Betsy Finley Ashton [RA 2010]

First name: Betsy ;
Middle name:
Finley ;
Last name:
Ashton ;

Member: artist member ; 
2012? ;


In November, 2006, Betsy Ashton returned to the portrait artist career that she abandoned in 1971, when she took a long detour into television news. Three credits shy of a master of fine arts degree in painting from The American University in Washington, DC, she was an illustrator, artist and art teacher, who sold many pen and ink, charcoal, and acrylic portraits before creating a program in which she taught art on WTTG-TV’s Panorama television program. This quickly led to her reporting and anchoring radio and television news for nearly two decades, first in Washington, D.C., and later at WCBS-TV and CBS News in New York City. While covering the courts for WJLA-TV News in Washington, she became the first and only TV news reporter ever to draw her own courtroom sketches while covering trials – a feat possible only because lawyers are so redundant! Her sketches were shown daily on television and later exhibited and sold by the Jane Haslem Gallery in Washington.

Ashton resumed painting portraits at the urging of renowned painter Everett Raymond Kinstler, NA, whose workshops she attended at the National Academy School of Fine Arts and the Art Students’ League in New York. At Kinstler’s recommendation, she also took Michael Shane Neal’s portrait painting workshops in Nashville, Tennessee, and studied painting full time for two years with Mary Beth McKenzie and Sharon Sprung at the National Academy School of Fine Arts. She has also taken workshops with Wolf Kahn, Peter Cox and Morton Kaisch at the National Academy School, and painted in Florence, Italy, with McKenzie and the Art Students’ League. In the mid and late 1960s, she studied with Ben Summerford, Helene Herzbrun, Robert D’Arista, Robert Gates and Gene Davis at The American University and the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC. In 2007-20088, Ashton won four successive scholarships to The National Academy School of Fine Arts.

Ashton’s official portrait of former Ambassador Philip Lader hangs in the collection of the U.S. Embassy in London, United Kingdom. She has served on the jury panel of the Salmagundi Club in New York City and is an Exhibiting Artist member of The National Arts Club. Her portrait of actor Hal Holbrook is in the Hall of Fame collection of the The Players in New York City, and her portrait of author Louise Erdrich is in the collection of the Kenyon Review at Kenyon College.




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Record birth date:
July 18, 2019

Last updated: July 22, 2021 at 20:59 pm