Ceilon’s Story

Ceilon Aspensen, Art Maker

A visual storyteller, Ceilon Aspensen creates original fine art as dreams and visions from and about the natural world, and her own inner world. She creates landscapes, still lifes, and portraits, through the vehicle of her own imagination.

“Emerging” at 57

Ceilon has been a practicing artist her entire life, and an art teacher for nearly thirty years. Even so, she has not pursued her own artistic vision in earnest until now because she was busy doing other things. After raising her daughter and maximizing her academic education, culminating in a PhD in American Studies, exploring those avenues as far as they would take her, and having settled into a very rewarding art teaching career, Ceilon is now finally able to pursue her own artistic endeavors and is looking for opportunities to share her work.

Where she gets her ideas

Ceilon has lived in Montana since 1990 and both her spirit and art have been greatly influenced by the landscape here. She creates original fine art in watercolor, colored pencil, acrylic paint, hand-pulled prints, fine art greeting cards, and an occasional piece of sculpture or fiber arts. Most of her work deals with the unconscious life which drives our waking dreams. She usually starts with between one and three original images, selecting ones that strike her at the moment, montaging them together, causing the completed image to invoke a feeling of yearning or longing for forgotten or favorite places, or for as-yet unfound places. If she is true to her intuition when choosing images and creating the piece, once it is completed it tells her a previously unrealized story from deep within herself. Ceilon considers her work particularly successful when the viewer has a similar experience of the image, even though the story may differ for each viewer in the particular details.

Ceilon’s artistic vision is informed by a broad variety of rich experiences, both wonderful and traumatic. Her childhood was spent as an Army Brat living mostly in Europe until she was ten years old, then living all over the USA until she finally took root in Montana thirty-two years ago. Although Montana is home, spending every summer of her childhood on her grandparents’ Alabama farm ingrained deep roots and solid values for which she is grateful. That solid foundation gave her the necessary grounding to grow and change while also holding to a central core of strength transmitted by her grandparents. These have allowed her to overcome any hardship or difficulty. When she least expects it, those experiences and lessons show up in her artwork and confront her with sometimes surprising new insights.

Ceilon’s pursuit of education and love for teaching

Ceilon has a BFA in Drawing from Mississippi State University, and works in her Billings, Montana art studio every day. In addition to working as a practicing visual artist, she taught art full-time in grades 9-12 in Baltimore City Public Schools in Baltimore, Maryland for five years from 2006-2011, as an adjunct instructor at Montana State University in the Native American Studies Department from 2009-2015, and has taught middle school and high school art in Montana since 2016. She owned and operated BozeArts after school art and summer camp in Bozeman from 2013 to 2016. Prior to all of that, she taught art as a volunteer and served as an art mentor in the Bozeman area for many years before earning her PreK-12 Art teacher certification. Ceilon was awarded the College of Letters and Sciences Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award for her outstanding teaching in May 2006. She continues to enjoy teaching art to high school students in grades 9-12 at Laurel High School. She recently completed her PhD in American Studies, but has no intention of leaving the public school system. She loves teaching high school, and also loves teaching in Laurel.

Ceilon lives with her husband Jonathan in Billings, Montana on the Yellowstone River, situated between seven beautiful mountain ranges. Natural beauty and spectacular visual imagery surround her and provide her with artistic inspiration at every turn.