Words of affirmation

Words. This is how we all communicate. Texting more so than letters. Social media over a phone call. This particular “love language”, wasn’t the most popular amongst the art dropped off at my gallery this week. Re-Cap for those who don’t know: art is being dropped off for the group exhibit at A.E.H. studio gallery the five love languages I am currently curating. The reception is February 22nd 5:30pm-8:30pm. It will be a display of works based around the five love languages, a book by Gary Chapman. I thought it best to review words of affirmation after my last post about gifting.

Painted collage by Joan Gundersen

Words of affirmation is not my strong suit. I’ll be the first to admit that I will hide behind an embrace, a gift, supper… anything to get away from words that come from my heart! Even though it doesn’t hurt me to give compliments or tell someone how much I care about them it is definitely harder. I don’t like to make a spectacle of my emotional state, and rarely do I plaster my emotions on my face for the public to see. I guess this past week I’ve been more emotionally available and open to the people whom I love in my life and beyond. I’m realizing if I don’t say it they won’t hear it. If I don’t explain it, they won’t know. A healthy balance of all the love languages in a relationship is really key to a great one. Obviously as an introvert/INFJ I would choose more comfortable love languages over words of affirmation.

A little research I was doing on color combinations. I loved the color combinations in this book, “The Color Bible” especially the delicious words used for each.

I am starting to see that words, books, and articles are a mental form of communication that can connect people through all senses. They are stronger than I previously thought. Books from the past is how we all learn. Books in the now it’s how we learn about others/new things. It is perhaps the strongest love language. In old age what means most to the elderly? When we talk to the elderly what do we want to hear? We want to hear stories, words, their history. Then you can be instantly vacuumed out of reality into their past experiences. I remember my grandmother on the Hall side telling me what she used to wear in school for swimming lessons. I was astonished to hear that she wore a cap and these dress-things and shorts under it all. She said it was Soo heavy. She shown me pictures of herself in these. I couldn’t believe she used to wear so many articles of clothing just to swim. I remember her telling me what things were like in school for her. How much time has flown by I realized, as she spoke about her experiences.

There are so many things I would like to ask her about today. Like her heritage and what it was like growing up with her brothers and sisters. But she is gone. I realized words have an expiration date sometimes and you have to let people know how you feel in the moment for moments do pass. I used to sit in the sun room with my grandma when my dad was gone to work because he was her primary caregiver. I didn’t want her to feel alone, plus I would have someone next to me while I painted. I would tell her what colors I was using and what I was painting that day. I drove there and we just checked in with each other almost weekly if not bi-weekly. Grandma Hall’s seeing wasn’t great towards the end of her life but she could hear and her mind was very sharp. So I guess the love language I gave her was quality time / time spent. You can miss a crucial moment to tell someone how you feel or ask how they FEEL. So, that being said…. What do you need to tell somebody?

Reviewing the 5 Love Languages: Gifting

My gift to all of you reading this is a January 2020 original haiku. I wrote this during a spell of pure boredom whilst scrolling through blogs.

Slick icey road

The new decade prances

Like apparitions

By: Ashton Elizabeth Hall
Caught in the rain while in Chicago

What do gifts symbolize really? Are they a physical catapult for emotional happiness a Surprise makes? You know …that giddy feeling when you really are excited!? Where does that come from I wonder? Desires being met perhaps. Or what one thinks the gift must mean. Where does excitement from giving & receiving gifts REALLY come from? Is it the fact that perhaps we now believe we are loved when someone is kind enough to gift us and or giving some gift and seeing the expression on that person’s face?

I am sure gifts have been a form of expression between lovers, family, and friends since humans started to evolve and walk the earth. I mean hell, even my cat adorns my steps with lifeless birds. (Her name is Miss Piggy and she is the sweetest cat!) Back to Gifting. So gifting is almost non-verbal if not 100% come to think of it. That is interesting…think of that now. It has formed a way to confirm a thought without saying anything. Crossing all language barriers.

In the cafe’ painted by Fernando Lungren 1884 – Chicago Art institute

Recently I’ve gifted myself the luxury of time to travel. Time away from my home and job. I love being free, waking up in this huge world thinking; ” I can do whatever I want today, today is all mine and I choose my own path in each moment.” That is powerful. Real power is seeing yourself as valuable and unconstrained by social and internal conflicts.

What are you gifting yourself?

Figure 8

This year has brought so many GREAT career surprises and 1st accomplishments for me. I had felt since last fall a huge shift in my career was looming favorably. So I knew I had to write about all of the happenings as of late. I have been itching to share them with you and the world so here it goes! Recently I was featured on the front page of the LIVE!-section of my local paper, The La Crosse Tribune bearing headline Heider to display art with a powerful new palette. Read the full article : here

“From the ground up” 310.00 Oil pastel on board -Made for the Heider Center Exhibit 2020

As you can imagine I was very excited and even though I was interviewed I had no clue it was going to be in the Tribune. A first for my art really. I have been a headliner in the paper for previous acting performances and featured in other cities local papers as a visiting artist but never my OWN town. I am going strong with the series that was covered…just adding more to it up until today. It is titled, “Pink, Purple, and Periwinkle: A love affair.” Read the article to find out more behind the subject, if you do then you will see that my life is completing a complete figure-8 it seems. After turning 30 I have been experiencing many synchronicities in relation to where I grew up. The show I mentioned which was created for Marie W. Heider Center for the Arts in West Salem IS about my upbringing. West Salem is not far from Bangor where I grew up until age 17. Whenever we had to go to La Crosse (which seemed like civilization compared to Bangor) we would have to pass through West Salem first. I remember as a young girl always drawing, checking out books on art, and painting. Bangor was very small, and similar to a box. It has 4 walls and its relatively safe but BORING. It’s where I would day dream about being a professional artist, and art was an escape and Godsend for me then. Now It seems I have fully circled back to the other side of the figure 8.

I am teaching a class in the same library I walked to as a child and teen! The local Art in the Library program asked me to be a presenter and teach a Oil Pastel Landscapes class from 6-8pm March 18th 2020. For 2-hours I will teach techniques I use and ways a famous artist; Richard Diebenkorn may have used his crayons, oils, and pencil on paper. The Art class takes place in the John Bossard Memorial Library in Bangor Wisconsin down the street from Andrew street..the street I grew-up on. Another synchronicity, the location of my current gallery is on Saint Andrew Street. My father is named Andrew and he had a large impact on my art creation as a child. Starting to see the coincidences?

I am very excited to see what February brings and I will keep up with this blog whilst away. I am traveling for some rest and rejuvenation. I will be out of town Jan 24 – Feb 1st so open studio hours resume Feb 6th per usual. I hope you are staying warm and inspired. BUT most of all challenging yourself and pushing for growth OUTSIDE of your comfort zone in your life. -Peace & love always- Ashton

Delayed with donuts: Minneapolis Airport Art Curation review

Life imitates art, art imitates life
This saying is repeated in the artistic social circles of life and beyond. I know what it means but not personally. I wander through the MN airport looking at the cases of original works. I have a top five and they are as follows:

1. Pistachio fluff- Jennifer Rogers

2. Birch totem- Ani kasten

3. Face jug with green aura- Haley prochnow

4. Grandma’s space – Brandon lepski

5. Coya 2- Guillermo Guadia

These all speak to me but I have been especially in the mood for solid block colors and monochromatic artwork. Simplicity and shapes have taken over my artistic favor. I like a good mixture of clay, photography, and painting. Each time I view work I try viewing it through the eyes of the curator; dropping myself in their shoes. I wonder why did the artist choose this or that work, and why did the curator hang this way? On my delayed flight to Houston I figured out what it means to have my art imitate life. Last year I created a piece of work called Patricia. It was the series wherein I asked several artists in town to give me a color palette. This particular work was purple, black, orange, brown, yellow, and white. I loved this work so much it sparked an idea for the Pantone series. All of which was made up in my mind, based on objects in an impressionistic space. Without pictures or plan I realized it was hard to re-create a series with these colors. How does one reignite a spark, reignite a passion? I remember how I made it with intuitive motion, grabbing color and placing shape into my piece of work aggressively.

I look out the window seat in the air plane…

The horizon line paints with the same color and feeling, “Patricia” the painting holds. I felt it was a sign to keep going with the series and try again. I am just expanding on it presently but wavering.

Is it the most detailed work I’ve painted? Nope. But it does move me. That means it is meaningful. I get inspired by the sight of it.

So try again I will.

