Dear Silurian Friends:

Spring has finally sprung and I’m happy to announce the completion of the portrait of Philip P. Lader as Ambassador to the Court of Saint James, for the United States Embassy in London, United Kingdom. Nine months in the making, this six-foot-tall canvas portrays an Ambassador to the UK who spent weekends walking from the southernmost point in England to the northernmost tip of Scotland, as well as from east coast to west, and from Belfast to the Giants’ Causeway in Northern Ireland. The map on his desk shows the routes of his treks, and the boots underneath have the dried mud to prove it! (A larger photo is on the website, in the Portfolio section. Click on the thumbnail, then the magnifying glass for the big picture.)

This painting was my most challenging project to date, as it involved painting the man as he looked years earlier, and with furnishings now scattered in different locations. As he wrote:

“Creating a life-like, meaningful account of someone a decade after the subject period required imaginative study of old photographs and media accounts and considerable interpretive skills, not to mention painstaking patience and a deep commitment to both the individual and the spirit of his work. In capturing my 1997-2001 tenure at Embassy London – from my customary stand-up desk and devotion to books, as well as the central role played by my wife, Linda, to my Land’s End-to-John O’Groats and Coast-to-Coast walks, accurately marked on the map – Betsy exhibited the remarkable artistic competencies and personal qualities that distinguish her work beyond fine portraiture.” – Ambassador Philip Lader.

Portrait of Ambassador Ladar - Betsy Ashton

Portrait of Ambassador Ladar – Betsy Ashton

Am now taking a break and painting a cityscape. Hope to have all on display during Open Studios!

Please come visit during the Long Island City Arts Open, Saturday & Sunday, May 18th & 19th, from noon – 6:00pm. (Directions at It’s a fun time to stroll around the area and poke into any of the hundreds of galleries and studios that are open to visitors. Maps are available and refreshments are served.

I’m in Studio 222 on the 2nd floor of the Reis Studios Building at 43-01 22nd Street in LIC – right next to the 59th Street Bridge and the Silvercup Film Studios (if you walk too far you’ll be an extra in the next episode of Girls.)

Hope to see you next month!