Artwork by Ali: History
Q & A with Alice Best Jackson, Intuitive Artist
Through her Intuitive Spirit Art Designs drawn only during readings and Messages From Beyond® Spirit Message Circles, Alice often receives messages via her own intuitive process. Combining her own energy with that of Dennis, Alice serves as a listener and grounder of positive energy. The messages of the drawings are her interpretation of the information coming through, and are shared with each person as a part of the reading process. Below, Alice answers questions about her artwork and how it relates to the readings.
Q: How did you come to create the Intuitive Art Spirit Designs?
A: It just happened one day out of the blue! I’d never been artistic in any sense of the word. I was so left-brained, I couldn’t even doodle well…I mostly drew just lines and scribbles on a legal pad while in court or on the phone. When I began sitting in on private readings and next to Dennis during our Message Circles, we discovered that our twin soul energy was working together. Names began to come to me, so I kept a pen and small writing pad handy. During the readings, I’d write down a name, but was hesitant to say anything. My own doubt would creep in, and I’d wait until after the reading was over and the tape recorder was off. The first time this happened, Dennis was speaking with a woman’s brother who’d been killed in a motorcycle accident. After the reading, I asked her, “Who’s Angela?” She turned white, and said Angela was her brother’s girlfriend! It surprised me, too. Since then, many more names began coming through, and Dennis encouraged me to speak up during the reading, rather than waiting. I began writing the names down to see if he’d come up with the name first, so I could just confirm it by showing what I’d already written. Eventually I was confident enough to interrupt a reading to ask about a particular name that was being given to me. Along with the names, I’d doodle and scribble on the pad…most of which looked like “chicken scratches”, as my mother used to say.
Then, during a Message Circle in July of 2001, my doodles began to take on a new form. For some reason, I’d taken a small sketch book with me that night, and began my usual doodling. Dennis looked down and said, “It looks as though you’re channeling your father’s art.” I’d drawn a picture that looked eerily like the artwork my father had drawn ever since I can remember. He signed his artwork with his signature “Doovie”, which is the nickname my mother used to call him, and we always called his art “Doovies”. He was always drawing…he’d even doodle on placemats and napkins in restaurants. I actually had one of his placemats from the early 1970s framed and it’s now hanging in my son’s home.
The date of my first drawing is significant because my Dad was still alive that night I drew my first “Ali”, so named because of my signature. However, unbeknownst to me, he had just that day begun his transition to the Other Side. He crossed over exactly one week later. His drawings and “doodles” were so special to all of us that his grandchildren created a website dedicated to him. www.doovie.com There you’ll be able to see the similarities in our artistic style.
Q: How do you use the artwork during readings?
A: I draw during private readings or a Messages From Beyond® event…whenever Dennis is doing a reading for someone. It’s a form of automatic writing, which is something I’ve been doing personally since 1982. The artwork sort of developed as a gift from my father upon his passing. I always start with a clean page and just let the Spirits guide me to begin drawing. It begins with a simple stroke of the pen, which is usually a rapidly drawn non-stop flowing line. Then, when the initial line drawing is done, I go over the same lines with bolder strokes, sometimes adding color, sometimes adding more design work. All of it is done without conscious concentration on the design itself, as the page is constantly being turned during the drawing process. I actually never know where the signature will wind up until the drawing is completed. People see many different images in each drawing, which is how we came to call my art Imagery From Beyond. The style has continued to evolve and change over the years…I’m constantly mystified at how the images are created.
Q: How do you choose the colors?
A: I don’t. Spirit chooses them for me. I have a lot of pens with me, and I never know which color I’ll be using. I just use whatever pen I happen to pick up, or whatever color feels right for the person being read. Invariably, the person will tell me that the color I’ve chosen is the favorite color of the person Dennis is speaking with! There’s no way I’d know that! Certain colors may also have special meanings that pertain to birthdays, holidays, or details surrounding the sitter’s or loved one’s life. Over the years, I’ve learned that the colors selected will match birthstones of the month that is significant to the person being read. I believe this is because my father was a jeweler and gemstones have always been a part of my life.
Q: Can you describe some drawings that were of specific significance to people?
A: Oh, there are so many now, and I’m always amazed by the reactions of the people. I’m delighted, of course, but always amazed, specifically because I have no conscious control of the final picture.
