great deal of my work deals in abstraction, specifically abstracting nature, there are times when I deal in a more pure form of it. Working simply with shapes that contrast one another, or lines that interweave a piece into a more complete whole.

This piece is one such artwork. It is nothing more then a play on contrasting geometric shapes and the use of line to bring it all together. It is part of a larger group of work I call my "Geo Abstract Series."

Truthfully I am not absolutely sure of where the inspiration for this series comes from. In addition to being an artist I am also an art teacher. Perhaps it sprung out of lessons I do based on the elements and principles of design. Specifically shape, contrast and movement. Perhaps it emerged out of my incessant need to put circular objects in so much of my work? I can't be sure but I do find the work interesting.

And of course I hope you do as well. The original drawing is for sale on my etsy page. If you are interested in purchasing it simply click here. You do not need an account to purchase the art and all major credit cards are accepted.



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Scratchy Brain Cell

Scratch Board Illustration By Doug Ashby
The scratch board. Oh how I love thee......let me count the ways. Well I guess that is a bit dramatic. Anyway I do enjoy working in this particular medium. However, I do not do nearly enough of it.

It is harder to come by in many ways then the simplicity of paper and pen, and in the end it is much more precious. If you mess up there really is no turning back and your investment in seems greater then simple pen and paper. However, I feel that my artwork translates very nicely to it.

This artwork is a depiction of a brain cell. A simple neuron. I have done a few of these and I have a feeling I will certainly be doing more in the future. There is something so very fascinating to me about creating art about the very thing that in the end creates the art. Sort of paradoxical in many ways. Perhaps in the past you have seen some of the other work I have done on this subject. If not, please stay tuned.

This artwork is for sale if you are interested. If you are then please have a look at it on my etsy page. I use etsy because it has been around a long time and quite honestly their system for presenting artwork to the customer, engaging with a potential customer and doing a transaction is very good. So if you would like, please have a look.

As always I hope you enjoy the art. I would love to hear your thoughts on that so please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Thanks, Doug.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New Myth's

Pen & Ink Fine Art By Doug Ashby
This is an older artwork that I did. In fact it is one of the first stipple illustrations I have done. It also was one of the first that departed form doing comfortable subject matter. Prior to this piece I had been honing my craft on flowers, hence the it's presence in this piece. I still do flowers and a lot of nature art, however with this piece I was striving for something different.

The inspiration for it came from watching a PBS special on Joseph Campbell. If you do not know who he is then I suggest a google search. He is a fascinating subject. He is probably the most significant American philosopher to come along in a long time and might remain that way long after his death. The majority of his work focused on the idea of "the hero" in the great historical writings. He has influenced many contemporary writers, artists and filmmakers. In fact one could argue that without him Star Wars might never have come to be.

In the Interview and PBS special I speak of Mr. Campbell spoke on a topic he was recently thinking about and it is one that stuck with me. It was the idea that new myth's, to deal with our changing world, must be invented. He suggested that it was up to to the writers, musicians and visual artists to do this. Needless to say I heard what he was saying and this is the first artwork to come from that inspirational path.

I actually have not done many works based on this path. Sometimes it is just easier to stick with safer subject matter and draw flowers.....and frogs. But I know that in the end that will not completely satisfy me. In the end I will have to once again delve deeper and attempt to be a part of shaping these new mythologies. Perhaps a few of my fellow creative types would like to have a go at it.

As always. I simply hope you enjoy the art.



Thursday, October 16, 2014

She Moved With Grace......

Pen & Ink Fine Art By Doug Ashby
Solitude was always something profoundly important to her. It is at these moments when clarity could be reached and a wishful hope of understanding might be found. The danger always was though that in these moments she would get lost and further isolate herself from what was expected.

The fear of course lied within that thin veil between what she needed, what she wanted, and what she might gain and or lose. For there was much at stake and often she wondered, what did it really matter.

I often like to write some fictional words to go along with my artwork. Sometimes while creating them I dream up an accompanying story, then those words flow from those thoughts. Often I do not and the words happen spontaneously when I sit down to write the blog entries. Often I do dream of expanding on the ideas created along the way, then life often gets in the way.

