An inspirational client

8″x10″ oil on canvas

I love that my website attracts requests for touching commission requests such as the one below:


The better part of last year I spent in surgery, chemo or having double radiation for cancers. So far I am in remission and doing very well.   One of the many wonderful caregivers with a daunting task is a trainer for Fitsteps For Life, a free program designed to make us chemo and radiation patients get out of bed and work out and not allowing us to become bedridden.   The program that I am enrolled in is hosted by the generosity of Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas.

Our wonderful trainer lost her young mother recently to cancer. Her mother lived and died at home in Jacksonville, Texas. Hours before she passed on, she told her family of a bird that had started inhabiting her garden and for them to understand that things in this life are not as they seem. The bird was there that day and the family got a look at the bird, the Painted Bunting. She told her family that when she left them, there would be two. She died several hours later and as the family wandered into the garden, there were two of these beautiful birds on a branch in their mother’s garden.

Needless to say, the bird is now a huge symbol in the lives of that family. As a gesture of profound gratitude for this caregivers service to me and many others I would like to have you paint a small oil of this beautiful bird that she may receive anonymously for Christmas.

I assure you there is no better way to feel good about your work.   I was incredibly honored to paint this colorful bird for my client and mail it to the recipient.   How’s that for holiday cheer?

Belated boasting

photo by John Rott

Heck, why not partake in a little gloating?   Louisville’s Velocity Weekly recently profiled me in their “What I’m Into” column.   One more thing for my grandmother to laminate.

A freeze on online purchases for the Art Party!

If you’re in Louisville, you should be at 1330 Cherokee Road #6 tonight.   I’m having a show of over 50 paintings, mostly from ’07 (wow, even I find that impressive).   I’ll also be collecting household items to be donated to Kentucky Refugee Ministries.

Clearly, I can’t sell paintings in two places at one time.   Well I actually I can, and I have, and learned the hard way when two people bought the same piece.   Therefore, no online purchases please until tomorrow, the 7th, at 10pm east coast time.

I hope to see you tonight!

A very exciting agenda for tomorrow

Tomorrow will be a long day of interviews, tours and appointments at several Seattle nonprofits.   I’m most excited about interviewing a elementary school teacher who has become so heavily involved with the plight of the homeless that she has come to spend many of her nights not nestled in her own sheets, but at an outdoor, mobile homeless shelter.   Such shelters, called Tent Cities, are a bit of a Seattle novelty and have offered this teacher the deep understanding of homelessness she was after.

There is no lack of controversy over whether the Tent Cities do more harm than good, and I’m looking forward to discovering an insider’s view (albeit an loving “impostor”) on what strategies most effectively combat this age-old issue.   I certainly will be asking what her thoughts are on prison reentry programs, rehabilitation treatment, cost of living vs minimum wage, and more.   I welcome your questions if you can get them to me before tomorrow afternoon (ashley.cecil(at)

After we have dinner, we’re heading to one of the Tent Cities nearby to meet some the residents.   A few of these folks will be fielding questions as well, so please send any thoughts or questions you would like me to ask them (Colleen, I know you have something to add!)

I’m leaving on a jet plane

I’m en route to Seattle today for a 2 1/2 week stay. As always, I would love to hear your suggestions of blog worthy topics, causes, organizations and people I should have on my agenda to cover.

Calling for St Louis leads

7″ x 9″ watercolor, $70
See all artwork available for sale.

I only stopped at home, in between the camp in Paducah, Kentucky and St Louis, Missouri, long enough to wonder why I unpacked at all. So without preparation for visiting the latter location, I’m now at square one here in St Louis discovering what organizations to highlight. I got a little sidetracked with celebrating the 4th of July at a Cardinals baseball game last night (well worth it).

My artistic reach has been stymied by being beholden to my travel-mate for transportation, so my inspiration has started in the backyard of my hostess’s home. Although, we have been in the city exploring multiple places I will be revisiting to share with you via paintings. Nonetheless, I want to exploit one of my greatest proven resources, you, to provide me with leads. I’m dying to hear about any St Louis groups, organizations, individuals, stories, events, etc that your have to offer.

