Copyright 2010 Christina Olsen/All Rights Reserved
In 1995 I started doing this kind of work," she said. "The process is what's enjoyable, the delightful accidents of color that come out as I experiment."
Articles Featuring Christina Olsen
Some people seem to have a knack for making lemonade when life hands them lemons. Felton artist Christina Olsen is one of those people.
Trained and employed for eight years as a technical illustrator, Olsen found herself on the way to being replaced by computer aided design programs, and decided to pursue an entirely different line of work, early childhood education.
That was over 10 years ago, and since then, she has become a co-director of San Lorenzo Valley Children's Center, and has discovered within herself a talent for watercolor painting.
After taking watercolor classes at Cabrillo College, Olsen, a mother of two, gradually developed her unique style.
"About a year and a half ago I started doing this kind of work," she said. "The process is what's enjoyable, the delightful accidents of color that come out as I experiment."
The Valley Press - June 1996 "Artist Paints Brain Pictures"
Christina was born in San Mateo and raised on the California coastline. It was an idyllic childhood without television on a small farm.
When Christina was four, an aunt who was an art teacher, gave her a large box which was filled with paints, colored wire and a plethora of paper. After this epic occurence she was constantly in trouble for making "a big mess." Curiously that practice has continued to this day.
Now adept at cleaning up after herself, Christina studied practical disciplines at college and received degrees in both technical illustration and education. She worked in both of these fields until relocating to Brookings in 2001.
Christina works in watercolor, acrylic and on pottery and any other available surface. She shows in galleries in California, Oregon and France.
In January 1994 she had her first showing, and followed up with seven more shows that year.
In 1995 she had twice that many shows throughout Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties. Despite enjoying the rewards of her "day job" at CCSLV, Olsen hopes her art sales will allow her to pursue her painting full time at some point in the future. She rolls over fully two thirds of any sales income back into her art to cover the cost of framing and art materials.
"Right now I mostly paint at night," she said. "Sometimes I get so involved in what I'm doing I lose track of time and I have to set an alarm clock so I get some sleep."
Olsen said she paints her subjects from imagination, or what she calls "brain pictures," where color and form come from memory and creative dreams.
Her style, which continues to evolve, is somewhat impressionistic, but "defies pigeon-holing," according to the artist. It's not hard to feel the enthusiasm Olsen has for her art as one views her paintings. There is a sense of vibrancy and spontaneity throughout the works in her collection.
"I don't consider myself a serious artist -- I have way too much fun with my work," Olsen said. "The discipline I strive for is not so much in doing the work, but in finding a way to be able to do the art and live in the real world at the same time."
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