Born in Canada in 1958, Alison began her studies in Canada before continuing at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and Universite de Franche-Comte, Besancon, France. In 1982, she came to Scotland to undertake postgraduate studies at Edinburgh College of Art, and subsequently made Scotland her home. In 1989 Alison was elected a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour and is a past Vice-President of the Society. She also served as President of Visual Arts Scotland for three years in the 1990s and has been made an honorary life member. Twice the recipient of the Elizabeth T Greenshields Foundation Scholarship, she has been short listed several times for the Noble Grossart Painting Prize and received the Alexander Graham Munro Award from the RSW in 1997 and the John Gray Prize in 2007.