In conjunction with the ongoing More Than Your Selfie exhibit, Linda Christensen gave a great talk at NUMU last night in which she talked about her painting philosophy, process and studio tips!
In Self, Linda Christensen’s oil painting in the More that your Selfie exhibit at NUMU, as in most of her work, the artist is interested in the “honest body language of the unobserved figure”. Her paintings are not about capturing a likeness but rather a gesture, a pose and in inner life. Her paintings are large and loose and bold and laced the line and pattern.
The paintings go through radical transformations as she works, which she demonstrated to us in a series of photographs. She may lay in the loose outline of a figure in a scene then go back into it with stencils and palette knives and brushes, breaking up the figure and space in surprising ways which direct the painting until there is an emotional resonance that starts to happen.
I loved how she spoke about her studio experience, how every aspect of it should be conducive to her process, right down to the sensory experience of tracing paper. She likes an abundance of canvases, stacked up, lots of paint perpetually open, brushes hanging out in the turps, a six foot long glass palette and lots of room to move in. Her process is to paint, turn and cleanse her “visual palette” with a classic black and white movie that she has running, look out the window to stretch her eyes than walk right back to the canvas with fresh eyes, knowing what she needs to do next. She’s set herself up for success, limiting the reasons to leave the studio, to break her focus. She said something that was very interesting, “If it’s hard, I’m not going to do it”. So know and honor your process, make it as enjoyable as you can.
She spoke of how painting is so highly personal and that your Point of View is really something to be cherished. It’s important to hone in on what really interests you and to realize that what you’re drawn to and how you work is part of that Point of VIew.
Linda Christensen shared with us a thumbnail timeline she had prepared for a college talk in which she had laid out her work and influences over the years chronologically and recommend it as a great way to glean insights and perspective into the arc of one’s work.
Another tip she had was trying Color-aid cards, complete with mixing instructions on the back. She said it was sometimes fun to pull out a new palette to work with.
The audience was largely comprised of artists and we couldn’t get enough!