Two distinct strands, but with a common thread.
Watercolours, of the moment: an essence of fluid, melting movement… and then the studied calm of oils: motion slowed to a controlled, frozen, full stop.
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 magical place by the sea, in the old stone barn, 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. Most recently, she received the Walter Scott Award at the RSW’s Annual Open Exhibition in November 2018, in Edinburgh.
Her oils and watercolours are widely held in both public and private collections throughout the UK and Canada have been featured in exhibitions at the following commercial galleries:
LONDON: Panter and Hall, Mayfair; Tracey McNee Fine Art; Thompson's Gallery; The Piccadilly Gallery; The Thackeray Gallery; The Red Rag Gallery and The Bruton Gallery, both in Bath.
SCOTTISH GALLERIES: Fidra Fine Art, Gullane; The Gullane Gallery, Gullane; Gallery Heinzel, Aberdeen; An Talla Solais, Ullapool; The Wade Gallery, Elie, Fife; Fraser Gallery, St. Andrews; Randolph Gallery, Edinburgh; The Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh; The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh; The Stenton Gallery, Stenton; The Strathearn Gallery, Crieff; Roger Bilcliffe Gallery, Glasgow; Tracey McNee Fine Art , Glasgow.
CANADA: Galerie Rochon, Toronto
Open exhibitions include:
The Royal Scottish Academy; The Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour; The Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts; Visual Arts Scotland.
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 been fun to see now, how this body of work 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, 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 demand to leap across the canvas, its pulse and narrative frozen in a moment; 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. To let the hand, the pigment, the paper and the water grapple - and then act in unison, giving form to an (inner) experience of the drama unfolding beyond my window."
Graduated with Honours B.A. (Fine Art), University of Guelph in 1980, with one undergraduate year of study at L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts and L’Université de Franche-Comté, Besançon, France.
Attended Edinburgh College of Art in 1982-83 for Post-Graduate studies.
In 1989, elected Professional Member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW)
In 1995, elected Professional Member of the Society of Scottish Artists and Artists Craftsmen (SAAC)
1997-99 President of SAAC (now Visual Arts Scotland)
2002-03 Vice-President of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW)
Founding Director of the Exhibiting Societies of Scottish Artists (ESSA)
Founder Member of the Alumni Association, Edinburgh College of Art
Honorary Art Convenor, The Scottish Arts Club, Edinburgh, 2001 – 2004
Conferred Honorary Membership, Visual Arts Scotland, 2003
McLaughlin Gallery, University of Guelph, Canada
Galerie Rochon, Toronto
Edinburgh Gallery (the former)
Scottish Arts Club, Edinburgh
Tolquhon Gallery, Aberdeen
Randolph Gallery, Edinburgh (x 3)
Gairloch Heritage Museum
Two Person Exhibitions
Kingfisher Gallery, Edinburgh
Bruton Gallery, Bath
Selected Group Exhibitions
An Talla Solais, Ullapool
Bruton Gallery, Bath
Compass Gallery, Glasgow
Courtyard Gallery, Crail
Fidra Fine Art, Gullane
Frames Gallery, Perth
Fraser Gallery, St. Andrews
Gallery Heinzel, Aberdeen
Gullane Art Gallery, Gullane
Henshelwood Gallery, Newcastle
Morrison Scottish Portrait Exhibition
Noble Grossart Painting Prize Exhibition
Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh
Piccadilly Gallery, London
Panter and Hall, London
Red Rag Gallery, Bath
Roger Bilcliffe Gallery, Glasgow
Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts
Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh
Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour
Scottish Arts Club, Edinburgh
The Scottish Gallery
Society of Scottish Artists
Stenton Gallery, East Lothian
Strathearn Gallery, Crieff
Thackeray Gallery, London
Thompson’s Gallery, London and Aldeburgh
Tolquhon Gallery, Aberdeen
Tracey McNee Fine Art, London and Glasgow
Visual Arts Scotland (formerly S.A.A.C.)
Wade Gallery, Elie
Printmaking Award, University of Guelph
Ontario Arts Council Grant (x 2)
Elizabeth T. Greenshields Foundation (Montreal) Scholarship (x 2)
Alexander Graham Munro Award (RSW)
John Gray Award (RSW)
Derek Robertson Residency and Kelty Art Centre Award (RSW)
Walter Scott Award and Purchase Prize (RSW)
Royal Bank of Scotland plc
Walter Scott Investment Ltd.
Dickson Minto (London and Edinburgh)
Davidson Chalmers, Edinburgh
Betty Davies Collection
David E. Bassett Collection (Canada)
Gallery St. Thomas-Elgin (Canada)
Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery, (Canada)
(@alireddeer) on Twitter...