Art with a flourish: Silverton, eclipse, featured in 2017 festival poster

October 2017 Posted in Arts, Culture & History, Community

By Nancy Jennings

Bubbly, free spirit Ashley Schaecher always had an eye for art. The 23-year-old Beaverton resident is excited to be this year’s poster artist for Silverton’s Fine Arts Festival. Using traditional watercolor with modern digital painting, her piece couples iconic scenes of downtown Silverton with the upcoming solar eclipse. She calls her creation’s effect “surreal.”

“I started painting it last July. I worked the eclipse in there. I wanted her (the character) to be doing something with art. I thought ‘What if she’s just painting Silverton?’” The character is wearing a yellow tank top and listening to music with green headphones.

“I notice as I’ve gotten older that I kind of accidentally put myself into my art. It just happens,” she said, adding that her favorite color is yellow and she has the same headphones. Her style shows the influence of Czech Art Nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha. He created the art on many popular French posters for theater and concerts.

Born in Silverton and raised in Mount Angel, Schaecher was destined for artistic expression. As a four year old, she watched her mother color a fantasy-themed poster, bursting with waterfalls, fairies, dragons and elves. Both of her grandmothers dabble in art as well. Absorbing the creative process, she grew up seeing art as “a big outlet to meditate, calm myself down and to work through life,” she said.

She attended Chemeketa Community College, graduating from the Visual Communications Program last year. She found a platform to showcase her talent through the Silverton Fine Arts Festival poster competition. Silverton Arts Association Office Manager Meghan McIntire encouraged artists by saying: “You should do it.” Schaecher took the challenge to heart and figured she had nothing to lose.

“I had just graduated and took it as my first personal project. I told myself, ‘I’m just going to do this and get it done.’” If she didn’t succeed “then it would be just another cool picture I can hang on my wall,” she said.

A “blind” jury of five arts association board members judged four finalists and her work was selected.

Schaecher’s plans include returning to college to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in graphic design. She also wants to travel  the world, perhaps staying in youth hostels along the way.

“I could meet new people and get inspired by them. I can do some art and flourish,” she said.

She offers advice for when “flourishing” isn’t happening. “If it’s just not coming through, you have to put it down. I try to bounce around between mediums until I find one that fits for me that day,” she explained.

Speaking of likes – or dislikes – Schaecher admits she was not a fan of abstract art, but its allure grew on her. “Art is always different for everyone, but they can still feel the same way. That’s why I love it so much,” she said.

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