MYA April Featured Artist – Christine Obers

Our April Featured Artist is Christine Obers!

“My primary medium is soft pastel, also called dry pastel. I like its simplicity and immediacy. Pastel sticks are pure pigment with a binder. The colors remain true over hundreds of years. Eighteenth-century pastel portraits look as fresh and alive as if painted today. I love this sense of timelessness. With my pastels, I can hold a fleeting moment in time and preserve it.”

In her previous life as senior art director, Christine Obers had many opportunities to explore her creativity in a multi-faceted way while working for major corporations such as Chevron, Macy’s, Domino’s Pizza, Royal Robbins, and E&J Gallo Winery. Her art has won numerous international awards and has been featured in major art publications; Southwest Art and Pastel Journal. Her art is in private collections across the US and Canada. Working on commissioned artwork now fills her hours.

Learn more about Christine and her work from our interview with her:

1.Tell us about one of the first pieces you created

“Fog Lifting in the Redwoods” is a very large pastel piece I created almost 10 years ago. I worked on it on and off for a year. At the time I had no idea and few aspirations of being a serious fine artist. On a whim I entered it in the Pastel Journal’s Best 100 Competition (an international pastel competition with thousands of entries). It won first place! It literally changed my life.

2. What artist(s) or works have influenced the way you work now?

For a long time I have been drawn to the work of Brian Cobble. He paints humble locations and makes them look beautiful. There is a sense of humility, peace and acceptance for what is.

I also love the work of Andrew Wyeth and Alex Colville. Both of these artists have a wonderful haunting quality to their work that I find extremely appealing.

In my work I strive to take a simple subject to the next level. To honor the subject’s innate beauty without losing its character. I want there to be meaning, a story, a message for the viewer to make on their own.

3. What other professions have you worked in? 

I worked in the graphic design and advertising business for nearly 45 years. My work in advertising has really influenced my art. From newspaper ads to TV commercials I see a parallel between what makes a great advertisement and what makes great art. For example, a good ad is easily understood at a glance. It can tell a story without words. It is compelling and elicits an emotional response that prompts an action. The challenge always is to create a visual that is aesthetically very appealing.

4. What did you want to be when you were young?

When I was young, I wanted to be a scientist. I loved studying bugs, collecting animal skulls and fossils. I had an interest in geology, archeology, paleontology, microbiology and just about anything that had to do with discovering things. To this day I love to read the latest research on a variety of scientific topics.

5. What inspired you to create these pieces? 

I love animals, horses in particular. When I wasn’t able to own a horse, living in the city, I would draw horses. I drew horse’s eyes, lips, nostrils, ears etc. over and over again. While in school I would draw the teachers and students during class. This was my first experience with life drawing. Drawing is at the core of my art.

6. Is there a city or place, real or imagined, that influences your art?

It’s hard to name a single place. Inspiration is everywhere, whether it’s a busy restaurant or a quiet hillside. My trip to Florence to see the work of the Renaissance masters made a huge impression on me. Mariposa is beautiful. I feel inspired looking out my windows, walking out my door and driving to town.

7. Is there any specific music that aids you through the artistic process? 

Usually when I work on portraits I work in silence. It’s a meditation where I tune everything out. I fall into a deep and focused concentration. It feels wonderful.

8. Do you have any rituals or traditions that you do in order to create? 

Hmmm…I can’t think of anything except I like to block off several hours at a time without distractions.

9. Who typically gets the first look at your work?

My husband, Jeremy. He follows my work in progress. I send him texts. He doesn’t see the piece until it’s finished. Jeremy is so wonderfully supportive. Even when I’m not entirely happy with how a piece is turning out, he always says it looks great.

10. What are you working on currently?  

I have several ongoing projects:

  • I just finished putting together a collection of whimsical/conceptual works that will be on display in The Alley through the month of April. The collection spans decades and chronicles my personal growth, discoveries, epiphanies, and struggles. While many of the pieces reflect my personal journey, they are certainly experiences shared by others. In this way my art serves as a bridge that connects on a very personal level. All the art on display is available for purchase. The public is invited to the artist reception April 4th, 5-7pm. Enjoy boutique wine, craft beer, appetizers. The Alley, 5027 CA-140, Mariposa, CA 95338, (209) 742-4848
  • From now till May 26th I have two works of art on display at “The  Fine Art of Pastel”, Carnegie Arts Center, Turlock, CA. 250 N Broadway, Turlock, CA 95380, (209) 632-5761
  • From April 11th- 13th I will be teaching a three-day workshop, Pet Portraiture in Pastels at A Sense of Place Gallery in Fresno.
  • On May 18th I’ll be teaching a hands-on workshop at the Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock; A Day of Exploring the Pastel Medium. For more information go to:
  • In the meantime, I am currently working on a portrait commission of a very cute dog by the name of Augie. The work in progress will be included in my monthly newsletter.

Below is a sampling of Christine’s work:

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You can also follow Christine on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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