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Live, Beautifully

Local Artist of the Week: Ashley Donaldson (Flatbed Red)

Miss Flatbed Red has been creating from the moment she could hold a pencil. Music won out over art at the college level, taking her to Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts for a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. Her main instrument was trumpet, but she also played piano, and studied conducting. All along the way, she continued to draw – mostly portraits in pencil.

The honor of being awarded BGSU’s Stuart R. Givens Fellowship allowed her to spend a summer in London, England, where she shadowed the London Symphony Orchestra. Every day brought new unbelievable opportunities. The following year, she returned to London to keep up with her friends and contacts.

In 2012, Red officially relocated to London to pursue a Foundation Diploma from University of the Arts London. That was followed by 3 more years in the city, and a Masters of Arts in Music Education from Roehampton University. From 2012-2015, she also served as apprentice to London-based portrait painter, JHL Beattie. In this position, she learned classical painting and portraiture techniques, and helped organize a central London exhibition.

Her trumpet did not stay silent in the UK. She played and sang regularly for her local parish church, St. Mark’s Myddleton Square, and with the All Souls Orchestra. She can be seen and heard on their 2015 Prom Praise CD/DVD, recorded live at the Royal Albert Hall. At the same time as rehearsals for this event, she had a photograph on display at a 1-night ‘Pets in Portraits’ exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.

Spring of 2016 brought Red (and her beloved cat, Tasha) back to Ohio. She married an avid historic truck-lover in May. In March 2017, she went with him to the Mid-America Truck Show, sketchbook in tow. While drawing her very first semi, she received her first truck commission. Since then, she has refined her technique, and developed her own unique style.

“Flatbed Red” was born in the summer of 2017. She attends truck shows, and creates on-location drawings. Most of her work is commissioned by people who want a custom drawing of a truck, or pet, or anything, so she has relatively little for sale to the general public. But, take a look at what items she does have for sale.