Painting helps north-east artist through cancer treatment to exhibition success

Artist Alison at her easel
Artist Alison at her easel

An artist who painted her way through chemotherapy is celebrating the success of her recent exhibition.

Alison Chandler, 61, teamed up with Luminate, an organisation which brings together older people to explore their creativity.

As part of the event, the Johnshaven artist launched an exhibition at St Margaret’s in Braemar from May 3 until May 26.

The display showcased her journey through her cancer diagnosis, recovering from emergency surgery and 16 cycles of chemotherapy in 2016-17.

Alison found out she suffered from cancer of the appendix in 2016.

Doctors also detected a blood spot on her liver and diagnosed her with a bowel tumour and diverticulitis, a digestive disease which enflames parts of the bowel.

During her journey, Alison painted at least one picture every few days, creating a timeline of her battle against the illness.

Reflecting on her time at the exhibition, she said: “It was lovely. St Margaret’s church in Braemar is an absolutely beautiful venue and there was this fantastic light coming from the stained-glass window.

“What I most wanted to ring through the exhibition was making good from a bad experience.”

Alison said the show saw “great footfall” and she was able to meet and talk to people about her work.

She added: “The exhibition had a fantastic response and was constantly busy with people coming in who were interested.

“It was great to meet people who were visiting Braemar, people from the area and others who had travelled up from other parts of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

“It was very moving to hear their stories.

“I met a woman whose mother-in-law was in the first stages of cancer and this lady was beginning to paint.

“It was a real privilege to meet and encourage people – which is what this was all about.”

Looking to the future, Alison said she’s “very excited” to be working with cancer charity Maggie’s Aberdeen.

She will be the featured artist as part of this year’s Maggie’s Culture Crawl, which will begin on June 21.

To learn more about Alison’s work and to follow her exhibition visit