From the ice to the canvas

Award winning artist working way into Victoria scene

Artist Ashlee Comerford works on a painting in her home in Esquimalt.

Artist Ashlee Comerford works on a painting in her home in Esquimalt.

In order to pursue her true love, Ashlee Comerford is falling back on her trade.

It’s a story all too common with artists. Sticking out a less than desirable day job in order to stay up late making music, put a pen to paper or a brush to canvas.

In Comerford’s case, though, it’s not so bad.

The 29-year-old is an award-winning impressionist-style painter, which she currently does in the second bedroom in her apartment, a stone’s throw from Macaulay Point.

She relocated to Esquimalt four months ago from Colorado, where she lived the past six years. And until she can establish herself as a full-time artist, she’s working a part-time job, and is on the ice nearly every day as a coach with the Oak Bay Figure Skating Club.

“It comes very natural to me. A long time ago, before I had ever painted, I was completely dedicated to skating,” Comerford said of her days growing up in St. John’s, Nfld.

Perhaps not surprisingly, her talents have come in handy, particularly with choreography, said head coach Jamie McGrigor.

“I haven’t seen her art but we’ve heard she’s famous, and I wouldn’t be surprised,” McGrigor said.

“(Comerford) is one of our many excellent coaches. She’s well rounded at it and the bonus is she’s great at choreography, which not everyone can do, believe me.”

Last month, Oak Bay’s skaters won at the Island championships, a team that included Amanda Wright, who was judged best elements skater in her category.

But that’s a day job for Comerford.

As an artist, her plan is to get back on her feet as a working impressionist, which shouldn’t be too hard. Her career is budding and already includes hundreds of impressionist paintings sold in the past few years, many from a gallery she had in Loveland, Col.

“I still get sales from my website but the goal is to become further immersed in the community,” she said. “I’m still just checking it all out.”

And there’s that award.

Judged by jury, her piece Labour of Love won second in its category in the American Impressionists Society show in 2010.

It’s a career that was bound to happen, though it took a suggestion from a friend back in St. John’s.

“I used to sketch with my pencil, and was pretty good at it, and my friend said ‘you’ve got to pursue this if you’re going to pursue anything.’

“I went to Denver for a one-month trial at the Arts Student League, and then submitted my pieces for review. I’d never picked up a brush before but they accepted me by jury. I returned for three years with two of the top master-impressionists in the U.S.A., Quang Ho and Ron Hicks.”

So far, Comerford’s completed some local commission work and next week is kind of a big one, as she’ll tie the knot with her fiance, who is stationed here with the navy.

See her work at ashleecomerford.com.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Const. Mat Jones of the CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit joined a team of Saanich police officers and ICBC representatives cracking down on distracted driving at the McKenzie/Quadra intersection in Saanich on March 3. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
‘Leave the phone alone’: 40 distracted driving tickets issued in two hours at Saanich intersection

Saanich police, CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit crackdown on drivers’ cell-phone use

Police seek information after a pedestrian was hit in a crosswalk at the intersection of Goldstream Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway on March 3.(Google Maps)
Witnesses sought in Langford pedestrian hit and run

Suspect is older man driving four-door, gold sedan

The University of Victoria has said some of its students were impacted by an off-campus exposure to COVID-19 last weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria students impacted by off-campus COVID-19 exposure

UVic has not specified where the exposure occurred

Cleanup happens after an overnight flood Monday damaged areas of the Oaklands Community Centre. (Facebook/Oaklands Community Association)
Greater Victorians offer flood of support to Oaklands Community Centre

Blown hot water tank Monday night leaves staff cleaning up soggy mess

This male Dungeness can safely be harvested after passing muster. An official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is not clear how well locals on the Saanich Peninsula are complying with crabbing regulations, but her comments suggest that any problems might be of a minor nature. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Submitted)
Sidney and Sooke record 57 crabbing violations in 2020

While recreational crab fishery has ‘compliance issues,’ no evidence of ‘large scale poaching’

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Most Read