We feel so fortunate to be able to present the uber-talented Ashley Clewley on our Muse Blog this month. We’ve been fans since we started following her on IG @paintedsouldesign. Be sure to follow her yourselves. Her Bio contains all the info.
I have been admiring the Ancient Soul resin set for a long while – both on Instagram and on
sandraevertson.com – so when I was asked to contribute a project to the Muse page, I immediately
knew which pieces it would feature! I have been making mixed media pieces sporadically over the past
several years, but I have recently been interested in combining those three-dimensional ideas with my
traditional painting style. This piece finally gave me an opportunity to do that in spectacular fashion!
As someone greatly influenced and inspired by medieval Gothic art, it has not been uncommon for me
to work skulls into my designs. I have frequently found myself fascinated with the prevalence of the
Momento Mori in art history, from the figurative relief carvings of winged “soul effigies” on 17 th century
tombstones to the bejeweled reliquaries and skeletons of the Catholic martyrs and saints. This piece is
heavily inspired by both.
For the frame of the painting I used a quatrefoil, a clover-like shape commonly found in the tracery of
the Gothic cathedrals. I filled that space with a bright, brilliant sunset (or sunrise, depending on your
preference), gold halos and a plotted field of golden stars in the style of Gothic figurative painting. The
sunset/sunrise sky scene created a perfect opportunity to incorporate the Helios I! Its design fit perfectly
with the medieval esoteric themes of the piece.
I attached the Helios to a vintage wooden embroidery frame I had in my mixed media tool kit. Then I
pained both a bright, metallic gold. After applying a wash of a metallic black acrylic, I coated them with a
layer of topical crackle medium. When it had set, I pushed a different gold paint into the cracks, wiping
off the excess.
I used a graduated series of styluses and brush ends to add the dot embellishments, and then I painted
on the glitter around the edges of the Helios to add dimension. I finished that portion with mixed gold
and silver glass glitter around the rim. Matching glass glitter was used to cover the wooden heart cutout
that served as a base for the Ancient Soul set.
I covered the majority of the Ancient Soul skull with silver glass glitter. I used small freshwater pearls
from a jewelry project for the eyes in order to match the pearlescent white paint I used to highlight the
lines of the wings, teeth, and crown. I filled the cavities of the crown with the same glitter paint used
around the Helios I.
● Delta Ceramcoat and DecoArt acrylics
● Rustoleum Ultra Cover Gloss Clear sealer
● Martha Stewart Crafts “Multi-Surface Glitter Paint” in Antique Silver
● Blank Slate by Traditions “Gold & Silver Flake Mix”
● 1/4” plywood board
● Elmer’s “Glue All”
● Anita’s All Purpose Metallic Acrylics
● High temperature hot glue and glue gun
Ashley Clewley is a full-time studio artist living among the lakes and pines of Northern Michigan. She
began her life as an artist at 11 years old, taking tole painting lessons once a week in a retired teacher’s
converted back porch studio with her three elderly friends. In her 18 years as a folk artist, Ashley has
grown technically, stylistically, and personally – exploring other painting styles, branching out into mixed
media and photography, starting an art business, and displaying her work at local galleries. She is
happiest being in her workspace with a blank wood canvas, a YouTube playlist, and a healthy dose of
inspiration. She finds inspiration in medieval Gothic art and architecture, the natural beauty of her home
state, folk art traditions of other times and places, and the bounty to be found in the many antique
stores in her current home of Bay City. Primarily an acrylic painter but constantly experimenting with
new mediums, Ashley has been a long-time fan of RELICS & ARTIFACTS and is very excited about this
opportunity to incorporate their beautiful products into some of her visions! You can visit her on