Scattered thought poem:Clock’s tink to a lonely 11:37amThe man behind me at the bar gets a Spicer Bloody Mary, per my adviceThe stranger who was in charge of my drink gets up to leaveI’ve been here since 5:30 am and will leave at 4pmThe day feels like it’s been two“Do all men who rock bald heads have premature balding?”There are more boring thoughts then that even…”That’s, not my favorite” a short waitress stomps on cold slabs of tile glued to airport carpet”Can I have cucumbers in this?”Bartender drops hints of habenero liquids in my glassNose runs.I text.Listening to strangers, the guy behind be admits to people watching..looking for only hot ones.I’m buzzed.I am stuck at the Minneapolis Airport.

A.E.H. Studio Gallery

1501 Saint Andrew Street La Crosse, WI 54603 Above boot hill pub

Event: A.E.H. Studio Gallery Holiday Open House

What: Presenting to the world my curated studio space A.E.H. studio gallery with a holiday open house. All art shows are free to the public.

Date: November 30th 5:30pm-8pm Location: 1501 Saint Andrew St. St, La Crosse, WI 54603 (2nd floor) Enter building, take left up stairs, right through doors, right down the hall, I am on the right. Restrooms and elevator available, motion sensored lights in building. Info: Mingle & enjoy refreshments whilst viewing local artworks for sale by photographers, painters and a local wood worker. Pink, Purple, & Periwinkle: A love Affair Artshow

Who: Hello, Ashton Hall here! If you have been following on the heels of my career as of late you would have seen I have been making great strides into grand territories professionally. Opening a half year lease to focus on my artwork, I’ve decided to open my studio space up for the public to enjoy. In short the surrounding community is welcome to browse my studio during open hours and during exhibitions. I will be including local artists on the studio gallery walls that arent under the confines of subject limitation and commission. Since I have years of experience curating and exhibiting my own work and others in galleries, bars, cafes, theatres and other public places I’ve decided to use my expertise to organise several group shows. These solo & group shows will highlight my own work and local artistians unlimited perceptions. I hope to bring community together for several nights through Nove,ber 2019- April 2020 to talk art, culture, and grow revenue for artists in hopes of finding funds for projects in their careers. 

Worlds Apart, on the same island

October just ended and now its November. Fall leaves smother grey road, decorate the breeze and clog gutters around the Muse theater on the north side of La Crosse. The first weekend was sold out as I played Ginger in the Muse’s production of “Gilligan’s Island.” I met new people and laughed hard on stage with fellow cast mates. It was by far my favorite show I’ve acted in due to the cheesy lines and crazy Jessica-rabbit-esque character I played. I realized the first week I LOVED putting on the make-up for Ginger prior to performing. The make-up transformed me; channeling my inner Ginger; a high society Hollywood starlet. And no amount of glitter, rhinestones, blush, cleavage or flowery perfume was enough! After-all I shook my cleavage in lucky men’s faces each night…and made them blush and shirk so I needed that perfume! Needless to say it was a hit!

The crowd loved us each so much we had a few walk onto stage. Maybe it was the wine but the crowd wooted and hollered. In years past while in high school and after specifically around the time of my birthday I was in a play. That play I participated in opened so of course this time I had that reminiscent birthday’s of past feeling which is always a stomach full of Butterfly’s, peaking through the curtain at the sea of nameless faces.

Its true I was getting rather weary during the play an eager to start on my new artistic endeavors… a welcomed cloud that shadows most of my thoughts) on top of which I work 6 days a week at the Chaseburg post-office. Little did I know everything was about to fall into place. This is an announcement that I finally have a Pop-up studio space that I also will be curating gallery exhibits in! So this is VERY exciting news for me and art lovers! On My site and blog in intend to inform you all of my studio address and upcoming exhibits soon! Also I have been shooting images my painted tarot series for about a year now. Its a piling work in progress to create my own tarot deck but great news is I am about to start painting it! Further more I am going to be working with Downtown Main street to help create an artist Pop-up Co-op for this November -December! All good things…Stay tuned for more details. Peace & gratitude -Ashton


“the highest or climactic point of something, especially as attained after a long time.”

