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Ingrid-Christensen C

INGRID CHRISTENSEN grew up in a small town in British Columbia.  “There was no gallery and no exposure to good art, says she, but, like many artists, I’ve always been passionate about art.  I was the kid who drew on every assignment after I’d answered the questions and decorated my room with handmade objects.  Creative people always attracted me. 

In the past, I’ve been a potter and a silversmith, and I have pretty much every type of art and craft tool stored in cupboards in my house.  You never know when you’ll have a sudden need for an airbrush!  I didn’t, however, come to painting until a few years ago when my youngest son went into grade 1.  That gave me the hours to really devote myself to a difficult art form and teach myself how to do it.  Thank goodness for the Internet and the public library without which I’d be nowhere near as skillful as I am now.  It’s easy to educate yourself in today’s world.

I live in Calgary, Alberta and am a professional artist.  I also teach 2 painting classes per week to adults at the Calgary School of Art and teach  workshops in Calgary and BC.

Ingrid, welcome and thank you for participating in this project.  I sincerely appreciate it and propose we get right to it: 

No. 1)  What is art to and for you?  (generally and personally)INGRID C Alex

The best and most lasting pieces of art seem to offer a glimpse into the artist’s psyche; to show us what his or her view of reality is. You can’t look at a crusty, in-your-face, Lucien Freud nude and not think at least as much about the painter as about the model.

Personally, art is my expression in the world and the thing that thrills me every day. When a painting is working, it’s like meditation: I’m living fully and in the moment. The feeling is so exhilarating that sometimes I stop and whoop with joy.

No. 2)  What inspires you?

I’m inspired by the natural world -and that includes people. Mostly, I love to paint natural, organic forms as they are influenced by lighting conditions. For example: a flower is interesting, but a flower lit by sunlight is fascinating.

No. 3) When you are painting, creating, where does it take you?  I mean where does your mind travel?

When I paint, my mind doesn’t travel. During an ideal painting session, time passes undetected and I am fully engaged in the painting, thinking only of colour, tone and shape. It feels like playing chess: “If I put this colour on here, thinly, then later I can add that colour heavily and create this visual vibration.” I’m always planning several moves ahead for each section of the painting.

INGRID C. Galiano GirlI know when I should stop painting by the fact that I’ll suddenly decide to check my email or return a phone call. That urge means that my painting is no longer getting all of my brain power and will suffer if I keep working on it. That’s when I stop for a rest or for the day so that I can be fresh for the next attempt.

No. 4)  Do you think painting, music and health are related and if so, how?

I know that I feel refreshed and positive after most painting sessions, even if I’m exhausted. That doesn’t make much sense when I write it down. Still, I’ve noticed that even when I’m in a dry spell and most of my paintings are failures, I’m still very unhappy at having to skip a painting day for some reason. And I always head into the studio with a feeling that something great will happen, even if nothing great has happened in there for weeks. It sounds delusional, but I think painting is what keeps me sane and happy; it gives my life meaning. 

No. 5)  How do you feel when you are painting?

I feel very alive, strong and in charge when I’m painting. I’m very aware that nobody but me can paint that particular painting at that moment. Nobody else will make the same choices in colour, brushstroke, paint consistency or even paint surface as I will. The idea that I’m making something absolutely new every day is thrilling. 

No. 6)  Do you identify with your subject and if so, on what level?

I don’t think that I do identify with my subject. Instead, by painting it I recognize itsINGRID C. Mermaid uniqueness and marvel at it. Still, because it’s my perception of its uniqueness, my self naturally comes through in the painting.

No. 7)  Under what conditions do you work best?

I work best when I’m alone in my studio, but I need some feedback now and then to keep myself truly motivated.  That might be a critique from my husband who is very visually astute, a sale, or an artistic award or prize. 

No. 8) Does painting help you connect with your higher self, whatever that is for you?

I think painting has opened up a self that I was unaware of.  By looking hard at what I paint, I’ve developed a finer sensitivity to the world around me, and to the animals, plants and people within it.  I used to look, but now I really see.  And the wonderful thing is that I feel like this ability to see the world more deeply just keeps broadening and deepening as I continue to work.   This is, I think, a spiritual thing.  It’s filled with the wonder of all that the world holds, from amazing bugs, to striking people, to the robins that raised a nest of young in my yard this Spring.   It’s all amazing.

No. 9)  How do you feel about creativity in the public school systems, as far as it’s development and its use as well in problem solving?

I don’t have a broad view of creativity in the school system, but my children’s experience has not been great.  Their elementary school, like many, “integrates” art rather than giving it its own class.  This means that every title page for an essay is considered art.  I think that puts art at the level of craft, with no sense of the depth and breadth of what it can mean in a person’s life.  Art is the filler and the frills around core subjects. 

Having said this, as a former teacher, I know that the reason that the arts get small attention INGRID Fishing 32 x 32in the school system is that there are so many things that schools have to teach: health, gym, second languages, social skills, and, of course, the 3 R’s.  There are only so many hours in a day and the curriculum is dense.  Add to that all of the time wasting of discipline problems and student unpreparedness (“I forgot my pencil, homework, etc.”), and it’s amazing how much teachers do manage to cover in a year.

No. 10)  In your opinion, what could be a simple solution to improve creativity in the public school system?

More educational funding!  If there were enough teachers and support staff to have small class sizes and aides for students who require them, kids would get much more out of every subject, not just the arts.  So many teachers have huge classes and are just trying to stay afloat every day.  As well, increased funding would allow for more art supplies and musical instruments, and the hiring of teachers who are specialists in the arts to teach these subjects. 

No. 11)  What are you hoping to teach or portrait through your art to the onlooker?

I hope that my paintings allow viewers to see the world as I do.  I hope that they will see interesting passages of light and colour, great treatment of paint consistency and a unique way of seeing a simple and everyday subject.

Again, Ingrid, thank you for sharing so generously with us your thoughts and feelings and talent.  Until our paths cross again, keep well and be blessed!

TO THE READER :INGRID C Designs 12 x 24

You are cordially invited to visit Ingrid’s links and see more of her work and get to know her even better.  Your comments are of course always appreciated, thank you and enjoy!


Blog: ” A Painter’s Progress”

Calgary School of Art:

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Filed in: ART • Friday, August 5th, 2011


By Anonymous on August 6th, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Are you related to James Christensen?


Hi the pic galiano girl was me I actually remember it I was on the beach with my mom and grandparents you asked if you could paint me picking up crabs and they said yes I was only 5/6 but now I’m 11 please email me back soon I would love to hear more


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My name is Michele Andree. I am an artist, I paint musicians in action. I think I’m a musician at heart, my instrument being… a brush, so I play…brush and I paint… music.
I love jazz. I call it freedom music. It promotes special values. I love intelligent people and good conversations.

Some people ask me how music relates to art. Personally I find they go hand in hand. Music is what turns me on to painting. It makes me see colours