Meet the Breakthrough Artist: Alison Dearborn

Growing Up…

I spent many hours in nature alone or with my siblings, playing and making fairy houses in the roots of trees, secret tunnels in snow forts, and drawing pictures from my imagination. In high school, I learned to braid rugs, sew, and paint. In 1996, I left my career as a hair stylist to embark on a new path as a fine art painter. My children were still young and I loved being able to provide them with all kinds of art supplies to nurture their own creative expression. For nearly 20 years, I enjoyed showing my paintings in art galleries throughout the Western U.S., creating commissioned pieces, and selling art to collectors from all over the world.

About 10 years ago, my life began to change drastically. My two daughters were off to college, my 20-year marriage had ended, and I endured a tragedy as a dear friend fell while we were rock climbing together in Eldorado Canyon just outside Boulder. He died a few days later as a result of his injuries. I had never experienced such intense trauma and grief in my life. The previously mentioned losses, among others, were compounded by this traumatic experience.  I attempted to continue my painting career after the accident but I just couldn’t sense the meaning in it anymore. I felt stuck at every turn.

I began to work through these stuck places using my intuition and artistic skills. Through the years of doing commercial painting,  I had found that reaching into other forms of art media helped me break through creative plateaus, rediscover my passions, and intuitively guided me to work through many personal life challenges. Because the accident and the other transitional experiences I had undergone had created such a state of upheaval in my life, I began using my drive to create as a way to transform the sadness, integrate it, and to live my life more fully in the present.

Working on My Own Breakthrough

Not knowing it at the time, I was taking steps every day to reconnect the dots in my life. Alison The Bee KeeperI began to have breakthroughs each time I started towards a new goal, picked up an interesting book, or took a creative workshop to learn something new. I began to focus on the process of creation rather than the material outcome. I started trusting my intuition more and more while following it where it was leading me. So, I began to do whatever I was being led to do. I met a wonderful Life partner through the old-fashioned blind date method. Together, we envisioned a wonderful home complete with separate studio which seemed to materialize before our eyes. Then there was the lovely garden I dreamed up in the backyard of our home where I plant and nurture things in all their phases of growth. We even keep honeybees to pollinate the plants and trees.

That same autumn, I began the process of finishing my degree at CU where I had started 27 years before. For fun, I learned to make glass beads and shifted my expression away from painting.New Life I then began to use bead embroidery as a medium of self-exploration. New LifeAll the while, I was voraciously reading everything that I thought would help me gain perspective on past experiences and enrich my life. I completed a course of study on the Enneagram, an ancient symbolic psycho-spiritual tool— a map to Self-knowledge. I continued my study of the Tarot and I learned to be in a balanced and loving relationship with my partner. Through all of these events,  I learned to trust and cultivate Life again, internally. I was on a quest for meaning and didn’t even know it. It was through this personal quest that I discovered one lifeline after another.

More recently, I have experienced a minor health issue. Because of all I had done to create my own Breakthroughs, I discovered I was well-equipped to successfully deal with this issue in a holistic, natural, and positive way. The result was not only my physical healing but a further deepening of my appreciation for the inner resources we all possess.

Looking back over the past decade, I now realize I have all that I need to heal, grow, and thrive after so much midlife pain and loss.  The use of various tools like bead embroidery, lampworking, the Tarot, the Enneagram, the wisdom of motherhood, the experience of entrepreneurship, and the success of being a commercial fine art painter – coupled with my passion for learning, growing things, Nature, and nutrition & exercise – all help me harvest the riches and resources that were inside me all along.

Working With You For Your Breakthrough

Now I’ve come to a place where I want to share what I have learned and guide other people into the wellsprings of their own spirits. I want to hold a lantern to allow that intuitive seed we all have within us to breakthrough by offering up pathways to A-HA moments that can change lives and lead to even more depth, goodness, and joy in Life.

Transitions can be hard, yet they teach us so much about our own values, ideals, and desires. Budding breakthroughs are always there, just below the surface of things…waiting to burst into the light where we can gain a new perspective on our lives. That new perspective leads us to a fuller, more joyful Life.

Each of us has the potential to make creative Breakthroughs. Let me help you achieve yours.

Please join me for a workshop in my studio in North Boulder.




New Life

This is the finished piece with the previous title of “Taking Back July.”  After I lived with it for awhile, I decided that it needed a different title.  There is a lot to this piece and what it revealed to me went much deeper than I originally thought.  Looking at and living with each finished […]

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Taking Back July (Work in Process)

July has not been a favored month for me for many years now. Sad memories along with the heat make it hard to enjoy being outside. Even though my garden is ripening rapidly in July, it has often felt like a parched month for me, within and without. I started this piece at the beginning of July. […]

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Beading Below The Surface

This piece was made after I started learning to make lampwork beads. I knew this new medium would take me into a different direction regarding my artwork and I wanted to explore that idea more through process beadwork.

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Moving Home

I made this piece right before my wasband and I sold our family’s house in which we had lived for 19 years. My youngest daughter was born there. It was very hard to leave but it was time to move on. Sometimes, when we leave a place that has been our home for a long […]

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He Will Be Released, Too

This was the first piece I ever made using this intuitive process.  It tells the story of a tragic accident but at the same time, one of consolation and healing.  It is a great example of how art can hold paradox in a beautiful way.  

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