Gifts of appreciation

From time to time I get fan mail, invitations to events, and sometimes gifts. There’s nothing like coming home to a package on your doorstep from someone you’ve never met, who took the time to put together a care package for you. This gift though, takes the cake. Painting Activist admirer, Millie Fennig of far away Dallas, TX, hand-crafted this piece of wire art of my initials. I was blown away and had to share it with you. I wish she had a website I could direct you to, but in lieu of one, I’ll gladly take orders for her. 😉

Thank you Millie!

Raffle winner

Congratulations Jason Holzking, you’re now the owner of this Ashley Cecil original watercolor painting.   Thanks for participating in the raffle!

Art for Mother’s Day

Make mom happy as well as the nonprofits benefiting from your purchases at

Raffle painting 5.6.07!

I’m experimenting with a new way of selling select watercolor paintings from previous posts, and more importantly, acquiring more subscribers. I’m raffling this painting for $2 tickets and/or new subscribers you send my way. I’m encouraging you to email your friends or blog about the raffle. Each new person you refer who signs up to subscribe counts as one raffle ticket. Please have the folks you refer email me (, giving you credit. As incentive to them, I will mail a note card of a painting if they include their mailing address.

Buy as many tickets and refer as many friends and family as you like. If all goes well, I’ll do this on a regular basis. The winner will be announced next Sunday.

So, click below to buy a raffle ticket,

email friends and encourage them to subscribe. They participate in the raffle themselves before Sunday, and get a note card in the mail.

I need your advice!


“art springs from creativity
activism creates change, painting activism”

This is the front and back of a postcard I’m nearly ready to send off to the printer, but I can’t decide if the copy is too obscure. The final 4″ x 6″ postcard will be a direct mail piece. I’ll also leave stacks of them at various places such as coffee shops. My guess is that there isn’t enough information for someone to understand what the card is about, or what it’s asking them to do. In case it’s even unclear to you, the goal is get people to visit and buy the art that supports the nonprofits featured here.

I’m not wed to any of the text and I would greatly appreciate your input/suggestions. So, what do you think? What would hold your attention until the next time you were online?

I love to barter!

I recently ordered a new batch of note cards to send along with the paintings I sell as a thank you to my clients. While I still have an abundance of these mini-paintings, I thought I would offer them to both my buyers and yet-to-be-buyers in exchange for word of mouth marketing.

Email a friend about this blog, cc me (, include your mailing address, and I’ll send you a note card. By all means, feel free to email all your friends, and encourage them to do the same. I will send a note card everyone who keeps it going! Hmm, this sounds like a chain letter. So be it! Help me help the organizations I blog about (of course, it works well for me too!).

Don’t take that bottle of water on your desk for granted

6″ x 9″ watercolor, $70 ($10 donated to Water for People)
See all artwork available for sale.

Yesterday was World Water Day, “an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro.” The theme for 2007 was “coping with water scarcity.” Many of us in developed nations have no concept of what water scarcity means on a personal level. I certainly got a sense of the problem while I was in Venezuela. I had to pack my drinking water with me for my stay in the country, and avoided nearly all vegetables so as not to eat anything washed with unclean water. Even in the major capitol city of Caracas, clean drinking water was an issue. Multiple factors such as overpopulation, poor infrastructure, and lack on funds contribute to the United Nation’s estimate of over 1.1 billion people currently without safe drinking water.

World Changing posted an excellent list of resources, projects, and events that address water scarcity. It’s worth a glance.

Happy belated Water Day!

The painting journalist is out of ¨the office¨

What was I thinking when I assumed that I would be able to post new paintings while in Venezuela trekking through rural communities and cities void of WiFi?

I ´ve found a crowded internet cafe where I could squeeze in a quick heads up to everyone that I will be back in the States early next week with enough material to work from for a long while.   I ´m gaining an amazing amount of insight and  clarity about political, economic, and social issues related to Venezuela and the US.   I ´m looing forward to sharing it very soon!