Christina Hall Strauss

My artwork explores the rhythms, tensions and harmonies of the natural world, reflecting my sensory perception of patterns, energies, atmospheres and relationships. I invite the viewer to experience with me the interplay of color and movement, form and texture in my interpretations of nature.  I work with the idea of above and below/ seen and unseen/ in my paintings. My multiple layering I create my rendition of this feeling. 

 I was born in Tucson, Arizona, and have lived in Santa Fe since the mid-1970s.  The Southwestern landscape permeates my awareness of color and shape.  The cycling of the New Mexico seasons, flights of birds, native flora, the Río Grande and other rivers and arroyos, continually visit my paintings.  Travel intensifies my appreciation of the many forms and feelings in the world of nature. Repeated visits to Brittany/France have also inspired new ideas and allowed the rocks, coastal sand and patterns of the sea to become part of my work.   Various Asian aesthetics in crafts and painting continue to be a great influence.

 My chosen medium is acrylic on canvas.  I work with negative space by adding and subtracting shapes while building the surface to create an overall glow.

I start with a tightly stretched canvas that has been gessoed four times.

I start the painting by building the surface of the piece.  While I am working of other pieces I paint the blank canvas with left over paint.  This step is often applied in an expressionist manner.   Some of these areas penetrate the surface as staining.

When I feel that the painting has the right amount of work I then apply three coats of heavy gel in an even, thin coat.  This evens the surface and coats all the areas.

I then start editing and selecting areas, mostly working in negative space.  This step starts the process of “bringing back” the paint with brushes and then with flat, plastic scrapers.  As the negative space areas deepen I continue to edit and select. Often I apply new coats of gel to keep the surface even and allow some of the stained areas to remain.  Throughout all the processes I am altering and adjusting color, shape and relationships.

The work is about the natural world, color and all forms of energy that surround us.

It requires many layers of paint applied in thin coats to achieve the surface that I desire. This surface is necessary to achieve the essence of the paintings and the statement that I wish to convey.


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