Christine Allison describes her latest show at Symondsbury:
In my latest work I have returned to a favourite theme – the sky. Back in 2005 I was making oil paintings of Lyme Bay with the sunrise and Portland on the horizon, I was fascinated by the ever-changing colours and moods of the sky. A sketchbook from that time has ‘don’t let the dawn start without me’ scrawled on the first page, if I missed the dawn I had missed an opportunity.
My studio and home overlook the sea, I swim into the rising sun each morning, the sky dominates my days. Quietly it has crept back under my skin and into my work. Lockdowns have kept me at home, no travelling to the Middle East with my big bird paintings, no life models to paint and draw – but the sky has been there for me every day, like a faithful friend – waiting for me to realise it was still my subject.
Now I am obsessed. I work in my sketchbooks daily. I paint from my sketches. I can’t always trust myself to paint directly from the sky, I do but I have to watch myself that I don’t become too literal. It is as if I need to process what I’m looking at through my sketchbook, and then catch and create the energy and the mood of a that day in a final painting.
I work in oil paint, I love the visceral feel of paint on the surface and the smell. Many of these new pieces are working on Bockingford Watercolour paper. I love to use oil paint on paper. There is a freedom in tearing off a big piece of paper from a roll, stapling it to the wall, layering it with gesso and then going for it with paint, brushes and palette knives.
This new work is often abstracted, gestural, energetic – frenetic even. The sky gives me every opportunity to be expressive. The darker and more moody the better.
The show is open daily from 10.30-4.30 at the Sou’-Sou’-West Gallery at Symondsbury.
Christine Allison has lived and worked in Lyme Regis as an artist, teacher and author for more than 40 years. She trained at St. Martin’s School of Art, London, The New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting & Sculpture, USA and Exeter University, Devon. Christine has exhibited paintings in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Bahrain and her work hangs in prestigious offices and palaces. Christine also works with museums – the Natural History Museum, Bristol Museum, where she was appointed artist in residence for the ‘Leonardo Da Vinci: A life in drawing’ exhibition in 2019 and our own Lyme Regis Museum, where she continues to lead creative projects for well-being and pleasure. Christine was head of art at Colyton Grammar School until 2001 and co-led Lyme Regis ArtsFest for 11 years. In 2017 she was commissioned by publishers – The Guild of Master Craftsman, to write and illustrate a book for emerging artists called ‘Drawing’.
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