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Life & Work with Alison Schuchs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alison Schuchs.

Hi Alison, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My Art journey started a few years after losing our 20-year-old daughter in a car accident. She was the Artist in the family and though I didn’t start with the intention of doing Art “for therapy” it certainly became my solace during the years soon after our loss. I was intrigued by portraits and loved the challenge of them. For years, I just drew portraits with pencil and joined online art groups that would honestly critique my work. Then in 2010, I got Oil Paints and started my fine art career. Being originally from Scotland, I have always loved the work by Henry Rayburn and Allan Ramsay, seeing their work at the Scottish Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh many times. The 18th Century fashion must have been so much fun to paint. I also like my clients to wear something in the portrait that is a work of art by itself.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The biggest struggle I have tried to conquer is that I have Aphantasia, (mental blindness). It is a lifelong inability to generate any images in my mind. Because of this, I think it has taken me twice as long to progress in my portraits as others Artists. I have certainly put in the hours, treating my Art as a 9-5 job before it really was, just to improve. I didn’t go to Art College but spent more time than the usual Art Student soaking up everything I could learn from other Artist’s videos and books. I would love to paint abstracts but without imagination, it’s almost impossible. I strictly paint from life or photos. I take my own photos, so I feel it’s as close to my own creation as possible.

The other struggle that comes to mind is moving right before COVID hit. Being an established Artist and suddenly moving where no one knew me and then with COVID we were confined to our home was not what I had planned. My favorite thing to do is Portrait Commissions but that completely dried up during COVID. So I started working on painting portraits of the amazing culture that surrounded me. I was drawn to the beautiful clothes and colors of the Mexican/Hispanic culture. It was like an explosion of color for the Scottish Artist. The people of Corpus Christi and San Antonio are the friendliest you will meet and have encouraged me in my endeavor to represent their culture to the Fine Art world.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
My favorite thing to do is paint portrait commissions in oil using traditional methods. I love the challenge of the commission plus I have a small studio and work doesn’t pile up when I do commissions. I paint it then it goes to its new home. I love that.

None of us know what tomorrow holds, after losing my daughter I think I value each person I see a little more. So I wholeheartedly agree with the saying, “Life is Uncertain, eat dessert!”, but would like to add, have your portrait painted now, not tomorrow.

For posthumous portraits, I paint dia de los Muertos Altars using items that belonged to the person and their photo.

What makes you happy?
I love going to Art Museums and Galleries. It fascinates me to see other Artist work. I especially love portraits by William-Adolphe Bouguereau and John Singer Sargent. Sometimes very little is known about the model being painted, sometimes the portrait is all we know of their existence. I am intrigued that the Artist and Model can meet in History and produce something that is timeless and will last for generations.

Here I am an Artist in Texas, a long way from my Scottish home of Dunoon and I now paint models from Texas, never mind that we happen to be alive at the same time. It won’t happen again, just like Bouguereau’s painting of the Shepherdess is history. It is pretty amazing to me. Of course, we have so much information now that we did, and of course, NFTs will allow a lot of information to stay with the art so it doesn’t get lost.

I love to do Master Copies of portraits by my favorite Artists. I count it an honor to learn from them, each brushstroke and color tells a story. It is like reading their minds years after they have gone.

Every Wednesday I can be found with a wonderful group of artists at the Art Center of Corpus Christi where we paint a model from life. This is so much fun and a great opportunity to grow as an Artist.

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  1. corinne Randazzo

    May 26, 2022 at 5:58 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story and works. Love all of them.

  2. Andrea Carnick

    May 27, 2022 at 3:10 pm

    Beautiful work. Innate ability.

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