Artist Allison McGree paints places, animals, people, thoughts, feelings, and actions – all in vivid color. Ordinary subject matter is transformed by her use of bold colors and expressive lines.
She FEELS in color.
I have always been creative, but I never imagined I’d become a professional artist. I went to college for international relations and Spanish, and then exercise science before my professors convinced me to try being an art major. I thought they were crazy. It’s an interesting journey to find your love, admit it, and then to take actions to follow your passion.
It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth it. I love looking at the world through artistic eyes—colors, patterns, and textures slow the world and remind me of its beauty every single day.
Art runs in my family, but no one had taken the leap from hobby to career until yours truly. My dad always said, “Find out what you love to do, AND THEN find out a way to make a living at it.” I have an amazing support system full of crazy dreamers like me.
I am a sixth generation Montanan. My family is incredible (and enormous). My mother is one of seven children; her father was an artist. He died early, before I knew him. My father is one of nine children; his mother held my hand as I fell in love with art. I understood her heart and her artistic soul, and she is by far my largest artistic influence.
My grandmother painted in every spare moment. She saw the world as an artist, and she shared her vision with me. As a child, I chased her around constantly, begging to share her paints or to read one of her prized art books. She was, and will always be, my greatest inspiration. Her conviction to “follow your heart” was a great lesson shared by my family that became part of my foundation.
The best part of being an artist is the freedom that comes with recognizing myself. I’m beginning to paint like me. I spent a lot of time learning (I have three art degrees) and am FINALLY learning to trust my hand, heart, and vision.
My process is raw and emotive. I usually don’t have a plan set in stone for my paintings, but sometimes write words on the blank canvas before I begin—thoughts, poems, questions—akin to a type of prayer. The words layer on top of one another and then, the painting unfolds. It leads me where it wants to go.
I allow the first layer to dry; it sits until it speaks to me. Similar to envisioning objects when looking at clouds, I imagine and feel where I want my painting to go. This process can be fast, or it can take months. Sometimes I think about people, sometimes I think about the world…I just paint.
Details come after the emotional experience. I spend time thinking more traditionally and intellectually in the last few stages of painting. Sometimes paintings are done. Other times, they come back to the canvas for more layers days, weeks, or even years later.
Painting is a beautiful experience. I only hope that the viewer can feel what I try to share with them and that they also search for their own creativity.