Mearns artist’s journey of recovery

Alison Chandler at her home in Johnshaven
Alison Chandler at her home in Johnshaven

A journey from the Mearns to North West Spain will be explored at an exhibition of work by a local artist at Johnshaven Heritage Hub during the next few weeks.

The painting odyssey of Alison Chandler, 61, began after emergency surgery for abdominal cancer in 2016 and led to a first exhibition at the harbour-side museum the following year.

With paintings amassed at a prolific pace over the year of 16 cycles of chemotheraphy, Alison’s work has drawn attention from across the UK and has been turned into books and an award-winning documentary set in the small community where she lives with husband Miles.

During her recovery, the first ambition of the artist, who works mainly in inks and acrylics, was to revisit the ancient pilgrimage route in Spain known as the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.

Alison said: “The inspiration of earlier visits to this thousand-year-old road helped me through illness and it was magical to be well enough to walk back along 72 miles of the route into Santiago.

“It filled my head with new paintings.

The exhibition will be opened tonight (Friday) evening and visitors will be welcomed daily from 1-4pm until Sunday, April 7.

Alison will be on hand most days to talk about how her work has developed from illustrative to abstract, intimate to broad-brush.

The sale of paintings allows her to continue to contribute to the community with initiatives such as a recent visit to Johnshaven Primary School.

The resulting work on self-expression by the school will accompany the showcase of her work.

Alison added: “The hub is an important community connector and a brilliant exhibition space.

“I am pleased that this show will support the sustainability of it as a resource for this extraordinarily charming village that I call home,” she added.

“The Way Through” reflects her feelings, thoughts and responses to the second pilgrimage.