Hello there, and thank you for taking time to explore my website! As you have most likely gathered, my name is Christina Keith. Like most of us, I wear several figurative hats. (Real ones usually don't fit, because of my big hair.) I am a painter, potter, high school art teacher, and part-time chicken wrangler. My shop-teacher husband Austin and I live and work outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota in Prior Lake. If I’m not painting in my spare time, I love to run, swim, cross-country ski, and play the piano.
Continue reading to take a look into the process and ideas behind my work, check out the studios of four other talented artists, and enter to win a creative prize! (Details at the bottom of my post.)
(From left to right: a little rooster gets his "15 minutes of fame" as a portrait model, Austin and I at the Lanesboro Arts Festival this summer, and baby Cosmo surrounded by art.)
I quickly came up with the business name “Christina Keith Studios” two years ago as I was frantically trying to apply to an art event with the deadline less than an hour away. In my mind, it sounded better than “Christina Keith’s Garage/Living Room/Classroom/Dining Room Table”, all of which have fallen victim to my creative mess. This spring, Austin and I began construction on a studio space for both of us to be able to work on what we love to make. (I hope he falls in love with the idea of building me a bunch of custom frames!) I can’t wait to have a designated place to create, display my work, and teach. I hope to begin teaching adult painting and pottery classes Summer 2019 – stay tuned, Minnesotans!
(In process photos, and a peaceful yet unpleasant reminder of what our property will look like in a few short months - yikes!)
My "Day Job" (That I Don't Want to Quit)!:
I have wanted to be an art teacher as long as I can remember, and have little to no clue what I would be doing if I weren’t teaching. Art was always the class that I couldn’t wait to attend and never wanted to leave. I found self-confidence in learning to express my ideas visually and developing technical skill. Now, I love facilitating students’ exploration of the artistic process and rediscovering with them the indispensable roles that art can play in our lives. My favorite aspect of teaching is that it has allowed me to build relationships with extraordinary colleagues, community members, and young people. The public, interpersonal nature of art education challenges me to consistently rethink my relationship with art and further develop my own style. Over the last two years, I am grateful to have found time, space, and a supportive artistic community to delve into my own studio practice.
(From left to right: Painted student portraits in partnership with "The Memory Project", Some wonderful AP Design students on their last day of school)
"Behind the Scenes" of My Paintings:
During the first few years at my job, my personal artmaking consisted of creating visual examples and demos for my courses, and not much else. I began to learn Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator in preparation to take on our department’s digital art courses. As I explored digital art, I became excited about how it could potentially change my painting process. I started developing digital “mockups” of my paintings within Photoshop, and created multilayered ideas that challenged my existing works’ sense of depth.
The biggest “ah hah!” moment came when I was testing out mixed media techniques to demonstrate to my classes. (No one wants to “go in cold” and mess up in front of 35 seventeen-year-olds, or anyone for that matter.) I skeptically researched gel medium transfer methods and decided to give them a try. From the first time I attempted a gel transfer, I was hooked! Immediately, I began to think about how I could incorporate this often isolated process into my layered work. I mainly work in acrylics, as this process requires a plastic polymer base, but sometimes finish the pieces with oil pastel or oil paint. Since this discovery, image transfers have been a definitive aspect of my paintings and help me visually convey my ideas.
A longstanding, recurring theme within my work is the relationship that exists between physical location and memory, and how both of these concepts shape our understandings, experiences, and who we are. Within my paintings, I pair landscape images with regionally-specific maps, documents, and objects to illustrate the reflective, multifaceted, and oftentimes personal sense of place. Recently, I have included painted houses within my landscapes as a straightforward symbol of memory and personal identity.
(Several examples of recent paintings - you can find more in the "paintings" tab of my website)
While much of my work represents my own place-based recollections, I often collaborate with clients to symbolize their own noteworthy locations and related memories. I love how my commission-based work has allowed me to get to know others’ stories and form relationships all over the country and the world. I am grateful for the collaboration and support I have found on Instagram from collectors, artists, and appreciators, and can’t wait to see what the future holds.
