Artist Feature - Alison Edgson Feb 13 2015

Meet the artists

Although I'm from Northern Ireland and my husband is from deepest Surrey, we have lived in South Wales for the past 14 years. We share our home (a converted chapel in a small rural village) with two labradors and a large, fierce cat. It's in a very pretty and peaceful setting, perched on a ridge overlooking the Vale of Usk. We love it!

During the day I work in our sunny garden room - I'm not complaining but sometimes it gets a little TOO sunny and I have to rig up rickety perspex screens to cut down the glare while I'm painting. It's lovely and warm with a little woodburning stove in the corner. I also have a small study for my books, computer stuff and plan chest and I usually work in there in the evenings (with a dog under the desk warming my feet!)


I love working with acrylics and use them for most of my illustrations and paintings these days although I do occasionally use watercolours as well. When I first started to illustrate books I used gouache paints but quickly learned they didn't stand up to wet cat's paws and other accidental splodges. Acrylics are pretty bomb proof which is essential when working to a deadline. I combine the paints with coloured pencils for detail and emphasis.


Looking at the new Advocate website where you can see all my illustrations together I would describe my artwork as BRIGHT! But I try to create atmospheric illustrations and they're quite soft for acrylics.


I don't have a favourite piece that stands out - I think I'm always striving for something that's just out of reach. I hope that's a good thing, maybe it keeps me on my toes.


My biggest inspiration was my mother who painted all her life but never made a career of it because her first priority was to raise her family. I'm sure she could have been a successful illustrator - we still have little books she wrote and illustrated for us when we were children but she never tried to get them published. I think she once had a story and illustration printed in Horse and Hound magazine though!


Other than art I love my garden although it's pretty wild and very steep. I'm hoping to tame it one day and try to get a productive vegetable garden squeezed in somewhere. I have a vision of wonderful stone terraces like Machu Pichu but I think it will be a lifetime's work to get there. We do already keep bees and hope to get chickens to add to the mix. And we have a bit of woodland to keep us in firewood. Village life takes up a lot of my time - it's very sociable here and we seem to be in the Village Hall most nights at something or other. It's a bit like The Archers really!


When I am in the first part of a book project, sketching the characters, doing thumbnails and roughs, I can't listen to music as I find it a distraction. I used to have Classic FM on in the background but even that seemed to stop the flow so I worked out I need silence for that bit. But once the roughs are done and I start to paint I listen to anything and everything and it's a lovely contrast!