There are a thousand ways to laugh, but no one laughs quite like Ashland artist Alison DeLancey. One can hear the effervescent Ashland painter about four blocks away. Wood, plastic and steel aside, if anything was to frame DeLancey's work, it would be that indescribable laugh.




DeLancey's favorite form of artistic expression is the crafting of portraits. She especially enjoys children and the elderly. "Both are the closest to the polar ends of what is real," said DeLancey. "The rest of us are more trapped in the mundane, temporal works." Imagine DeLancey's principal works, though she approaches many styles, as a kind of edgier, more multi-dimensional Norman Rockwell. Though not without sentiment, in fact, quite the opposite, DeLancey's work is quick to bring dichotic emotions bubbling to the surface. This makes DeLancey sort of a Southern Oregon secret; a single mother with three kids bursting into their 20s, a recent university graduate, and a woman with a living room stark-filled with museum quality pieces that too few have seen.




"For me, art always had to do with respecting the truth that is the human spirit and trying to capture and to communicate it," said DeLancey. "And there's something here related to joy, but I don't know how to wrap my arms around it."




Although she has had work published in a variety of publications, including the "Cleveland Plain Dealer," and has worked with portraits for over two decades, life for DeLancey has always moved at such velocity that she hasn't had the time to dedicate herself to the portraitures that so exhilarate her. Until now.




"I was heavily involved with painting in high school, and while raising three children I became involved in commercial illustration," said DeLancey. But then one day, for DeLancey the worm turned. "About 12-13 years ago, commercial illustration using fine art, such as with paint and the brush went the way of the buggy whip. After the advent of computer illustration, the bottom fell out of the market." DeLancey attempted to capture the essence with computers, but found the lack of tactile stimulation to be disillusioning and unfulfilling. So, she went back to school.




"I've also had a life long appreciation for health, especially since childbirth," said DeLancey. "I've always seen a connection between art and health, both promoting the human spirit."




While on her own with three kids in Josephine County, DeLancey became, "cognizant of the gross inequalities in delivery of health care in this country."




DeLancey just graduated from Southern Oregon University with a Psychology degree, and over 110 Science credits, with an emphasis in chemistry, and she plans to go pre-med in the near future, studying osteopathy and aiming to become a pediatrician. It seems all too attainable for DeLancey, who studied at SOU under the banner of a plethora of scholarships, including the Ford Family Foundation, the Janet Rankin foundation and the Plunkett Biology association.




"I was blessed with scholarships," said DeLancey.




Now DeLancey, while going through the pre-grad school preparations, hopes to reunite her love of health and her love of art. "Some folks say, 'how do you go from art to science' to me, but I don't see the difference," said DeLancey. "Basic needs must be met for one to identify fully as a person. Otherwise the beauty of their spirit isn't allowed to manifest itself to it's fullest potential."




It is that beauty of the human spirit which DeLancey is so passionate about expressing in her art, so the symbiosis between preservation of life, and articulating its precious meaning through art is clear and present to her.




Right now, DeLancey is working on a personal project, collecting photographs of children from around the world, collected by her eldest daughter, the traveling sort, which DeLancey is turning into a series of painted portraits, a project she expects to take years.




"I'm also now available for private commissions," DeLancey exclaimed.




"I struggle not to talk to myself in public," said DeLancey. "I may have scared a child while on my run this morning. I hope that people can be patient with me when I lose that fight."




And then there's that famous laugh again.




Reach or contract Alison DeLancey at alison.delancey@gmail.com.