This month’s featured artist, Allison Rose Patterson, has crafted a career around teaching art to others and pouring her love of the human experience into one-of-a-kind portraits. Her attention to detail partnered with her ability to pull the most personal elements together make her pieces hold emotions and stories within each stroke of her brush or pencil.
Allison Rose Patterson | Colored Pencil Artist
How would you describe your work?
The majority of my work is spent creating photorealistic portraits of people and animals, however, I do sometimes experiment with other styles. I love the challenge of capturing every aspect of a portrait, down to the smallest detail, in order to make my work come to life and pop off the page. Artwork can include details that encapsulate emotion not always captured in a photo, which makes it far more intimate than just a photograph. There is so much reward in portraits, especially capturing someone special that someone recently lost.
What influences your art?
The interests and experiences of my loved ones often inspire me when I start projects. I cherish the joy and excitement I see in the faces of my friends and family when I use my skills to create art that they love. One of the greatest feelings in the world is using your talent, no matter what it is, to make someone else smile.
How have you evolved, personally, as an artist?
I tend to be an extreme perfectionist so, over the years, I learned to push past my fear of failing. Perfectionism can assist my eye for detail, but if I’m not careful, it can escalate to unhealthy levels, turning my art into a stressor rather than a stress reliever. In college, when my classmates and I found ourselves in that situation, our professor would always give the same response: “Nothing is precious in art. If something doesn’t fit, you can’t be afraid to change it.” These words still resonate with me and transformed my outlook toward my art. When I feel myself starting the “perfectionist spiral” and getting too stressed with my projects, I hear my professor’s voice in the back of my mind, and it reminds me to keep everything in perspective.
How do you carve out time to be creative, as a teacher?
Between my volunteer work and being a full time teacher, it can definitely be a struggle! Thankfully, I’ve found a more balanced routine, and now maintain a schedule with time set aside for art. I also have a wonderful support system at home, so when I am getting too busy, my husband always keeps me grounded and reminds me to stick to the schedule, allowing me to focus on myself and art.
Do you have a favorite story behind one of your paintings and why?
Using pen and ink, my “word portraits” are created from words rather than lines. Funny enough, I began making this style of art in college for a non-creative course assignment where we were tasked with generating words to describe ourselves as well as words our friends and family would use to describe us. I created a self portrait, overlapping the words and, while ultimately my professor at the time didn’t show the same level of appreciation as expected, it led me to discover one of my favorite art series. Sometimes the subjects are characters from comics or movies (like Iron Man or Groot), and I create their image from the movie script. My favorite version of word portraits are family portraits using words that describe the individual person. For example, they can use nicknames, references to memories or jokes, and even words that describe them at the time of the portrait.
What are you working on that excites you right now?
I am currently starting to get back into painting which really excites me! I have not painted much over the past few years, due to my hectic schedule, so I am looking forward to playing around with this medium again. In the past, I mostly used acrylics, but I am starting to practice with oil paints. I am an extreme art history nerd, so I am looking forward to immersing myself in this classic medium and perfecting my skills along the way.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to share with fellow artists, especially those at the start of their careers?
Do what makes YOU happy. Don’t compare yourself to others; everyone has their own creative process, artistic style and unique perspective. Focus on what you love, and let your art be a cathartic experience rather than a stressful one. Remember that nothing is precious in art…except for you, the artist!
If you are interested in learning more about this month’s artist, Allison Rose, you can find her on TikTok and Instagram @artbyallisonrose20.