Alison is originally from N. Ireland and has lived in her adopted home, Edinburgh, for 27 years. Her work appears in collections throughout the UK and further afield, including that of comedian Michael McIntyre. Her paintings are regularly selected for the annual exhibitions of both the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) and the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW). She had a 35-piece sell-out debut solo exhibition, ‘Breathing Space’, in Enniskillen and followed this up with a second in London.
Alison takes her inspiration from the natural world. Growing up on the family farm instilled a strong awareness of the passing of the seasons and the growing cycle. This is where she began to develop her love of painting both garden and wild flowers from the verges and hedgerows. In her still life paintings she tries to achieve simplicity and subtlety of line and colour, often simplifying shapes and playing with perspective. Alison is also interested in creating a narrative through her work, prompting the onlooker perhaps to consider the story that lies behind the objects on a table or the view through an open window.
The contrasting shapes, colours and marks on the land, sea and sky and the effects of changing weather and light are a constant inspiration. She loves that combination of dark sky and bright sunshine just before a downpour, or the hopefulness that bad weather has just passed. When possible, she escapes to the country, coast and wild places. Alison was lucky enough recently to be able to take up a two-week prize-winning residency at the inspirational Tyrone Guthrie Centre. She found the experience of being in beautiful surroundings and living alongside other artists from all disciplines very stimulating, enabling a rich cross-fertilization of ideas.
Alison approaches her paintings in a structured way, but carry them forward intuitively. That way, each painting feels like being on an adventure – she never quite knows how it’s going to end up. Using a reduced palette, shapes, colours and patterns are simplified to create a level of abstraction. Alison often uses skewers, knives and sometimes collage to create shifting dynamics within each piece.