Welcome to my website, featuring my paintings and workshops, as well as information on my books and upcoming travel. This website is partly a response to requests by friends and students to view my work, past and present. If you would like to follow my travels, hear about what I'm painting, or have a look inside my classes, you might like to check in with my blog on this site.
I work in watercolour and acrylic. No matter what the medium or subject I am drawn to strong colour. In my acrylics I build up many layers to create complex surface.
Both my painting and my writing are influenced by my background as a biologist and the years I have spent living and working close to nature. I began drawing, as many biologists do, with field and specimen sketches. Working in a botanical garden, I became enchanted with the formal beauty and meditative quality of botanical painting. In recent years I have explored the great versatility of acrylics paints and mediums, in landscape, still life, and abstracts. Abstract in particular has pushed my boundaries as an artist and helped develop an understanding of the power of composition and colour.
I have shown my paintings in Vancouver, Victoria, and Nanaimo, in galleries, solo, and group shows, and am represented by the Red Art Gallery in Victoria.
My paintings have received awards in juried shows and are placed in many private collections. I am an active member of the Federation of Canadian Artists and teach both in my studio and institutions such as the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden. I also travel to other communities and venues to give guest workshops.
In small classes, in my garden studio on Protection Island near Nanaimo, B.C., I strive to create a supportive, relaxed environment, where students can wade into art for the first time or return after years of other work which has kept them from painting. Drawing and painting, like any other skills, can be learned and built upon, and each step along the way can be fun and rewarding. Many of my students return year after year and have become accomplished artists in their own rights.
facing east, looks out over the Salish Sea to Gabriola Island and further, to the mountains of mainland British Columbia.
is small, just right for classes of 6-8, ensuring that all students get personal instruction.
"I have studied with Alison Watt over the years in both watercolour and acrylic painting, beginning and intermediate levels. Her teaching style makes the work and the lessons easily accessible, while carefully covering everything that is necessary. You work hard in her workshops, in a well-directed way, as Alison guides you through the delights and challenges inherent in any art-making. You have fun, too."
- Maureen Fraser, Tofino, BC
"I think Alison is an amazing teacher. Her calm and gentle presence is wonderful, and the way she guided me through the painting process really worked for me. She is so good at giving a sense of the process, and just the right amount of information is given to help the progress, but not overwhelm. And I'm surprised that for the second time now, I can see I could be a painter - I AM a painter!"
-Jennifer Nash, Gabriola Island, BC