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Brighter, bolder: Ashland artist finding her niche

Mar. 30—ASHLAND — Artist Tiersa Davis noticed her art reflects her mood.

"I went through some life changes and I noticed before, my art was just kind of beige, muted textures," the 41-year-old Ashlander said. "But now I really want to get into bolder and brighter colors."

Her interest in art goes back to before she was born: both of her grandmothers were creative.

"My grandmother on my mom's side drew portraits, she was really into drawing," Davis, a graduate of East Carter High School, said. "My grandma on my dad's side was really crafty and she painted."

Although she said she believes she's the only family member who inherited a flair for art, she got to work on it early, enjoying drawing, coloring and painting as a child. Art classes in high school followed, and when she studied at Ashland Community College, she got a liberal arts degree; at Morehead State University, she earned a bachelor of communications with a minor in studio art.

"I've always been interested in art and pursued it, but not until recently have I tried to sell it and make a profit off of it," Davis said.

She works full time in retail, but has accelerated her art career, producing more and hoping to have it seen at places like the Grayson Gallery and Art Center and her sister's boutique in Grayson.

While she said she can create realistic pieces, she enjoys the abstract.

"I think I mostly gravitate toward abstract because I feel like the realistic stuff requires a lot more patience and a lot of time and if I'm working on something I'm kind of in the flow, in the moment," she said. "I just want to get to a place where I'm just moving freely, constantly. To work on a project for several weeks, I don't have the patience for that."

She said she likes to dabble in "a little bit of everything," using acrylic paints and creating textures and, most recently, clay. But there are no restrictions.

"I painted a band logo on the back of a leather jacket. It was mostly textured. It was a lot of fun," she said.

She has sold several pieces and is happy to take commission.

"I think if someone approaches me and they have sort of an idea, I definitely will try to roll with it," Davis said. "I can work with anything."

She said her inspiration often comes from looking at the work of other artists, including those who post work on social media.

"I'm not the type of person that I can just sit down and work on a project," she said. "I like to look at things and be inspired and go from there."

Enjoying texture as much as she does, it's no surprise Davis has purchased a lot of tools to experiment with, especially palette knives, scrapers and sponges. YouTube videos have been helpful, she said, as has practicing on paper before creating a piece on canvas. Many of her pieces have included use of a thickening agent, like modeling paste or gel medium, which provides added texture.

"It's fun to experiment," she said. "Initially, I was interested in resin and started messing around with it and decided it was too messy for me, so I moved on to a different medium."

Last year's exhibit at the Grayson Gallery got Davis really pondering textures and colors.

"I tried to put together some darker pieces with texture," she said, including a piece called "Morticia's Wallpaper." "I applied mica powder to get iridescence to it."

Her piece titled "Black and Red Roses" is a highly textured mixed media piece also created for the gallery show. She said it was extra fun to work on and was happy to show it in Grayson.

"I'm grateful to (gallery director) Dan (Click) for letting me show my stuff there," she said. "I think it helps me put myself out there.

"Initially, I was timid about that kind of stuff, but he kind of gave me the confidence to put it out there, ... I was nervous if anyone would like it, and people have, so that's encouraging."

Davis' work can be seen on her Instagram page and her webshop.