One of the earlier pictures I drew was of a green frog. I used two or three shades of green, and when the picture was completed, it looked exactly like a frog! Now, I couldn’t have drawn a frog if I tried. I’m not even good with stick figures when I try to draw, and I still say I can’t draw anything “real”. This particular piece was being drawn during a private reading, and after the reading was over, I asked the woman what a frog meant to her. She smiled and simply said, “My husband calls me “Frog”. It was one of my first “wow” moments, and I’m happy to say, there have been many more since.
Another special drawing was for Michele, a woman who had come to one of our circles for the first time. Michele’s mother, Lorraine, first spoke to me before she even got her message through Dennis. That was a special night for not only Michele, but for me as well. I heard her name loud and clear, so I told the group that a lovely woman named Lorraine had patiently been waiting to speak and could wait no longer. From across the room, Michele gasped and began crying. Her mother, Lorraine,had been killed by a drunk driver three years earlier, and Michele was still filled with grief and anger. Her healing process was about to begin.
Dennis began to bring through important messages for Michele, and I started a new picture using shades of blue, turquoise, and purple. Watching the process, Michele said those were her mom’s favorite colors. At the end of the evening, Michele came up and asked to see the picture up close. She immediately saw a blue jay, which she said is the sign that she knows her mother is around. Whenever she needs a loving sign from her mother, she sees a blue jay. I was so moved that I gave her the original picture that night. The funny thing is, there were about five boxes of tissues around the room that night, all with flower designs. Only one box had pictures of birds on it, and when Michelle saw the blue jay on the box, she said, “I’m taking this box of tissues, too!” And she did. We did many readings for Michele and her family in the subsequent years, but that first one will also be special to me.
Q: How does Dennis work with you and the artwork?
A: Dennis will look at my drawings and point out initials, symbols, and designs that I don’t even see. His own guide or the spirit he is speaking with will tell him when to look at the drawing. It’s a fascinating process to watch. I’m still in awe of how this technique has developed and evolved…I know my Dad is right there assisting me!
Q: Have you begun to see the symbolism and messages in your art?
A: Dennis began encouraging me to “read” the artwork and to interpret the drawings once they were completed. Reluctantly, I began to do so, and I’m surprised at how much I can now see. I’ve asked my own guides to help me with the process and they have. We only need to ask.
Q: Do the people see the symbols as well?
A: Yes, and I love when that happens! It’s so wonderful to see them get excited about the messages that are coming through their loved ones. One such drawing was during a private reading for a woman in Las Vegas. I was seated across the table from the woman, and was drawing with the sketchpad facing me, of course. The pad was flat on the table and the woman was watching the drawing take shape. All of a sudden, she said, “That’s my duck, Daisy!” Sure enough, when I turned the pad around, it was a duck. Now, even if I tried, I couldn’t draw a duck right side up, let alone upside down!
Q: So, animals come through, too?
A: Oh yes, all the time. Dennis often brings through animals who’ve crossed over, and some who’ve come back and are in the owner’s life as a new beloved pet. Animals often keep coming back to the same families because the love and loyalty are so strong. Pets are often portrayed in my artwork, by design or initials. We see a lot of birds in my drawings, too. One special drawing was of a parrot, and the woman almost fell off her chair! She’d raised cockatiels and exotic birds, and they were more special to her than people.
Q: You mentioned “automatic writing”. What is that?
A: For me, it’s simply the ability to have a conversation with spirits and loved ones on the Other Side. I was left-brained for so many years, and my legal background gave me years of experience with writing everything down. So, it was natural for me to “speak” with my own guides and deceased loved ones by writing to them. The moment I realized they were “writing back” was when I discovered that automatic writing would be my personal psychic tool. Just as Dennis has the gift of hearing, seeing, and feeling what the spirits are showing him, I’m able to receive the information through writings and artwork. In our book, Together Again: Twin Souls Reunite in Love and Life, I talk about specific “conversations” I’ve had with my best friends, Sherril and Sandra, who crossed over in 1989 and 1992, respectively. Those written conversations helped heal my own grief, and opened my awareness of and experience with psychic phenomena. My first written communication was with my paternal grandfather in 1982, and I’ve been doing it ever since…the writings are for me; the drawings are for others.
Q: How did you happen to name your work Intuitive Art Spirit Designs?
A: I didn’t…Spirit did. I used to call the drawings simply “doodles”, because that’s what I thought they were. One day, after a private reading at our home for Lora, a fellow psychic, I was about to give the finished picture to her. She immediately said, “No. Don’t do that! You must not give the pictures away. You need to sell them…they’re going to be very important to you one day.” I laughed and said, “Who would buy them?” She was insistent and still is. That was in October of 2001.