Needless to say the art goes on and a new piece emerges. This is one in a series I am developing that sprang out of my interest in the Japanese Ukiyo-e, or floating world art, of the late 17th and 18th centuries. I have always been fascinated by this genre and a while back I thought to try my hand at it. Of course nature factors heavily into it and in this one I wanted to bring in the element of humanities tenuous connection to our natural world. For we both are a part of it and in many ways are becoming the controller of it.

This artwork is for sale. It is an original pen and ink stippled drawing. It is drawn using Micron Sakuru archival ink pens and is drawn on Canson heavy weight, acid free, fine art paper. The size is 6" x 9". If you are interested in more details or have any questions at all do not hesitate to contact me at

Once again I hope you enjoy the art.

Thanks, Doug.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Inspiration From My Childhood

Pen & Ink Drawing By Doug Ashby
When I was a boy my parents liked to take us on long road trips for many weeks. At the time I really did not enjoy it. I mean come on, imagine being twelve and trapped in the back of the car with your older sister for hours on end. Yup, not fun. However I have to say that years later I know I am better for all the experiences they gave us. And in the end I do it to my kids as well.

On those long road trips, remember this was way before the iPhone, I was often looking for something to occupy my time. One of the most enjoyable things to do I found was looking at all the maps we brought along. And if you didn't guess this was also before GPS. There was something so interesting about the maps. Of course I enjoyed plotting where we were and how long to go before we arrived at our destination, however I now know there was something even more intriguing to me about those maps.

Humans are interesting creatures. One of the more fascinating things is to see how we divide up our land. Boundaries on maps take on unique shapes that continually amaze and inspire me. Combine this with natural formations and maps, for me at least, provide a never ending and pleasurable viewing experience. This drawing here is one in a series of three I did inspired by maps.

Specifically I was looking at city planning maps. This arena really can shine in interesting, human created, shapes and spaces. They also can be very boring if the only plan was a grid. In the end I didn't want it to look exactly like a map but an abstract that caught the eye and kept your attention. Maybe it just makes you wonder where the inspiration came from. Maybe you like the simplicity in the use of shape and line, maybe you even figure it all out.

In the end I simply hope you like the drawing. I would love to hear from you if you do so do not hesitate to leave a comment.

Thanks, Doug.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Summertime Delicious........

Kale, Watermelon, Grape & Feta Salad
I know that I don't take the best pics of my food. In many ways I see this blog as a real amateur effort in the creative realms. I love to cook and to dream up things to do with different foods. It most certainly is part of my overall want and need to draw and make music. Basically it is just another outlet of creativity with my hands. However don't come to expect professional quality pics of my food......sorry.

With that said I have here a salad I recently made for my wife and I. I had been dreaming of feta cheese for a while after a long stint consuming smoked Gouda. There is a local company that makes the most delicious Gouda. However I wanted something a little lighter and more summery. So one night at the market I bought a block. Earlier in the day my wife bought a watermelon and cut it up. So the stage was set for this delicious salad.

The bread was the tail end of a loaf I made a few days before and it was in the perfect place to soak up the dressing and watermelon juice. The kale is in season right now and I bought it at the local farm and the grapes were these nice plump green ones I bought at the market. I made a lime and honey vinaigrette and tossed it all together. Topping the whole thing with toasted almonds. It was a big hit with my wife, which is always a plus.

Anyway here is the recipe:

- 4-5 cups of stemmed and chomped kale
- 1/2 sliced red onion
- 2 large cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1/2 brick of feta cheese cut into 1/4 inch cubes
- 3 cups of green grapes cut in half
- 3 cups of watermelon cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 cups day old bread cut into 1/2 inch croutons
- 1 lime squeezed and zested
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- handful of roasted almonds

Place all the cut up fruits and vegetables, bread and cheese into a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl zest the lime and then squeeze out the juice. Add the honey and salt and pepper. With a fork whisk the juice and honey as you add in the olive oil to make the vinaigrette. It will thicken and emulsify. When the dressing is done pour it over the salad and toss it real good with your hand or tongs. Place the dressed salad into a bowl to serve and top with roasted almonds. I roast my own in a small saute pan for about 10 -15 minutes at 250 degrees in the oven.

And there you go. A perfect, light and healthy summer salad.

