Vibrant, beautiful pieces with admirable amounts of energy that she channels … that is perhaps the best way to sum up the artwork created by Allison Danielsen, a local artist here in Lake Nona. Her use of extraordinary color captures the intricate beauty of natural and imagined landscapes as well as people. Her artistic talents have led her to create pieces currently under review for publication at the Mayo Clinic, assist her friend, Maggie Fischer, in painting her mural in Laureate Park Elementary School, and be hired to complete a mural for a music classroom at Duval Charter School at Baymeadows in Jacksonville. “Art creates opportunity if we let it, and even doing a little can help us grow a lot over time,” said Danielsen.
Born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., which is about an hour and a half north of New York City, Danielsen later moved to Washington, D.C., to finish college before spending 10 years in the D.C. area, where her husband is from, and then moving to Orlando. Danielsen minored in fine arts and studied art therapy at George Washington University, witnessing first hand the impact a creative outlet can have on overall wellness. She also worked with patients in a psychiatric day program who were battling serious mental illnesses and used art as a way to release negative energy or gain a sense of accomplishment.
The two found themselves attracted to the Lake Nona area in December 2014 because of a job offer, along with its technology, varied home styles, and all of the activities offered.
Danielsen explains that she has been creating since a young age. “Even as a little kid, I always told my mom that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. My mother is an artist and has her BFA in printmaking. She always encouraged us to be artistic,” Danielsen said.
She recalls using art as a way to channel her own energy, even while being a perfectionist and wanting to fight her “Type A” tendencies. Though she doesn’t draw and paint for a living, she says her day job has allowed her to “develop products that help young people learn about career paths aligned with their interests and inspire them to take action to pursue their goals.” Both art and her day job keep her motivated to learn over the course of her life and not feel like she is missing out on an opportunity to do more.
“The more ‘perfect’ I try to make a piece, the less successful it tends to be,” said Danielsen. “I faced a health issue a couple of years ago that required me to take a step back from full-time work temporarily, and, in that time, I was able to recommit to drawing and painting.”
Danielsen finds inspiration for her work in several different mediums, including family, friends and travel. She has been able to take a variety of different art classes with extraordinary artists and learn from them. She’s also done one-on-one sessions with Noreen Coup and PJ Svejda and has studied portrait, landscape and floral drawing and painting, using oil, acrylics, pastels, watercolors, charcoal, palette knife and alcohol inks in the process.
Two projects she cited as the most rewarding and most difficult were her work on a recent triptych piece that depicts a sunset in Laureate Park. She was able to use a lot of different techniques to make the painting come to life, and with each of the panels being 36” x 48”, the entire piece is nine feet wide and four feet tall. The inspiration of the piece was a photograph taken by her father-in-law.
“He [referencing her father-in-law] has gotten into photography in his retirement, and I love how the picture captured the beautiful sunsets we have here in front of the unique homes. I started with layers of wet fluid acrylics for an underpainting. Then I added multiple layers of oil paint, gel medium and some palette knife work to add texture. The vision of the piece shifted as I worked based on how things were coming together. It was fun and exciting to see things change over time,” said Danielsen.
On the other hand, the hardest piece was perhaps the six drawings Danielsen did in an art class in college for her final project. The drawings depicted a close friend’s journey as she battled and ultimately lost her fight against brain cancer. “I used a limited palette to tie the pieces together. The project was difficult because it was so personal and forced me to review everything that she had gone through in a relatively short period of time. Despite the significant changes to her face due to brain surgeries, chemo and medications, she had a persistent smile that showed her strength, which I was happy to be able to document.”
Danielsen has several other artistic projects currently on the horizon, including an outdoor painting workshop in December and a second mural to complete at Duval Charter School at Baymeadows in Jacksonville. She hopes that she gets to continue to learn and grow through her artistic creations, whether that be in landscapes or portraits.
You can find Danielsen’s work on her website: allisondanielsen.com. She also has a painting on display in the Winter Garden City Hall for Crealde’s “Art of Mentorship” exhibit through Dec. 31. If you’re interested in purchasing or commissioning a piece, you can email Danielsen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are looking for interesting artists who live in the Nonahood to be featured. If you or someone you know should be nominated to be a Nonahood News Featured Artist, send your nomination to nonahood.to/artist.