I currently sell work through my website (www.christinakeithstudios.com/shop) and at art festivals and fairs. To learn more about commissioning a custom piece, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or take a look at www.christinakeithstudios.com/commissions or www.christinakeithstudios.com/rates-and-recommendations to learn more about the process. For artistic updates, you can follow me on Instagram (@christina_keith_studios), or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChristinaKeithStudios/.
Like most artists, the list of things I am inspired by is nearly endless! Here’s a small sampling list of some of my favorites:
A friend recently posted a list of "things Minnesotans like" on Facebook. The list was:
- Other Minnesotans
- Things with Minnesota on them
While my personal list is in fact much longer, I do enjoy The North Country's tree-lined lakes, metropolitan skylines, and rolling green farmland. I love to showcase the natural beauty I see around me within my paintings. Many of my pieces include local imagery, wildlife, and landmarks.
I am drawn to maps (topographical, astrological, old, new - I don't discriminate!) because they are both useful and beautiful. I love the detail I find on old maps, and how the written text pairs with both the geometric and organic line work. Maps provide a geographical context for my painted imagery. They can symbolize the idea of home, travel, or change, and can be interpreted or read by the viewer. (Ironically, I never listened well when we learned to read maps in elementary school, so I have some catching up to do.)
I can't get enough of Wyeth's straight-up, autobiographical approach to painting. I am drawn in by his bold use of values and contrast, and captivated by the textural detail he achieved in his work. When I look into his American scenes, I feel a sense of weathered strength and a little bit of loneliness. I love the narrative capabilities of his landscapes, and how I get lost thinking about the lives of his buildings' inhabitants.
This guy can paint ANYTHING. Abstract? No problem. Hyper-realistic portraits? Sure! The piece below, titled Neuschwanstein Castle, is one of my all-time favorites. I love semi-realistic, yet detailed style of this piece. I can't get enough of the saturated background colors and I definitely want to swim in the lake. I wouldn't say that I've seen a TON of castles in my life, but the ones that I have seen are massive, sturdy structures. This painting plays with scale and makes something gigantic appear miniature and delicate. Like Wyeth's work, the manmade structure starkly contrasts with the dark background, catching the viewer's eye and coming forward in space. There's tension between the castle and its surroundings, like it almost doesn't belong. Whenever I look at this piece, I can't get enough of its quiet, isolated nature.
Real Estate Open Houses/Blogs/Programs/Etc.:
I think it is fitting to share that I just took a break from writing to walk through an open house down the street! Even though I plan to stay put where I'm at, I've always been interested in the interior and exterior design of homes, and how people modify them to fit their personalities and needs. Over the past several years, Austin and I have worked on fixing up two houses, and I've learned so much throughout the process. (Our first house could have made the list of the image below - it was such a piece of work, but cheap!) This image is from one of my favorite Instagram accounts, @cheapoldhouses, which is a division of a much more lavish @circahouses. I think I'm somewhat addicted to voyeuristically looking through the listing photos of these homes from around the country!
And, saving the best for last ...
My Talented Summer Studio Tour Partners!
If you haven't already, please please PLEASE check out these amazingly creative and gifted women! On their sites, you'll find one-of-a-kind, beautiful paintings and learn more about their studios and art making processes. If you visit all five of us on the studio tour, you'll be eligible to win one of five AWESOME artistic prize packages, curated by us! (More details below.)
1. Subscribe to my mailing list (this will be how we notify you if you win!)
2. For an extra entry, follow me on Instagram.
3. Visit each Artists' studio tour linked below and repeat steps 1-3!
(Shipping for prize package is limited to the U.S. only.)
Thank you for participating in our studio tour - we are excited to share our work with you, and happy that, unlike physical studio tours, you can participate no matter what the weather may look like outside! Our giveaway closes on August 22nd and we will notify the winner on August 24th.