Blog: Artist Focus | Studio Interview | Alison Johnson

Alison Johnson

Atmospheric Landscape & Seascape Artist

'Art and culture is the backbone of our happiness right now'

This week we chat with Alison Johnson and find out more about what inspires those beautifully atmospheric and breathtaking oil paintings. When we first viewed Alison's paintings at the Chester Arts Fair over three year ago we were instantly awe-inspired by her clear ability to capture the 'feel' of a place. We were extremely excited to introduce her work to the gallery and soon enough, she became one of our best-selling artists!

How did you come to be an artist?

Since childhood I have always had an interest in painting and drawing, but was afraid of its uncertainty to make a full-time career out of it. So I actually worked as a nurse for many years, but being an artist remained my passion and dream. Eleven years ago, after a few lucky breaks, I was able to finally realise my dream and have been fulltime ever since. Many say my work has therapeutic qualities which really makes me happy being a nurse first wasn't wasted :)

Describe your work in three words

Ephemeral, dreamlike, escapism

What draws you to work with your chosen medium?

I work mainly in oils although I do enjoy using other materials such as textured paste to add more depth and also sometimes copper leaf to enhance focal points.

Does the area in which you live or other areas influence your work?

I live in the Midlands which quite flat, but I originate from Yorkshire and this is where most of my inspiration comes from - smouldering moors to rugged coastlines with big atmospheric, sometimes menacing skies. 


Where do you draw inspiration from?

I enjoy walking in my free time and will often take my sketch book with me for when something inspires me. 

Do you listen to any favourite music, radio or podcasts while working in the studio?

I love music and it definitely helps with the flow of my work. Depending on my mood what I listen to can vary from soul and funk through to contemporary jazz and I love a bit of radio 6. I also listen to artist podcasts and art documentaries ...really enjoying Grayson Perry’s art club at the moment.  


If you could invite three artists or art influencers (living or deceased) to dinner who would they be?

I would definitely like to invite Turner as I admire his work greatly, I love his later work with small suggestions and his translucent glazing techniques. I also enjoy the work of Cy Twombly for his nerve, his delicate line, large expanses and the fact it is so very different for its time. Rothko for the way colours bleed into one another and again the glazing to create so much depth. Anselm Kiefer, for the ability to use so much texture and create so much emotion in his work; be it  often quite dark...oh dear that is 4 isn’t it.... there could be many more though.


 'Red on Maroon' - Mark Rothko         'Sun Setting Over a Lake' -  J.M.W. Turner           'Luminous: Watery Tones' - CY Twombly        'Battles At Sea, Velimir Chlebnikov ' - Anselm Kiefer'

What drew you to exhibit at the Watergate Street Gallery – do you have a criteria for choosing the galleries where you would like to show your work? 

I grew up in the North surrounded By moors and bleak skies I think people of Chester will identify with that. 

What are you most excited about artistically in 2020?

2020 so far has been let's say an unusual one, leading to great uncertainty and worry. I have used this time to really focus on the here and now, trying new things and experimenting to inform my work long term I hope. But more than anything, I'm just trying to keep my head above water and not allow worrying to consume me. I have been really struck by how important art is in people’s lives at times like this, it gives escapism and beauty and many people that don’t normally paint have started having a go - which suggests how stabilising the whole process must be. It has been around since cavemen and I think and hope art will always have a place in our society ...we are certainly turning back to it at the moment - art and culture is the backbone of our happiness right now. 

Please click here to take a look at the artist's full collection and biography.



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