By Lee Noles
MONROE – Allison Purser thought she’d run out of time as an artist when a career in graphic design was replaced by diapers, baby bottles and how-to books on parenting.
“That is what happens when you have children,” said Purser, a mother to four who are all under the age of 8. “I have one who is homeschooled, two who are at different daycares, and the 1-year old; well he’s with me all the time.”
Time became so valuable, the daily nature walks she took with her oldest were a chance to escape, unwind and recharge. The duo felt the gentle breeze, saw wavering green trees and colorful flowers strewn across dirt paths. They memorized the rural scenery and sketched what they saw into notebooks. It was in these drawings the itch of an artist returned, and Purser decided to give it a go.
For the past six months, Purser has gotten back into the art world by using her expertise in watercolor and abstract design to reflect the walks with her daughter, as well as the peaks and valleys of parenthood.
“Art allows you to express what you want through a process,” Purser said. “It’s my way of expressing motherhood and the joy and difficulties.”
Some days, her art reverberates positivity with the watercolor strokes revealing a smoothness accentuated with brighter colors. When things aren’t going well, Purser takes a Sharpie and darkens the marks left by the watercolor to portray contrasting feelings.
“It’s a mass of marked lines that are layered on top of each other to make one piece,” she said.
The style requires Purser to get the most out of her emotions while they don’t overwhelm the technical skill she has developed. She compares it to organized chaos with the lines and colors working in unison. It was something Purser said didn’t exist in college as she relied more on a rigid, detailed process she now sees hindered her creativity.
“I don’t overthink as I did before,” Purser said. “There’s more freedom with how I do it now.”
Purser does most of her work in just a couple of hours each day. When the rest of her family is still asleep, Purser is awake at 4:30 each day developing her pieces at the kitchen table. She stops to get the children and her husband, Roddy, into their day before homeschooling her 7-year-old daughter.
Initially, Purser’s plans were to place her work on social media sites for friends and family. Things changed when strangers started commenting on the watercolor and abstract designs she created.
“It always helps to get good feedback,” Purser said. “It definitely boosted my confidence.”
Instagram became a favorite spot for her work as well as 47K Marketplace in Monroe. Purser says she is in the process of submitting her pieces to the Charlotte Art League in hopes of getting space for display.
Even though Purser balances family life and being an artist, she’s still trying to find an equilibrium between the creative and business sides of her work. Purser said she doesn’t mind doing commissions as a long as they are not in a mass-production style. She tries and corrals those feelings by asking herself when she starts who the piece is for and why she is doing it.
“The paintings that end up being the best are the ones that are most authentic,” Purser said. “When I do that, it ends up being what I want it to be.”
Where to find it?
Purser’s work is on display at 47K Marketplace in Monroe. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. She is on Instagram.