Christine Ivers, the award-winning, nationally recognized pastelist, returns to the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops to teach her always popular five-day Pastel Painting class “Paint the Night”, June 12 to 18, 2016.
Christine recently took some time to give us the background on teaching, and creating her art.
How long have you been teaching and what got you started teaching?
I’ve been teaching since 2007 after the economic crash that pretty much took away the job that I had worked at for over 40 years. I owned an ad agency and within the course of six months I lost 90% of all my clients due to any number of financial reasons. It was tough, but I was always an illustrator and I was used to giving presentations and I actually taught my four daughters how to work on computers so I thought, “What the heck! The only thing I know how to do is draw!” So, I started to teach and I have loved it ever since.
What is your favorite part about teaching?
Watching my students succeed in their own artistic journey. That’s the best part! When one of them wins an award or sells a painting or overcomes an obstacle, I’m thrilled. Helping them get to where they want to be is what it’s all about. I believe we all have to make our own path in this life and so I never insist that they paint exactly like me. I encourage them to create in their own way. I am there to help them hone the skills that will make them succeed.
What would you tell your prospective students are three best reasons for taking a workshop?
Oh Wow! You only want three things?
The ability to immerse one’s self in painting or drawing without distraction from one’s everyday craziness. Most of us get wrapped up in the day-to-day stuff. To spend morning until night creating artwork is just so awesome! It’s the ultimate soul cleansing for an artist.
Meeting and spending time with other artists from different parts of the country who bring their own richness of art to the table. It is such great fun to not only spend time in the studio with other like minds, but to spend after hours or lunches just talking about art and the creative process. Nothing can beat that! You also learn from other students as well as the instructor. It’s just great fun.
Challenging yourself by putting yourself outside of your comfort zone. Whether it is a studio artist trying plein air painting for the first time or a still life artist attempting to paint a landscape, it is good to push yourself a little or sometimes a lot. You will always walk away with something that you hadn’t thought of before. This, in itself, is a great way to learn.
What are you currently working on in your own art?
I’m still painting nocturnal cityscapes and traditional landscapes, mostly in pastel, but up until the winter hit I was getting myself outdoors to plein air paint. Of course I always retreat to my studio in the end to get back to my NightScapes. Anyone who knows me knows I love the “dark side.” I’m also starting to write an instructional art book, so that will be keeping me busy also.
Where is your art currently being exhibited?
I exhibit in NYC at the Salmagundi Club and also at National Arts with different competitive shows. I also have a gallery in Essex, CT where I have a number of my NightScapes on display for the next few months. On occasion I show in a gallery in New Canaan, CT. Because I belong to many art organizations, my work is on display in different parts of the country during the year.
Is your work represented in galleries, and if so, what hints would you give to artists looking for gallery representation?
I would first advise any artist to gather together a “body of work.” Galleries look for a style that reads consistently across an exhibit. Unless it’s a group show, they look for consistency and proficiency. Most galleries are overloaded with artists seeking representation so have your ducks in order. I also know it helps to have a good word put in by an artist who might already be represented by a gallery you wish to get into.
Do you sell your work in any online gallery?
I do have an online gallery with pricing and information, but if the piece happens to be at a gallery at the time of an inquiry I will direct them to the gallery so they get their commission. I price my pieces pretty much the same whether online or in a brick and mortar store front.
What is your favorite art quote?
“Art is not what you see, it’s what you make others see.” –Edgar Degas
Describe your studio.
I actually have two studios. What used to be my ad agency is where the natural light is really great. The other is in the basement of my home with the hot water heater, furnace, 1981 refrigerator and a conglomeration of stuff all over the place. Right now I can’t show you the home studio because we just ripped it apart to rearrange things, but I can tell you that at that location I work under an eight foot fluorescent overhead bulb. I guess you can work with any light if you get used to it. The photo is the one in my old ad agency.
Name five of your “can’t do without” tools/products.
I use it to take reference shots and as a black mirror for looking at my work upside down and backwards to check the drawing and composition.
Need that all the time. Helps to put me in the Zone.
ArtSpectrum Multimedia Gesso with Pumice
I use this to coat my Gator Boards with a crazy texture that I love.
A good 1-1/2” house painting brush
This is how I apply the Gesso/Pumice.
3/16” Black Gator Board
This is what I use to put the grounds on. Easy to cut, easy to frame, no need for a back board.
All other supplies I can mix and match whether oil or pastel, but without the five above I’d be lost.