Whilst I was in the US recently on a painting retreat with Whitney Freya I was extremely fortunate to spend time painting with an amazingly talented artist Christine Pensa, and I am very proud to say she has accepted my invite to be the first ever creative to appear on my blog “Creatives Living Life in Colours”.
Christine Pensa of Art That Moves is a visual artist who joyfully runs her successful Om for your home line of printed textiles and original illustrations from her studio in Toronto Canada. Her heart centred art is available onlineShop and in several retail outlets.
Christine is also a passionate “field guide” (she doesn’t like to use the word teacher) sharing art and creativity classes with children and adults. She enjoys mural making with elementary school kids – as well as – creative art classes with adults. Christine invites participants of all ages to meet their own artist within and embrace their creative heART with right brain opening exercises and joy-filled art explorations
What was your journey to becoming an artist?
I loved doodling and illustration as a kid and continued into my early teen years. I proudly displayed a sketch I did of Starsky (my hirsute crush from the t.v. show Starsky and Hutch.) I don’t remember getting any positive or negative feedback, but I think that was because being an artist was something other people did. Not my family. I took the standard and safe path to a university degree in history and political science. I worked for a time as a political assistant (insert yuck! here).
When my kids were born I realized I really hated what I was doing so I began my winding road back to art. I began creating around raising two kids and being the wife of a busy lawyer. It wasn’t fast and often not easy, but it was my salvation.
I began painting children’s furniture to start because frankly it seemed safer than working on canvas. After a few years I took the leap to canvas and participated in many gallery shows. Something was missing though. The gallery “scene” was not how I wanted to express myself. My inspiration was heroines like Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe and Emily Carr who painted their souls onto the canvas. Deep, raw, gorgeous, celebratory painting – that’s how I was creating and that’s what I wanted to explore.
I’ve always been inspired by folk art and that love led me to study and become a printmaker. Over the last several years I have created a line of inspirational textiles – and returned to my childhood love of illustration in my Art That Moves shop. This past year I was accepted to participate in one of the largest Arts & Crafts shows in this area – the Christmas One of a Kind Show. Over 125,000 visitors come to the show and I was thrilled to meet so many people who were moved by my art.
I also continue to paint and have been deepening my exploration and understanding of Shamanic painting. I plan to do a Solo show in Toronto in early 2016 consisting entirely of my new Shamanic paintings.
What inspires you to create?
I can’t imagine a day without creating. It’s my joy and my salvation and why I get up in the morning.
What do you love about being an artist?
One of the sayings on my inspirational tea towels is mine and it reads, “Sing your beautiful note – it’s why you’re here.” I know each of us is here to sing our note and I know mine is sung most beautifully when I make art. How can I not love that?!
What essential mistakes have you learned from along the way?
Ha!I have so many mistakes and yet how would I trade any for where I am now. I love life. I think the best lesson is not to dwell in something that has “gone wrong.” Take a moment and ask what lesson it’s bringing you – then fix it or release it.
What is your favourite piece of equipment and why?
I guess my current love is a silkscreen. I screen print by hand inspirational sayings and quotes onto fabric for my Om for your Home line of home goods on Etsy. Each time I run the ink across the screen and pull it up a new image is revealed – each is different in texture, in colour and in energy – depending on where I’m working indoors or outdoors – what mood I’m in – what music I’m listening to. I often say hello as I reveal the print because it seems a new friend has sprung into being each time.
Do you have any tips for new creatives?
Create, practice with mediums you love, create some more, practice with mediums that scare you, create some more. Rest. Repeat.
What is one thing about you which you think would surprise people?
I do not watch, listen to or read any news during the week. I do read the Toronto Globe and Mail and the New York Sunday Times on the weekend. Lately I’m thinking of giving that up too.
Round of applause!……
Thank you Christine for taking the time to give us some insight into your practice and your journey, and for inspiring other creatives to give it a go and keep on trying. I love your work and your fabric design and can’t wait to see what you produce next!
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