Christine Nora Behrens—loving to paint, painting to love
This month’s featured artist is Christine Behrens, whose current interest in children’s books, printmaking, traditional watercolor, acrylic, sketchbook drawing, travel journals, and art journals started very early.
“My mom was an oil painter and I grew up with a lot
of encouragement from her to draw and paint. She even let me
and my sister paint an underwater scene on the bathroom walls,” recalls Christine.
Yet at Long Beach State University, Christine majored in English and Creative Writing. Then, while working at Santa Rosa Junior College, she took art classes each semester for 16 years—water color painting, etching, oil painting, acrylic painting, plein air painting, pastel painting, art history, and figure drawing.
“I never get tired of looking at art in books, museums, galleries, and it all influences me in some way,” says Christine. Inspired by an art history class, Christine also traveled to Florence, Italy to study Renaissance painters. And she taught an adult education class on writing and illustrating children’s books at Santa Rosa Junior College.
Christine credits two instructors as big influences on her own work. Watercolorist Philip Buller taught her: “Work on a painting until you love it. That’s when you’ll know it’s finished.” Alan Azhderian taught her: “If you can draw the human body, you can draw anything.”
Today, Christine loves drawing and painting characters, implying a bit of narrative in the gestures and faces. She adds, “I tend to paint my characters with their eyes closed with peacefulness or deep concentration that I hope the viewer feels too.”
Regarding technique, Christine adds, “I love to add layer upon layer of paint, paper, text, wax—then take it all off, or sand it down to integrate the elements. After that, I add more and more layers until I feel some type of love for the piece.”