Christina was born in Germany, where she developed her artistic talent through extensive art education throughout her schooling. After graduating from high school, she moved to Washington, where she studied art at Western Washington University, graduating magna cum laude with a degree in studio arts and a concentration in graphic design in 1994. Afterwards, she worked as a graphic artist and art director while also studying alternative healing arts. After her sister’s death in 2000, she travelled extensively in Asia and the Middle East, and worked as a Holistic Health Practitioner for several years, before returning to her passion of creating art. Christina now lives and works in San Diego, California.
Art has always been important in my life from the first time I picked up a crayon at the age of three. But it has been through the difficult and transformative experience of healing from cancer that art has taken on a special meaning in my own healing process. Creating art is what sustains my heart and soul. It allows me to live fully engaged in the moment, and in creative flow with the universe. When I paint, I don’t have to think about what the future holds or how long I may or may not live. When I paint, I can leave my fears and my hopes on the canvas, and express emotions that can be difficult to explain in words.
- February 2015 – The Studio Door, Ray Street, San Diego
- Juried International Group Show – The Crow Show : “Mystical Messenger”, acrylic, 18″x18″
- October 2014 – January 2015 – Art on 30th, San Diego
- Group show : “Free Bird”, “Desert Bloom”, “Keeper of the Worlds”
- August 2014 – Art Walk NTC @ Liberty Station, San Diego
- Shared Booth with Ray Street Artists
- December 2012 – January 2013 – San Diego Art Department, Ray Street, San Diego
- Featured Artist: “A Murder of Crows” – A collection of 12 paintings depicting the mystical presence of crows in flight.
- October 2012 – December 2012 – Glimpse, Ray Street, San Diego
- Group show: “Breakthrough”, acrylic, 12″x12″
- July 2012 – September 2012 – Glimpse, Ray Street, San Diego
- Group show : “Spirit Bird”, acrylic, 16″x20″
- December 2011 – October 2012 – San Diego Art Department, Ray Street, San Diego
- Various pieces displayed in monthly shows
Why I Paint
When I was 3 years old my parents sent me to live with my aunt. She lived near the ocean and the sea air was supposed to be healing for my chronic bronchitis. It was just for the summer, but at 3 years old, that’s a long time!
It was 1974 and the street lined with brick row homes was devoid of life. I tried to make friends with anybody I could find – the mail man, the old lady next door, the neighborhood cats – but all my outings were met with strong opposition by my aunt, a stout and strict woman in her early 50s.
After days of watching me listlessly wander around the house aunt Martha took me upstairs. She pulled down the wooden staircase to the attic and had me climb up. The room was dim – only a small skylight allowed me to see a small table behind a wooden railing at the end of the room. She walked to a shelf with dusty boxes. Carefully, she pulled them out and let me open them.
There were colored crayons, markers, watercolors and brushes. I found scissors, glue and papers in all the colors of the rainbow. It was like Christmas! Immediately, I dropped onto one of the little chairs and started drawing.
That summer I learned about the power of art, and painted away the loneliness and the boredom I was feeling. Long before I had words to describe the healing aspects of art, I was soothing myself. I was 500 miles away from my mother, but when I was painting I was ok.
Art and Healing
The healing power of art has been recognized throughout history, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that it was accepted into medical practice. The term ‘art therapy’ was coined in 1942 by British artist Adrian Hill while recovering in a sanatorium from tuberculosis. Since then, art therapy has been accepted as a mental health profession similar in nature to family or marriage counseling.
The purpose of art therapy is essentially healing. Studies have shown that it can be successfully used with clients that have physical, mental or emotional problems, as well as diseases or disorders. It has helped clients with memory loss, traumatic brain injury, depression, dealing with chronic illness, and aging, just to name a few.
While faced with traumatic experiences or illness many people search for healing and/or an escape from their conditions. Art can be such a method, lessening the emotional effects caused by difficult life circumstances.
Decades after that little 3-year old’s instinctual therapeutic use of art, I found a lump in my breast. Even before the diagnosis I knew what the result was going to be. Without fully understanding the consequences of the disease and the treatment, I knew my life would never be the same. But most of all I knew that while I had shelved my artistic endeavors for work, I once again had to paint.
When I paint now, I don’t have to think about what the future holds or how long I may or may not live. When I paint now, I seek to express myself in a visual depth that allows my healing process to take place and inspire others.
My creative process usually starts with a feeling, a vision or a thought. In my visual journal, I write frequently and out of that process I distill subjects that I want to express. Some of those original words find themselves on the page, others are covered up in the creative process. The colors, shapes and images layer to create a final piece of artwork that attempts to evoke those initial feelings and thoughts in the interaction with the viewer.
Here are some pages from my journal: