General, Inspire

My Art Journey: Alison C. Board

8th March 2023 Estimated reading time: 3 mins

Alison C Board is one of the SAA’s longest standing partner artists. She grew up in Dorset with dreams of being a professional dancer but now spends her time sharing her passion for painting with followers and amateur artists around the world.

Ali’s commitment to art education is why we’ve chosen to feature her story on International Women’s Day.

It’s In the Blood

Ali grew up in Wimborne Minster – a small Dorset market town steeped in history. Her parents owned an art and stationery shop which had been in the town for over 100 years and was memorialised in the town’s famous model village which was built in the 1950s.

As a youngster, Ali’s artistic flair was heavily encouraged. But despite an early introduction to the art world, Ali decided to go on a different path and used her love of dance and performing arts to create a career as a ballet teacher. She ran her own dancing school for 6 years before leaving to manage the family’s art shop.

During her time running the family business and her own gallery, Ali started to draw and paint again but her passion for teaching gradually spilled over into her leisure time. Ali ended up holding art classes on a small scale which gradually grew in popularity, as did Ali’s work as an artist.

Adult Learning

After a few years teaching, Ali decided to formalise her art education and follow her dream of getting a degree. In 2013 she was awarded her BA Fine Art degree with First Class Honours. Ali was always keen to keep teaching and went on to complete her Post Graduate teaching certificate, specialising in Online & Distance education. During this time Ali held classes and demonstrations for local art clubs and at national events such as the SAA’s All About Art event and Art Materials Live at the NEC. She also became one of the SAA’s most popular partner artists.

In her 10-year affiliation with the SAA Ali has created nearly 100 learning resources for SAA members. Her partnership recently culminated in the launch of her own range of paints, The Alison C. Board collection comprises of 6 watercolours which were chosen to reflect Ali’s unique experimental style. The paints also uphold Ali’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Made in the UK, the paints are handcrafted and use only natural vegan friendly ingredients.

The Art of Teaching

Being an artist is a calling, not a career choice and the same can be said for teaching. Ali’s passion for both shine through in everything she does. Having recently also taken on a visiting tutor post at Arts University Bournemouth, we asked Ali what she gets out of teaching art after 27 years….

‘There’s a glorious moment when you are a teacher that doesn’t happen at every session, but it is worth every second of waiting for it, it’s the moment when you see the lightbulb explode in someone’s mind. They have suddenly understood something or made a big achievement or better still, are so in the painting zone that nothing beyond their project matters and they have found pure escapism. It will always be the thing that keeps me teaching, as to witness it is an honour.’

Ali’s Inspiration

Ali takes inspiration from the world around her and she loves taking photos which then go on to influence her artwork. Ali uses texture and colour to depict themes in nature and life and despite experimenting with many different mediums, always reverts to watercolour. Her video tutorials are some of the most watched on the SAA’s Video on Demand service.

Ali’s approachable teaching style and ability to inspire means that her workshops and classes are always booked up in advance. Her Spring workshop at the SAA has already sold out but you can join our mailing list to receive updates of new workshops as they are announced.

Ali also has her own YouTube channel where she shares weekly inspiration and tips as well as short tutorials. You can also visit here wonderful website – Learning to Paint.

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