Ardell was born in Alberta, Canada and moved around North America with his family, settling in Sardis, British Columbia after his father’s retirement from the Canadian Armed Forces. He attended the Emily Carr College of Art and Design, majoring in animation and three dimensional studies.
He took a seasonal position with the Provincial Government as a park ranger and continued in this job after graduation, leaving after ten seasons. Ardell is currently working as a free-lance artist with a primary interest in aviation subject matter (a life long obsession). He has had works in several Canadian and U.S. national aviation art exhibits as well as private collections. He is an active member and Western Coordinator of the Canadian Aviation Artists Association and an Artist Member of the American Society of Aviation Artists. From the latter organization, he received a Founders' Gold Award in 1994 for “James Allen Ward, VC” and its Award of Distinction for "Second of Many."