500 main St. Mural Alleyway

Click these local stations for coverage of the event: WEAU or NEWs 8000

This past Friday the 13th was the culmination of many weeks of leadership, teamwork, and murals at the Mural reception for the 500 Main st. Alleyway project. September brought us an amazing harvest moon, also known as the wine moon or singing moon which brought many things into completion physically. These plans were laid months ago with Robin Moses, Sabrina B. and I at a chance meeting. We chatted about how to get local art into the eyes of the community and Robin proposed the idea that the murals in the alleyway adjacent to their building weren’t finished. That alley reminded me of Black Cat alley that I went to over the summer in downtown Milwaukee which involved many local artists. Since we all had a vision we started planning with 500 Main st. and asked local artists to be involved in painting murals with the help of La Crosse soup’s donation money. I must say thank you to all who attended the last Mural reception and the artists themselves! It was an amazing feat to behold for La crosse and I feel SOO PROUD that we made this happen. The last few months of painting really did pay off with some beautiful displays of public artwork. Hopefully the murals at 500 Main street in downtown La Crosse, Wisconsin will inspire the youth and garnish hope for future artists living there. I remember growing up in La Crosse and realizing long ago there weren’t many opportunities for a painter/graphic designer. I realized it is US artists in the present moment that need to stand up and need to be the change you would like to see in the world. I want artists to know that they can paint with passion and sometimes those rewards will not be of the material world: but instead spiritual value. Being VALUED by the public with emotional connection for making things more beautiful is a reward and sometimes more affirmation you need then fleeting money.

In Due time


“Everything happens in due time “

We all know the saying. I do not like waiting though. Naturally I want to reach out to the world, take action by getting what I need then scampering off.

If I follow this train of thought I instantly feel like a bee sizing me up in summertime. There I am …hardened like a rock while a bee buzzes at my face, chest, and butt. I am waiting…holding my breath with eyes widened internally screaming please DON’T STING ME.

My cat Ms. Piggy found the one clean spot on my art desk closest to me

I am referring to how the universe makes me feel while I wait for fruits of my labor to ripen and drop . If you know me personally I take suggestions from the universe like synchronicity seriously. I’ve been waiting to see a happy coincidence lately before making great shifts in my life. Really I should have never waited for my ship to reach shore. Cycles, phases, emotional pitfalls can be used to fuel the creation of art. So have faith and feel everything can work out. Waiting is about timing which is important mental work. It is the work of having faith as well as weighing the risks you take. Many artists have a hard time building up enough emotional reserves to weather the downtime phases in their careers. It is the phase when commissions seem to grind to a halt and you stand there wondering, “what’s next – who’s next – wheres the next opportunity” I will tell you that time catches up with us, ultimately surpassing us if we haven’t paid enough attention to it. My advice to artists is take your time defining what you want to convey. FIND THOSE healthy environments to do so and if you do not get chosen and have tried, well…keep trying. This rant is brought to you by a feeling of hopeless I had today whilst sitting waiting for news about an artist residency application (in which I wasn’t chosen for.) At first I was sad but then I reminded myself that my own personal experiences are the teachers in my life. I decided to make the feeling of hopelessness mean something.

I made it mean:

  • better times I have the power to create are ahead
  • my best work is yet to be done
  • I am okay with having enough time for me to be tranquil in the now

I suggest if you get stuck in a rut and cannot climb out then try making a list of positive aspects of your current experience like the one above. You know the negatives and are probably stewing on them right now like a witch celebrating the winter solstice. So here is a reminder: NO ONE is YOU. The art you make is important so get it out into the world. Keep constantly creating your highest excitement and ideals willingly. Have gratitude for opportunities even if they pass by because you can decide to create some new ones of your very own. On that note I recently asked 2 other women to do a female group show with me. I am very excited to see what art comes out of this new collaboration we all MAKE happen!
Stay tuned and Stay strong.

A Dream realized

DSC_0313So far 2018 has been a compilation of all the things I’ve always wanted to do this year. I made this list of the dreams I’ve wanted to achieve so I would slowly but surely checked off the whole list. Time goes by so fast and I am having a very nostalgic kind of day.

This morning I woke very clear headed. What I mean is I usually wake up to my inner voice saying, “coffee?” But this morning the voice said, “I am ready for the day without coffee!” I realized I have been putting off writing on this blog for some time now because I was busy or not in the mood…but today I have many things to say so let’s begin.

The list:

  1. Work as a freelance artist
  2. Put together an exhibit for SG 1311 Gallery in February: Check!
  3. Put together an exhibit for M Gallery this July: Check!
  4. Go to New Orleans & Mexico: Check!
  5. See Hufreesh in Arizonia and see James in Texas: Check!
  6. Get a mural job: Check!
  7. Get a job in La Crosse while doing my craft: Check!
  8. Learn how to express love freely, remove my blockage to emotional relating.
  9. Get accepted for another residency for 2019.
  10. Move to a new state.

