People in Your Neighborhood: Meet contemporary landscape artist Alison Haley Paul

Artist Alison Haley Paul has shown her landscapes at the Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery in La Jolla for nine years.
Artist Alison Haley Paul has shown her contemporary landscapes at the Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery on Ivanhoe Avenue in La Jolla for the past nine years.

Local artist Alison Haley Paul’s face might not be a familiar fixture in La Jolla, but her paintings are. Paul has shown her contemporary landscapes at the Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery on Ivanhoe Avenue for the past nine years and will next show them in the “Twenty Women Artists: Now” exhibition.

The “collective reflection on the challenging conditions women face today” will be presented by the Oceanside Museum of Art from March 13 to Aug. 1.

“She is growing and growing as an artist,” said Victoria Edwards, executive art consultant for the Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery. “What’s unique to her is she is in between contemporary and traditional. ... She brings contemporary landscapes [but] she brings a traditional feeling for those who might not want to go totally contemporary.

“She has an eye for things people wouldn’t notice along the road. She’ll see how roads line up with mountains and how she could use that in a painting. When we are out running around, we don’t see that.”

Paul discussed the upcoming exhibit with the La Jolla Light and the role art has played in her life:

Q. What is your involvement with the Twenty Women Artists?
A. “We’re a group of 16 to 17 women artists plus guest spots. We offer camaraderie, because artists have a lot of alone time where you are creating ... and critiques of each other’s work and organized lectures. We’ve done a variety of shows together. When one of the gals had the idea for this show [in 2019], we had no idea we would show it in the middle of a pandemic.”

Q. What can you say about the “Twenty Women Artists: Now” show and your pieces in it?
A. “The show is based on struggles we face, especially during the craziness of the pandemic. We have all been stopped in our tracks and forced to change everything in our daily lives. All three paintings I have in the show are sky-focused because we feel we have a dark cloud, but in the midst of that, we have thrived in many ways. We worked from home, continue to get our groceries, homeschool our kids — some of the stuff we have done is amazing. So there is this hopefulness and silver linings.”

Alison Haley Paul's painting "Delight" will be on view in the "Twenty Women Artists: Now" exhibition in Oceanside.

Q. What is your artistic background?
A. “I am the daughter of an architect in Connecticut, so art and design were a big deal in my house. I was accepted to the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. I was trained as a ceramicist; not sure why, but it’s the base of all the stuff I do. There is a hands-on aspect of ceramics that is a part of who I am and what I do. I also had an interior design company in North County San Diego.

“I started painting around 22 years ago when I won an art class at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla through an auction at my son’s school. I went to a class and it was fantastic. That was where I started to work toward art and less toward interior design.”

Q. Was that your only connection to La Jolla?
A. “No, my first job was in La Jolla when I moved to California and I lived in The Village. I lived there off and on for many years. I feel anchored there.”

Q. What do you see as the value of art in our day-to-day lives?
A. “I think art heals in many ways. It’s used in hospital settings for people to do together. I use the horizon constantly in my paintings for its ability to reset our internal equilibration. It sets our inherent gyroscope. … My work also, from 18 feet, can be very serene. But when you get 18 inches from it, there is surface energy and color and texture. That part is a lovely balance.

“In the day-to-day, art adds salt and pepper to life. Everyone takes away a different experience when they look at art. Art brings a richness to life.”

To learn more about “Twenty Women Artists: Now,” visit ◆