Alley Auchter doesn't remember a time that she wasn't into art.
As a young child, Auchter started out with drawing, particularly with colored pencils and experimented with varied art forms through high school and briefly in college.
"When I was in school, anything we were doing in art class would spark a new phase. We worked with metal at one point. So, I went through a phase where I was doing all of these etchings in metal," Auchter said.
Her art fell by the wayside in college as she worked on her degree in interdisciplinary studies. However, she reconnected with her passion for art and exploration after graduation.
One thing Auchter never lost was the desire to try everything. She encourages others to play, too.
"You never know if the medium you're working in is what you're meant to do. You might stumble upon something and think 'Oh, this is my medium. But, maybe you wouldn't have tried it if you stuck with just one art form ... Just create creatively. I think it's important to try as much as possible."
Auchter began her painting journey with acrylics and has now moved to water-based oil paints.
"I love painting because it's a chance for me to slow down. Life is so fast and busy, but when I paint. I'm in my own world, enjoying every brushstroke, painting things that bring me joy, and taking time to appreciate those things," Auchter said.
She picks her subjects because they make her happy, not because someone else will like it.
However, it does bring her joy to connect with people who appreciate her art and the choices she's made in it.
"Someone will connect with that painting because it also makes them happy. And, it makes me happy to connect with people," Auchter said.
Auchter took her own advice and used the solitude of the pandemic as an opportunity to explore art forms she might not have interacted with otherwise.
"During the pandemic, I went through a phase of trying a new art hobby every month. I tried wood carving, I tried crocheting, printmaking and more," she said.
The pandemic gave her and her fiance an opportunity to try something very different, too. They moved from Wheaton, IL to Longmont last April, finding their townhouse site unseen.
Despite the pandemic, she has found that Longmont has given her many opportunities to get her art out in the public eye.
Her work is currently at the Walnut Gallery, she's a collective partner at the MeCo Coffee Collective and will have her art at local art festivals this summer. Auchter hopes to one day offer live paintings at weddings, highlighting the scenery and the florals.