Number 9-10 have yet to come. I was not expecting to get those things done on my list until the end of the year has come. Today number 8 hit me hard. Whenever someone moves away or out of my experience I always wonder if I had opened up more while this person was around if our relationship could have been deeper. I feel we are all here on earth to have emotional experiences with others so maybe they would have seen how much I cared for them and thus the relationship would have deepened because of it. Nostalgia always hits me at the 11th hour. Nostalgia always has something to say about your feelings.

Many good things besides those listed above have happened this year. Seems like everyone is moving forward on their goals, my sister and fiance bought a house, old friends have moved to colorado, many in my family had children, and there is me working on my career and relationships. Well a very awesome opportunity came about this month in that regard. I have been asked to be featured in the Coulee region woman’s magazine which was a complete surprise. I have yet to accomplish finding 15 models for an all female exhibit I would like to create. This series involves woman and their scars, whether they be emotional or physical. I would like to find 15-20 models before the summer is out, each painting will be 6 feet tall by 3 feet wide displaying the models actual size. After I get each womans story I plan on artistically painting their unique story inside the frame of the body. This requires models to stand for about 2 hours. If you are interested or know someone that could benefit from sharing their story then contact me below and tell me about yourself!

The Door has Opened

When one door closes, another door opens. It is a well known saying. It’s premise of letting go of a facet of life that is no longer serving you. I accomplished exactly THAT in October 2017. I left Logistic’s Health Incorporated in La Crosse to pursue my passion. Art, and any form of it. I wanted to break out of my fear of lack for good by leaving cubical life FOREVER. I started to notice I lost my free spirit while working in that cube. I felt like a caged bird, always looking out at the sky daydreaming I could fly instead of actually flying. I was contacted by the Muse Theatre to play in their Holiday show, The Winter Wonderette’s. After being hesitant for sometime, Meagan, the actress portraying the role of Missy asked me to reconsider saying no to playing Cindy Lou. I asked for a sign from the Universe to tell me to stay or go. I was unhappy at that time. I see everything in a spiritual light so I listen and watch for signs around me from the UniverseCody, my new co-worker that sat to my left had started to sing Jingle Bells. It was the middle of September and that song was a mash-up in The Winter Wonderette’s. CSC_0760That was the sign I needed.  I didn’t have much to lose besides money and trust me if there is a lesson I’ve already learned years ago it is that money isn’t everything. BUT that is a very long story for a different day. Money is just a tool, that is all. I wanted a spiritual challenge to grow into a more secure person. Being on stage is a huge Ego-risk I figured out from the last play I was in. One almost is forced to create confidence under bright lights or at least act it. Transcending the Ego-self and transforming into a different character did remove my self-imposed limitations and rebuild my faith in being able to change from within. I know I would not be getting ready for my very first Solo Art show in La Crosse if I did not take this step. Imagine If I didn’t close that door of fear last year, I wouldn’t have had the time or energy to make Art. I have been so open to exploring the fun of releasing insecurities and living in the curiosity of risk. It is more fun NOT KNOWING WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN THIS WEEK.  DSC_1197People do what works for them but there is a sense of freedom in the way I’ve choosen to live. I care more about how I feel and take responsibility of my happiness. Maybe It would give others worry but it works for me. This door has flung open inside me and opportunities have been flooding into this space and filling it up! I am starting to teach art again at a new venue, “M Gallery” sign up and information is here. This week I’ve been working on my website, business cards, adding a monthly Newsletter sign-up, and framing for the solo show, Memories in Color. Memories in Color highlights the last two years of my work painted from memories in an impressionistic flair using dramatic colorful Oil Pastels, Acrylic, and tube Oil Paint. The Reception is February 16th 6-9pm located at 1311 Gallery at 1311 Market Street La Crosse, WI. Gallery hours run February 17th 1-8pm with an Artist talk at 7pm where I can answer questions and talk in depth about my pieces. I wanted to use this platform to thank every person reading this for stopping by here and supporting my work. I love sharing my memories and I hope to start video blogs in the future and film live Youtube Art creations…”hint hint.” I better get back to creating, the show is tomorrow and it is 6:23 am CST.

With self-love and hope there is a journey to a better you, just adventure off the beaten path to find it. -A