Studio Tour # 27 - Ascender Rises Above


Hey There. How are you today? Ready to go?

Today we're off to to California. We've been invited to tour the studio of mixed media artist Jacquelyn Berl (aka Ascender Rises Above ). She creates with a fun variety of materials - including watercolors, handmade papers, inks & pressed foliage. Many of Jacquelyn's pieces have a wonderful organic feel. 

Some canvases overflow with lush colors.

Others are full of hidden surprises.

The fantastic pieces in the Scatterlings © series are worth a second look

And even a third ...

Click here to see more close ups from this wonderful piece. 

 The first time I spotted In Search of a Miracle I found myself thinking of this line from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's  story The White Company:
 "Clouds of insects danced and buzzed in the golden autumn light, and the air was full of the piping of the song-birds. Long, glinting dragonflies shot across the path, or hung tremulous with gauzy wings and gleaming bodies." 

On closer inspection of this lovely picture I also remembered that Doyle did believe in Faeries. But enough of my ramblings, let me get out of the way so that Jacquelyn can show you around her creative space. (By the way, I apologize for any weird formatting or colors, blogger is giving me a headache today)

 JB: I live and work in paradise. My apartment *is* my
studio; a place where I go to get completely lost in time,
a place to dream and play.


Over the years, my studio has grown from one corner 
to taking over the entire living room. Living and working
under the same rooftop is perfect for me. It's freeing to be
begin creating whenever I get the urge, even in the middle
of the night.


My workstation powers from sitting to standing - 
depending on how much I am moving around. I try to
keep it tidy, most of the time. My screen sits atop three  
college books about architectural graphic standards;
college was a few years ago (ahem; cough, cough). I hide
the regulation bird's nest of wires and gadgets behind a 
curtain which unfolds as I power my workstation to 
standing.It isn't cutting edge, but then, neither am I. 
Like me, it usually gets the job done nonetheless.


Other stuff on my desk includes the essential broken coffee
cup with assorted pens, a big stack of paper, lists, notes and
letters next to the keyboard. I keep my active files in a 
hanging rack to the left of my workstation. I still use my
scanner from time to time, and my workhorse LaserWriter
12/640, so old that the ink cartridges don't have expiration
notices on them; unlike my HP 1200 office inkjet. (grr).
I listen to music (Pandora or i-tunes) when painting or 
doing pastels.  I don't like music playing while working
on the computer.

The wall in front of the workstation bland; colorless
and devoid of artwork (both my own as well as other
peoples). I think it's better for the creative process that
way - less external influence allowing you to 
focus on balancing the colors in the piece at hand.
At one time I had assorted framed Scatterlings on
the wall above my desk but found I was forever 
referencing them and trying to redo aspects I'd thought  successful. 

Do you do that? Besides the whole area is cranked up with
radiation from the computer etc anyway; right? (Note the 
carbon monoxide alarm on the wall; I try not to think about
it being there. If it sounded I would have a cow right where
I am sitting)

To the left of my workstation is an ancient entertainment
center which is the size of a decent sized buffalo, filled with
inspiring magazines and books, photo albums and a few of
my scrapbooks. I've been working professionally as an 
artist since the age of 24, so over the years I've acquired
a pretty nice library. I have to limit myself to the amount
of books this thing can hold or else the whole room would be
full of books -- I do try to recycle out the books that have 
outlived their usefulness about twice a year.


Don't get me wrong there's a lot of artwork in my rooms;
piled thick with it. It's just all on the wall behind my 
workstation when I'm working. Most of these are the larger
pieces I've been working on.. I keep paintings over the
fireplace on rotation through out the rest of the house.
I try not to get too attached to seeing them in one spot
or I will never be able to part with any of it. I used to keep
all sorts of fun items on the mantel but removed them too.


(riddle me this batman - why, oh why, did they put a fire 
place leading into the hallway?)


On my front door is a large six week calendar where I stick
that all-important 'stuff', postcards, lists, notes of huge
importance and a list of paper dimensions, because I never
remember anything the slightest bit technical, even down to paper.


