What's your art background? Are you self taught or did you study art?
"I am self taught, but took various art and art history classes throughout college. My mom was an artist and her workspace was where I learned and experimented with all types of supplies growing up. She was a huge influence on my love of working with paper - she was a textile weaver and was my inspiration for all of my woven pieces."
"I am fortunate to be a full time artist, but I am also a mom to two wonderful boys (middle school and high school) - so juggling around other activities and priorities is a real thing. I work from a converted room in the back of our garage and then have a local studio in Houston where I display my artwork and work on the collage portions occasionally. "
Does where you currently live influence your work? Absolutely! I am so fortunate to have a studio space in Sawyer Yards, which is considered to be one of the largest working artist communities in the country. Being surrounded by other artists and seeing their processes and final pieces is constant encouragement and motivation to keep following my creative intuition.
Can you provide a brief rundown of your process?
"Since I work a lot with paper and collage - I often start by simply painting freely on a large piece of paper without intention - just a general direction of color and texture. If it's a piece on canvas - I work in many, many layers. I add paint and scrape away paint to reveal the colors that are in the under layers. That process plus the resin really elevates and brings focus on the little marks and pops of color that might have otherwise gone unnoticed."
"The unexpected outcome. I love that when I create a weaving, I am not always sure how the colors will move across the canvas. When working with resin, I love seeing the colors shine through at the end and I am always amazed at how it elevates the tones and finishes a piece. I love experimenting which often results in 'happy accidents'."
What do you hope someone sees or feels when they look at your art?
"I hope that the viewer feels curiosity, inspiration, joy and a strong connection to the piece. I also hope to create works of art that keep surprising you with new details or unexpected layers, textures and colors that you might not see at first."
When did you discover resin?
"I first started using resin about five years ago when I began creating collages from children's artwork (upcycling art for families to create a modern collage with special meaning behind the work) . Resin offered the best protection to keep that type of artwork safe from sun exposure and highlight the beautiful colors. It just grew from there - I love how it will pull and highlight color or texture that isn't initially a focal point and really draw your eye to it.
How has resin impacted your work?
"Initially when I was learning to work with resin, I was inspired by how vibrant it made the colors. It caused me to consider how pieces would look after resin and adjust and lean into knowing that the tones would fluctuate after adding the resin. I am a little untraditional (from my perspective) in that I use resin on canvas (even larger canvases). I adjust the amount and use less for a thinner result or reinforce the back and add layers of resin to add to the intrigue. At first I was bound by the "rules of resin" - but then I started to understand it more and I love that I am constantly learning from it."
"I simply love creating art that makes the viewer happy. I love that in many cases when someone approaches many of my pieces for the first time they are drawn in to get a closer look. I love making connections with others and sharing my story through my artwork."
Does art help you in other areas of your life?
"Absolutely. Art is a stress reliever for me, a way for me to transfer my emotions and work through feelings. It was (and will continue to be) a huge part of my healing after losing my mom to a stroke late in 2021."
How do you define success as an artist? What does success look and feel like for you?
"This is such a tough question and my immediate answer feels too simple - but it truly defines what I qualify as success: when I create a piece and have poured a lot of thought, emotion and time into it and I am proud and love it - and then I subsequently see that piece go off to a home where it is sparking joy or has special meaning to the collector - that is success. Sometimes it is a fast process and sometimes it takes a bit longer for just the right person to find one of my works and truly connect with it."
"Both through my website www.alisondonaldsonart.com, and in my studio in Houston at The Silos in Sawyer Yards (1502 Sawyer Street; Houston, Texas 77002). My studio hours can be found on my website or are by appointment."
To see more of Alison's work:
Visit her website: www.alisondonaldsonart.com
Follow her on Instagram: @alisondonaldsonart
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Congratulations on your win, Alison!
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