Christine Joy Swanson

Much of learning to be an artist is learning how to see. This is something I have discovered in my desire to learn how to paint. Many of my paintings I have created from life - en plein air. This way of painting has many challenges - from the changing light or weather in a landscape, to the peculiar nature of flowers (they keep moving to face the light, even after they are picked!) These challenges are what make painting en plein air exciting to me. 

I learned to paint in the many hours my chronic illness provided me as a child and young adult. My grandmother, Norma Peterson, was my first teacher and greatest encouragement. She was the living example of making beauty in the middle of pain and hardship. Together we painted and drew together - and eventually it became my full time work and passion. 

After receiving a BFA in fine art from George Fox in 2014, I continued my learning by studying under other master oil painters whom I admire. Working predominantly in oils, I paint alla prima with a style mixing impressionism and realism. I have traveled all over the world, learning and painting across America, Europe, Israel, Nicaragua, Haiti…and I am certain that learning never ends for the artist! Now I am teaching painting and drawing classes at the Chehalem Cultural Center in the beautiful wine country of Oregon. I enjoy watching others begin their own journey of learning and creating. 

I feel so fortunate to live in the Pacific Northwest, where all I have to do is walk out my front door or go for a short drive to find natural beauty. As an Oregonian I am particularly drawn to nature and wild spaces for my painting inspiration. 

Painting helps me see more fully the beauty and fragility of this beautiful earth home in which we all live. It has helped me to see meaning (even hope) in the midst of hardship. I am curious and excited to see what else art will show me in the years to come!
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