This is a a bookcase made for my art supplies; it is quite 
thin. I go ahead and leave my supplies in the open or I 
would completely forget what I have and where I have put
 it. It is in an area that doesn't get a lot of attention.


Embellishments, feathers, collage, mixed media supplies, 
glues, beads; glass bottles preserving dried flowers; stamps,
inks; critters in the making. In a few minutes you will forget it is there too.


I have begun to seriously took up collecting for future assemblages - next year!

Every year I say "next year"; meanwhile I collect whatever
tiny items I find on the ground. This is part of my collection
of found items from the last six years. I have realized that I
don't make these assemblages because I am afraid of 
ruining the items.


I usually work on my standing light table and an easel
which collapses down to store between light table and wall.
I'm fortunate enough to have a lot of natural light. The light 
table is quite large and durable, it has the light mechanism
built inside ... Can you even still find these  today? (I got this
light table from my former job where I worked as a
designer on a marketing team for a state wide newspaper;
they cleared them out when the department shifted to

I have modified the light table to attach permanently to a 
small work table. I wish the black trays to the right were
attached permanently - I want to use them but tend to keep
them empty due to the amount of times I have bumped into
them and knocked them on the floor. I got tired of picking
it all up. (Why don't I just fix them?)

I tucked two 2-shelf bookcases from IKEA in front of the
light table - the perfect size as they look built into the light table.


This area is really quite organized at the moment, due to the
fact that I have just finished one brief project and will soon
be starting another. My daughter and I are putting
finishing touches to a couple of paint-by-numbers for her
apartment. (I tossed the instructions to mine and altered
the painting style; I am picking up colors she used  in hers
so there will be a consistent color key).

Usually this area is a little chaotic and when I can't see my
desk, or the floor, or find anything, I tidy up and start again.

I have a small coffee table behind the light table which I
continually trip over; I keep the answering machine on it;
a land line which I rarely pick up. (I wish I could get  
Victoria's voice to answer the machine).


Behind the coffee table are doors/windows to a small porch
which I sometimes escape to. I have flowers and trees out
here. Every year a random flower popped up. I don't know
what this one is. My orange tree behind it needs some food


I grow, dry and press most of the flowers used in my Scatterlings.


Items on my wish list for my apartment/studio/apartment are:
wall of bookcases!
flat files!
An empty wall to paint half with chalkboard paint and half with magnetic paint!
I want a loft... I need a loft... I deserve a loft.

Thank you Jacquelyn for showing us around. I really enjoyed this peek behind the curtain to where the magic happens.

And thank you to all readers who came along for the ride. Want to see more of Jacques vibrant artwork? Be sure to stop back here next Thursday (7/15) for an Artist Feature and Giveaway sponsored by Ascender Rises Above. Also here are some places where you can find Jacquelyn and her art online:

Ascender Rises Above Site
Ascender on Linked In
Ascender's Squidoo
Ascender on Art Bistro
Ascender on Facebook
Ascender Facebook Fan Page
Ascender on Twitter
Check out What's On My Desk


  1. Loved the studio tour!!! I like seeing all of her "things" lovingly cast around her apartment. And the fact that her work space is her entire home makes me feel good. As my home is the same way!

  2. What a wonderful tour! I felt right at home here. Thank you to both of you for sharing this.

  3. What amazing artwork! I really appreciate the peek into her worksapace and her process...Thanks!

  4. I love her labels on the pictures...so we knew what we were looking at! ...Little pink houses... Fun tour!

  5. Thanks all for taking the time to take a look! I appreciate your kind comments and hope you will return on the 15th for the give-away!

  6. Loved seeing all your "things and stuff".

  7. Enjoyed your tour very much!I wish I was as organized as you.

  8. Jacque--
    Wandering around your apartment with a cup of coffee has been a fabulous way to start the day! Thanks for sharing your art, your home, and your humor.
    Yours, Liz Nutley

  9. Thanks for the tour! I love having a glimpse of other peoples studios! Love the way the pictures where labeled.


  10. what a fantastic idea!!! your studio tours.

    I had a WONDERFUL time peeking and poking around Jacqueline's studio...