Enjoy, Doug.

Monday, July 7, 2014

My Latest Endeavor

So I was not even sure if I should upload this. Truthfully it's a bit lame. However, I will say it was my very first attempt ever at doing such a thing so I am going to share it anyway. 

About a year ago I started to play the guitar again. Not that much really as life was very busy at the time. It had been nearly twenty years since I had played and even back then I had no clue what I was doing. Still the itch to try again was strong so I bought a good, but not expensive, acoustic. It was a lot of fun. At that time though, as I said, we were very busy as we were fostering a little boy and if you have kids you know what I mean.

Sadly this little man, after 16 month's, left us. It tore a hole in my family's heart. In the aftermath I decided to step up my music game a bit and I bought an electric. A really nice one. And I started taking lessons. Not long after, just a few weeks back, I decided I also wanted a piano. You see I dabbled a bit in that as well a lifetime ago. So I bought a pretty good electric one. I also bought a mike to record. This song here is my first effort at writing and recording.

While it is only two tracks I do plan on expanding it a bit. However I have much to learn. As I said before it is a bit lame at this point, but what the hell.

So have a listen and know......I am just getting started. Oh and if you couldn't figure it out the song is about that little man that brought us so much.

Thanks, Doug.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

How We Learn.......

Original Pen & Ink Drawing By Doug Ashby
While this image was created some time ago there has been much ado about the subject lately in the news. I am not sure if you have heard any of these earth shattering reports but it seems......if you can believe this, that science has proven once and for all that reading to your children is a good thing. Earth shattering information right. Sometimes I am amazed at what seems like new and relevant information. Honestly I thought this one was a no brainier.

The sad truth is that it is not. I started taking an interest in how kids learn to read back in September after listening to a few audio books that were recommend to me by a colleague. Seeing as reading is something I value in my life I wanted to know a little more about how we learn to do so. Honestly I can't remember learning cause I was very young. However, in the school I work in we are seeing an alarming increase in the number of fifth graders who simply can't read. This inability has a profound effect on their ability to succeed in school and subsequently in their future. So as a teacher I wanted to know more so I could better help our struggling students.

There are many different strategies of course and with what my school is witnessing it really is a large scale intervention that should take precedence over all other aspects of the curriculum. In truth though it really does boil down to a solid parent child relationship, where the parent reads to their children. And early on at that. It seems so simple but the act of having your child sit in your lap, a trusting position, and reading though a book is what it takes to set a good and lasting foundation. Also note that here actual books are important as the tactile experience for the child, simply touching and holding the book, is important. Again an example of our brainy hands at work.

This artwork depicts that relationship and it's significance. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter so please do not hesitate to comment or get in touch via email.

Thanks and as always I hope you enjoy the efforts of my brainy hands,


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Common Player In Our Microbial Life

Pen & Ink Fine Art By Doug Ashby
It might come as no surprise that one of my favorite items in this world to consume is beer. Not only do I love the taste I also believe that, if handled with care, beer is part of a healthy diet. Oh and before I forget I love how a few of them make me feel. Let's face it that is really why we all love alcohol. As dangerous as it can be treated well it is a marvel of human manipulation of our environment.

But do we really manipulate that environment as be we believe. Many brew masters would beg to differ and give almost all of the credit for a great beer to the little fungus known as S. Cerevisiae. Otherwise know as yeast. Yup it is this ubiquitous critter, it literally is everywhere, that turns ordinary grains into the stuff so many of us adore.

Still that is something that many of us hardly ever consider. Just how intertwined we are with this fungus. It has the dubious distinction of being the most studied life form on the planet, and yet we know very little about it. The question is have we adapted it to our purposes, or is it adapting us to it's? I mean lets face it much of our grain production in this world goes to producing beer and bread. The very thing S. Cerevisiae wants to chow down on. Many contemporary anthropologists currently believe that agriculture began in order to secure a steady beer supply. Interesting huh? For me it simply seems to be a wonderful and thriving symbiotic relationship.

This drawing here is an attempt to capture the essence of the yeast doing it's job on the beer. The vegetation in the left corner is a hop, that which gives beer it's distinctive taste, and of course I needed to add an electron. After listening to a physics lecture on biological machinery the electron became the symbol of life for me.