Then, in July of 2002, Pat, another fellow psychic, told me that she saw my designs on bolts of fabric, and she saw them being made into many different things, such as tote bags, shirts, hats, and scarves. She’s the one who gave me the name Spirit Designs. That time I didn’t laugh...I was just stunned. Now, I actually have many of my designs printed onto fabric and use them in creating items people want for themselves or for gifts.. But I never draw them with that in mind. The process remains pure with each drawing created for the person being read.
Q: Does everyone have a drawing?
A: I’m always drawing whenever Dennis is doing a reading, whether it’s a private reading or with individuals in a Message Circle event. During private readings, which last ½ to 1 hour, I draw 1 to 2 drawings in a session…sometimes more. It depends on how long it takes to complete one drawing. If Dennis sees a picture right away, he might suggest that I stop and begin another. Some drawings have more detail; some are quite simple. During Message Circles, I’ll try to begin a new picture with each new person being read. Some pictures carry over to another person, and it’s supposed to be that way. Or, if a couple of people are receiving messages from the same loved one, they may share a drawing. We’ve also had occasions where two people sitting next to one another, or across the aisle from the other, will relate to not only the names and events of the messages coming through, but to the information depicted in the drawing. Some drawings may not even be discussed during the reading itself, but the picture will have a personal meaning for the person it was drawn for.
Q: What about the original drawings? Are they available for sale?
A: I used to do larger drawings and sold them separately. Later on, most of the drawings were on 5x9” cards, and the originals were given as part of the reading. As the art transitioned into Imagery From Beyond for use on note cards and fabric, and when I began showing and selling framed originals at local art shows, I decided to keep many of the originals and give copies in PDF and Jpeg format. Matted & signed originals are now available for sale.
This drawing was made on March 7, 2003, during a public Message Circle at Vision Quest Educational Center & Bookstore in Everett, WA. The last portion of a Circle is the time set aside for questions from people who have not yet received specific messages. It was during this Q&A session when Katrina asked about her sister that I began drawing this picture. Katrina's sister Leah was delivering loving messages from the other side through Dennis and through my art. We all saw a kangaroo in this picture, and it appeared to be holding an orange ball. Leah told Dennis to say it was a pumpkin. Because the ball appeared to be an orange pumpkin, I asked about Leah's birthday, which Katrina told us was just before Halloween. Katrina also told us that she used to be called “Katrina Kangaroo”. When I look at pictures like this, I know they’re coming directly from Spirit!
Sitting across from me during a private reading in Las Vegas, Debbie saw her pet duck, Daisy, in the drawing that was facing her. She exclaimed, “That’s Daisy!” Sure enough, as I turned the sketch pad around, I saw the shape of a duck. I told her the Spirits were definitely guiding my hand as I couldn’t have drawn a duck if I’d tried, and certainly not upside down. This was the last of the 5 pieces drawn during Debbie’s reading, which clearly meant that Daisy did not want to be forgotten. In her honor, we titled this piece “Daisy Duck”.
Betty’s reading was quite interesting as this picture was being drawn during a private Messages from BeyondCircle in Henderson, NV. Dennis focused on what he saw as an Asian motif, while I saw an image of Aladdin’s magic lamp. Betty confirmed both connections as being within her family, and said the messages were important and healing for her.
Lorraine’s Blue Jay
This special drawing was for Michele, who came to her first Circle on 9-14-01. Michele’s mother, Lorraine, had been killed by a drunk driver 3 years earlier. Lorraine whispered her name to me, and I interrupted the Circle to ask about her. Michele gasped from across the room, and Dennis brought incredibly healing messages to Michele that night from her mom. During the reading, I drew this picture, and again was guided by Spirit to use these significant colors of blues and lavenders. Michele told me during a break that she saw a “blue jay” in the drawing, which was her sign from her mother. I was so moved by Michele’s emotional breakthrough and healing that night, I gave her the original drawing.
Queen of Hearts
This is one of the first drawings I made during a private reading at our home just 4 days before my father crossed over in July, 2001. It is my absolute favorite piece and the one I selected for my logo because it is as close to one of my father’s Doovies as I have ever drawn. I see a woman’s face in the center, and a heart that appears to be her bodice. If you look closely, a court jester’s face can also be seen right above and as part of the woman’s face. This picture reminds me of the Queen of Hearts from “Alice in Wonderland”. I know my father was with me as this picture was being drawn, and it was his special good-bye to me, his own “Alice in Wonderland”.