... ... Christine Joy Swanson | ART Elements Gallery

Christine Joy Swanson

For the first sixteen years of my life I was sick with a debilitating illness. During this time I was often too weak to go to school and would spend most of my days in the house.

This is when I learned how to paint.

During the days of my illness my grandma moved in to help take care of me and keep me company—she was not only incredibly kind and caring but also an incredible painter. On good days, we would paint together; on days when I was too sick to get off the couch, she would let me watch her create some whimsical landscapes. Painting was (and still is) a true kind of therapy for me!

My grandma introduced me to painting through watercolors and acrylic paint. As my style grew, I started to become more interested in using oils. When I paint with oils, I like to use thick paint and occasionally even a palette knife—I love being able to see distinct brush strokes in a painting.

I painted my way through my youth, participating in several contests and showcases. Later on I chose to further pursue my journey as an artist by pursuing a BFA at George Fox University with a focus in painting. Since graduating in 2014, I have participated in various art festivals and gallery shows. I have also travelled to Europe three times, painting en plein air, and then returning home to then have special showcases of my European art. For the last two years, apart from my travels, I have been painting full time in my little Pacific Northwest studio.

As a born-and-raised Oregonian, much of what inspires me to paint is what I see outside: the wildness of the trees, the mountains, the oceans, the flowers, and stormy weather. I am particularly captured by light and what it does at different times of the day - the vibrancy of a sunset or the way the sun sparkles through a tree. Living in the Northwest, all I have to do is walk out my front door or go for a short drive to find my inspiration. Personally, I experience the beauty of this world the most when I am outdoors. The best days to create are when I am able to pack up all of my supplies and go find a place to paint outside.

Stylistically, I aim for impressionism with some hints of realism. I love the freedom of impressionism, the 'looseness' of big brushstrokes, and painting alla prima - but I also love the detail of realism. I like my paintings to not look "perfect" though, because I don’t want my paintings to look exactly like photographs. What I want most for my paintings is to capture the feeling of a place.

Perhaps much of what I am trying to communicate is something I will never be able to say with words.

And, so: I paint.