Josephine Matsen was born in 1931 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her initial painting lessons were with Yvonne Twining Humber in Seattle. She continued her studies at Smith College (B. A. 1953) including a year in Paris. Within a few years of marrying David Ashenden, she settled in Shelburne, Massachusetts where she lived until her death in 2009. For a number of years, her work focused on still-lifes, landscapes, and copies of the great masters, including a series of paintings of apples and apple trees, painted from life in a neighboring orchard. In 1978, she started to research mythic imagery, and spent a number of years in reading and study. This series of paintings was begun in 1984, and was completed in this form in 2008. Because of the exacting nature of the research and the painting the time of completion for any one painting ranged from one to several years to finish and at times more than one was being worked on concurrently. Frequently major parts were completely changed after months of exacting detailed work. Towards the end of her life, Jo had a great deal of difficulty with the fine detail which had been the hallmark of many of the works, and the last few to be completed were less finished. However, the original goal of 12 paintings was completed a few months before her death in 2009.