By Anita Grace –
Alison Fowler is getting ready for harvest.
“My crop of poppies is growing,” she says. Her sun-filled studio on Wellington Street is filled with canvases, many of which are ready to be transformed into large-scale paintings of bright, richly-textured poppies. Her studio will be in full bloom in time for the West End Studio Tour (WEST).
The bold flowers have become almost a personal brand for Fowler.
“As an artist, it’s really cool when you have that something, that one thing, that’s yours,” she says.
But she had not set out to be a painter of poppies. She discovered them almost accidentally.
“It started with not liking a painting,” she explains. “I began scraping off the paint with a palette knife.”
It was in the process of scraping away, Fowler realized that she was creating something new. She kept experimenting with the knife, first creating hearts and then poppies. She has since continued to use a combination of brush and knife work in her acrylic paintings.
She also continues to explore different colours, textures and backgrounds as she creates paintings with poppies and other bright flowers, forest of birch and evergreens, or expansive nature scenes.
“Ali’s nature-inspired paintings are usually bold and expressive, with wonderful textures and vibrant colours,” says fellow WEST artist Lynette Chubb.
“Ali has the ability to confidently and precisely apply paint in a very bold fashion,” echoes Andrew King, also an artist with WEST.
A self-taught painter, Fowler says she has been creating art for as long as she can remember. She feels fortunate to be living her dream of being a full-time artist with her own studio, although she notes that its not always a bed of roses (or poppies for that matter).
“You have to have the entrepreneurial spirit,” she says. There is the business side of operations to maintain, paying taxes and rent, and building publicity. She also admits that finding inspiration can be tough.
So when she is in need of new ideas, Fowler turns to nature. Spending time outdoors or on the road often ignites that spark for her. “It’s a thought, a moment, a colour, a flower, a scene,” she says. Often she will snap a quick picture with her phone.
She takes those moments of inspiration back to the studio. “I’m always experimenting,” she adds, “always doing something different.”
Fowler has been working in her studio on Wellington for almost seven years. She first applied to be part of WEST when she had just opened shop. That first experience, she says, was fantastic.
“I couldn’t believe how amazing it was, says Fowler.” She has been participating nearly every year since.
“I love what I do,” Fowler says. “And it’s really amazing that people come in and buy my art. I don’t ever take that for granted.”
Click here to read profiles of the other artists on the West End Studio Tour.