I hope you enjoy the art and thoughts.

Thanks, Doug
The Opinionated Artist

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Shine Right Through 1

Pen & Ink Fine Art By Doug Ashby
As the time went by I began to feel it.
At first it was not brilliant, just a tiny spark.
The path then was very one way.
One way, but absorbed in a manner I did not comprehend.

As time went by you became more capable of letting us know.
Each day that passed witnessed an unyielding push forward.
As each day passed you began to shine the light back to us.
And I began to feel what I had given freely.

As time gets closer to a resolution the path is two way.
For I know that it is meant to be this way.
That our light, our love, needs to shine on you,
As well as your light shines right through me.

The title of this artwork is derived from a song I first heard while watching a movie with my wife. The not so great movie was "Admission", the song however is called 'Shine Right Through" by Correatown. Almost instantly I had a strong feeling about what this song was about. Or more accurately what it meant to me. This feeling helped me to understand more fully a difficult, and at this time, ongoing situation in my life. I say difficult, however, at the same time this situation is also bringing much joy and educating me about this world, this life, and myself, in ways I never considered.

This artwork is the first of three I am planning. At this point I do not wish to say more about it. I want to let the next little bit unfold.

If you like the artwork and words I wrote about it then do stay tuned for the next two drawings. There is more to come from this path.

Thanks, Doug.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Our Microbial Life

Pen & Ink Fine Art By Doug Ashby
Recently there has been a big uptick in talk about healthy bugs and how those critters shape our world every day. Mostly these articles have to deal with food and how that effects our gut microbiome, or the bacteria that aid in our digestion. For sure you have heard of probiotics and some of the health claims that holistic health nuts cheer about. Truly, I feel these claims go to far, however there is ever increasing scientific evidence that in the western world we might have lost touch with these microbial friends of ours.

Clearly this is the subject of the artwork that you see here. In truth this image is something that almost all of us have encountered in our life. It is the microscopic workings of a true sourdough bread. Lately I have been experimenting with sourdough starters and in that process I became more aware of how the bacteria lactobacilli works on the wheat starches, the flour, to produce a unique and wonderful addition to something as simple as bread. What is truly impressive is how you don't have to do much to get your starter to become colonized by this wonderful live culture. Just leave it out in the open. You see this particular bacteria is already in the flour and in the air and does not need to be added. is everywhere. I kid you not.

Needless to say many people find thinking about this to be somewhat disgusting. Along with the lactobaccilli the starter dough is also colonized by S. Cerevisiea. Or in plainer terms yeast. A common fungus that helps leaven the bread. Together these to microbial creatures turn something as basic as wheat into something as sublime as a great loaf of bread. If you are like me then you find this fascinating and you want to know more about how it works. If that's the case just google it.

I am planning a series of drawings on this very subject. The one I recently started has to do with my favorite fermented Stay tuned for that.

As always I hope you like the art and the thoughts.

Thanks, Doug.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Other Floating Worlds.......A Continuing Series

Pen & Ink Fine Art By Doug Ashby
This time I was sure of it. Sure that Centauri was communicating with me. Sure that she was trying to tell me something about the murder I was investigating. I honestly could not explain how I knew, but something about this artwork let me know. Perhaps it was the smaller moon and its familiarity with the view from old terra. A view many have forgotten as now the lunar surface is covered with the structures built to serve those in charge. 

The problem is I have no idea how to decipher exactly what it is Centauri is conveying. I believe it is in the symbols that are so present, so out of sorts and geometric in such an organic image. However, I do not know where to begin even exploring this crazed idea I have. 

If I could I would attempt to make direct contact with Centauri. Unfortunately no one in the system has any idea who she, or he for that matter, much less how to make contact. For now I think I will finally reveal these ideas of mine to my partner. She might think I am imagining all this, but I know I can not do this alone.

I have not written this story line in a while. I do still dream of creating a larger a larger work, perhaps an enovella, or a longer and continuing story on a stand alone page, however now is not the time. For now I will simply revisit this path when I create works from my "Other Floating Worlds" series. For now this is all I have in me.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this piece and any other artwork I have here, so please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Thanks and I hope you enjoy the art and creative words.