Two distinct strands, but with a common thread.
Watercolours, of the moment: an essence of fluid, melting movement, at times ethereal, at times riotous…. and then the studied calm of the oils: motion slowed to a controlled, frozen, full stop, where it dances forever in one form.
Both ends of a spectrum.
"After years of close involvement with national arts organisations, helping to promote the work of other artists in my adopted country, I decided it was time to follow my dream. In 2006, my husband Ross and I bought and began restoring a derelict 10-acre croft (small farm) on the coast in the North-West of Scotland.
Today, I work primarily from my studio up here in this special place by the sea, in the old stone barn, formerly a byre, which has been brought back to life as an endlessly inspiring work-space."
Born in Canada, Alison began her studies there before continuing in France and Britain. In 1982, she came to Scotland to undertake postgraduate studies at Edinburgh College of Art, and has made Scotland her home.
In 1989 Alison was elected a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour and is a past Vice-President of the Society. She also served as President of Visual Arts Scotland for three years in the late 1990s and has been made an Honorary Life Member.
She was a founding Director of The Exhibiting Societies of Scottish Artists (ESSA) and a founding member of the Edinburgh College of Art Alumni Association. She was Honorary Arts Convenor of the Scottish Arts Club, Edinburgh from 2001-2004.
Twice the recipient of the Elizabeth T Greenshields Foundation Scholarship, she was short listed several times for the Noble Grossart Painting Prize and received the Alexander Graham Munro Award from the RSW in 1997 and the John Gray Prize in 2007.
Her oils and watercolours are widely held in both public and private collections throughout the UK and Canada.
ABOUT THE WORK
Drawing on an early influence of Canadian “magic realism”, Alison’s work has developed in compelling and thought-provoking ways since she began painting in the 1980’s.
“The series of paintings which I think of as my "Anima" series, began as I played about in my studio with the natural forms and props which I'd collected: driftwood, stones, feathers, shells (I'm an inveterate beachcomber) and lengths of white linen. I explored placing them together in unexpected ways, so that they might take on new meaning and come to life, animated, spirited, if you like.... become symbols of something far greater than their surface appearances might suggest.
It's fun to see now, how this body of work has evolved from the very first oil entitled "Bound", hung in the Royal Scottish Academy's annual show in the late 1990's. It was a tentative start, understated, but quiet, meditative. Over the years, these subjects have seemed to lead me (as opposed to the other way 'round) along a certain path of discovery, with many digressions and diversions. At times, the subject would almost leap across the canvas, its pulse and narrative frozen in time; but lately, the images seem to edge ever closer to abstraction, distillation. My focus shifts and the eye delves more deeply into the creases of the knots, into the shadows... sensing and hopefully communicating an unseen energy beneath the surfaces of what I paint.”
Inner Sound Series
“This series, another strand of my work, began in watercolour, in 2009, when I first started working in my new studio in Wester Ross. It's my attempt to find an equivalent in paint for the experience of looking out beyond my studio windows to the seas of the Inner Sound and the Minch. As the series has grown, the images have inevitably become more and more abstract, distilled, re-defined.
The energy and the light in this place is unlike any I’ve known before and living here is a daily immersion in a breathtaking (sometimes overpowering) drama played out by the elements. The process of pressing forward with this new imagery, not knowing what the next piece will bring or where it will take me, is very exciting - it has taken on an energy of its own.
Each piece seems to grow out of the previous ones, to teach the eye and the hand something new, often with an increasing sense of boldness and vigour. To let the hand, the pigment, the paper and the water grapple - and then act in unison, giving form to my (inner) experience of the drama unfolding beyond my window."
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