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Featured Artists

Eric Christensen

 

Eric Christensen began painting professionally back in 1992. Since that time Christensen has enjoyed amazing success and a growing reputation as a celebrated Napa Valley Artist. Self-taught, he developed a watercolor technique that allows him to create images of vibrant color and near photo-like quality, quite by accident. Christensen now finds himself unique in his field.

Christensen began to develop his interest in painting, as well as botany, classical music, and gourmet cooking as a child in Salt Lake City, Utah. Over time he has acquired a commanding knowledge in each of these areas which has blended to make him the preeminent artist of today. In addition to his interests, Christensen also derives inspiration from his home furnishings and his extensive gardens, both of which are invariably portrayed in his paintings.

Once he realized that he could turn his passion for painting into a career, Christensen opened his own Art Gallery in Yountville, California, a small picturesque town in the heart of the Napa Valley. Christensen’s gallery was very successful but he decided to close it in 2003 to devote his full attention to painting. He continues to paint images that bring to mind the Napa Valley lifestyle and offering his extraordinary artwork in galleries throughout the US.

Christensen’s paintings appeal to a wide range of artistic tastes. His wine art for example might contain wine crates, wine bottles, or a mechanical cork puller, as well as something softer like a bouquet of roses or a bowl of fresh vegetables.

Christensen’s unique approach to painting water color images bends the traditional concept of how a watercolor painting should look. By painting on Museum Board and using a higher concentration of Gum Arabic, Christensen starts out with thin washes then builds meticulously to over 30 subsequent layers of paint. You can actually see the buildup of the paint layers when you look closely at his originals. Christensen’s technique allows him to achieve much stronger colors and shadows than can be found with traditional watercolor art; its actually more like painting with oil on a canvas.

Christensen achieves his lifelike near photo-quality images through his dedication to capturing an image as it truly exists. His genius for understanding the technical aspects of his subjects and his love of natural materials particularly flowers, fruits and vegetables combine to make this possible. He possesses the stunning ability to paint the subtleties of light traveling through a flower petal or its reflection off a wine glass.

Composition is one more factor that sets Christensen’s paintings apart. Each painting is a study in the balance between texture, height and shape. For Christensen, the placement of items in his paintings must all make sense and be representative of a scene found in real life. A scene you might find in a kitchen, a wine cellar, in the garden, or on the lawn. Whatever the composition to be painted it must portray authenticity.

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