Rambling Road Trips with Allison Collins





Allison Collins | In Conversation

Foster/White Gallery: You have compared elements of your paintings to the warp and weft of a weaving. These are further described as grounding moments that allow you to resolve challenges of critical thinking as you work. How do various tactile interests influence your paintings? 
Allison Collins: I have a strong affinity for fabric crafts. I love Gees Bend quilts, they have so much heart and ingenuity. They are so surprising, bold, and colorful with geometric shapes. Amish quilts are precise with dark rich color. Rag rugs use any fabric and the warp and weft mirror my brush strokes. Add these disparate elements to our rambling road trips and you have the inspirational foundation for a painting.


Allison Collins, Red River Valley, oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

F/WG: You paint abstract landscapes but reference real vistas. Do you work from photographs?
AC: On the road there is variety of land lines, shadows and light, shoreline, rivers. I’m waiting to see how the land stacks up and the horizon changes. I do take pictures but I rarely use them.


F/WG: Is travel essential to your work? Are there places you return to again and again to seek inspiration? We would love to hear more about your process.

AC: I never start out with the intention of painting a specific place. I use random coats of color: a green square, orange bars, stacked multicolored squares, silver, gold lilac wash. I’m adding and scraping away lines hoping for a glimmer of a direction. Sometimes I’m thrilled with this new realization and sometimes I’m crushed because I’m afraid I ruined my painting. But I do use oils so I can continue to work layer by layer until I get it right.


Allison Collins, Primary Twilight, oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches


F/WG: How do you go about titling your paintings?

AC: Since the paintings are abstractions they are hard to title. Sometimes I use a song or a feeling or a metaphor for a trip. Some elements might remind me of a place we camped or traveled. Sometimes friends come over and we work together on titles.


F/WG: What has been bringing you joy and comfort during this season of sheltering in place?

AC: One restful thing I can do during the shelter in place is I love to swim in our pond or float around taking a frog census or search for crayfish. I hope you can find ways to find comfort and peace.

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