G’day viewers, my name’s Graeme Stevenson, and I’d like to invite you to come on a journey of creativity and learning and adventure through the series Colour In Your Life. There’s an artist in every family throughout the world. Lots of times there’s an artist deep down inside all of us as well. So grab your kids, your brothers, your sisters, your aunties, uncles and mums and dads and come and see how some of the best artists do what they do. (music playing) (Graeme) Well, hi folks and welcome back to Colour In Your Life. Well we are in Lennox Head today, which is a little seaside town in northern New South Wales, and we are in the studio of a very talented lady, Christine Read. (Christine) Nice to see you, Graeme. (Graeme) Thank you very much for being on the show. (Graeme) Now Christine actually was a physician for forty-one years, and obviously was in the time period had an absolute hankering to want to be an artist as well. So after forty-one years you just said: that’s it, I going to be an artist. Tell me a little bit about that decision you made? (Christine) Well I always had a bit of a split personality, in that at school I did art and science – (Graeme) Aha. (Christine) loved both. I did my medicine, and then as I was getting towards the end of my career which I was very happy with, (Graeme) Yes. (Christine) I thought this is it. I’m going to make a bit of a change. We moved, I built a studio and I’ve done this transition which is absolutely thrilling to me, to be able to be an artist after all this time. (Graeme) That’s fantastic. And I can see a great influence of Margaret Olley (Christine) Yes. (Graeme) in a lot the pieces that you do, and the one that we’re going to do today, is that as well. And you’ve travelled extensively throughout the world. And you take people away (Christine) Yes, I do. (Graeme) on tours. (Christine) I do. (Graeme) Your whole life has changed from obviously writing prescriptions to writing airline tickets to go away with people, which is pretty cool. (Christine) Yes, indeed. Although I have to say even when I was travelling as a physician, (Graeme) Yeah. I did get to travel the world, (Graeme) Okay. (Christine) because I lectured in lots of different countries. And I was thrilled by all of the patterns and decorations and art that I saw there. (Graeme) That’s fantastic. Well we’re going to do a still life today. And very exciting, she’s a very talented woman. I’m going to step out of shot as we normally do, and I’ll let you take over. (Christine) Thank you, Graeme. (Graeme) Great stuff. (Graeme) All right, Christine, well I can see that you’ve made a bit of a start there. (Christine) Yes. (Graeme) Looks like you’ve put some Paynes Grey on the background, and then what have you used to actually sketch that in over the top? (Christine) Well because I’ve used a dark background for this particular piece, I’ve used chalk to draw it in. If it’s a lighter background I might use just paint to do them. (Graeme) And you’ve got your palette set out there. (Christine) Yes, so what I’ve got here, because I’m going to be doing this brass bowl. I have favourites if you like. This, the Golden – this is one of my go-to paints Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold. It’s a nice transparent paint, and it mixes really well with the Cadmium Yellow Medium, and white, and a bit of Cadmium Red Medium (Graeme) Okay. (Christine) which I use on the brush pretty much all together, because I like that free flowing, impressionistic style. So I got a bit of Cadmium Yellow Medium and white here. A tiny bit of that just to, I just kind of have a go and see how it turns out. And then as time goes on I’ll change what I’m doing, so that it sort of works. But as you can see I’m very kind of slap-dash painter, (Graeme) Yeah. (Christine) but it works for me. And I like to get this bit done before I really start on the foliage, (Graeme) Yes. (Christine) and I’m using the Dioxazine Purple in my shadows and to give it definition. Some of my students tell me that I really love purple to death. Anyway, not to death I don’t think, just to life – gives it lots of life. (Graeme) Well there is a lot of purple in your work. (Christine) Yes, yes there’s a lot of purple. You’ll see quite a lot of red too. Like you you tell me that you enjoy red. (Graeme) Yes. (Christine) I like red as well. (Graeme) Well you’ve got one piece called Flowering Red, (Christine) Yes, I know (Graeme) which is that one. (Graeme) which is a great piece. And obviously you’re a fan of Margaret Olley’s and there is a…you can see the influence of Margaret in that particular type of work too. (Christine) Yes, I do enjoy Margaret’s work. (Graeme) It’s a really impressionistic, decorative, patterned style, would you say? (Christine) I’d say so. I’ve always been, I’ve been a fan of pattern all my life and decoration. I travel quiet a lot to places like India, and Vietnam, and Columbia and I always enjoyed the colours, and the patterning that I see there, and I guess I bring it home with me. It’s become part of my DNA over time. I’m going to start to work on the foliage. I’m going to use some Chromium Green Oxide, and some Prussian Blue that I’ve popped on here. So I’m just going to chuck in some leaves, and I like the effect that I get with a mixture of colours on the brush. This particular brush that I’m using at the moment is a Neef flat stiff synthetic number four. (Graeme) Okay. (Christine) And I really like that length there, (Graeme) Yeah. (Christine) and the movement of the bristles is great. (Graeme) So in being a physician, was there a sense of frustration for you? I mean obviously you were a doctor for forty-one years, was art sitting in the back of your mind at all? (Christine) I never completely stopped. (Graeme) Yeah. (Christine) I was always in to art, and as I said when I travelled, I took the opportunity to see as much as I could of the art of the region. (Graeme) Yes. (Christine) And sometimes there was a bit of frustration. For a while I attended classes and a wonderful lady in Mossman, called Robbie Hodges at Focussed Arts, and I really enjoyed that. But of course when my medical career got very busy, it was hard for me to do that. (Graeme) These days you’re a teacher yourself of art; you have weekly art classes. (Christine) I do. I have every Wednesday I have a drop in class in Lennox Head, our little town here. (Graeme) Yes. (Christine) And I have quite a few students, some of whom have done very well. I’m very proud of their achievements. (Graeme) That’s great. (Christine) I also have a Saturday class which is on once a month, and it’s a… for that I use a themed idea. So the last one I did was on travel sketching. And travel sketching is something that I love to do when I’m, when I’m out and about, and I do travel still quite a lot. And in fact I do take people on trips. (Graeme) Fantastic. (Christine) Mostly I go to France because I speak enough French to get us out of trouble. But I’ve also done some of these trips to England, and taken people down to Cornwall, which was great fun. And mostly of course it’s France and here, and in the local region I run these groups. (Graeme) Well, it’s really a very artistic family that you’re involved in; your husband’s very creative as well. (Christine) Yes, he is. He makes and mends surfboards, and he’s very good himself at putting colour and line. He doesn’t decorate them in a representational way, but I think he’s pretty good with the abstract idea. (Graeme) Does he still surf. (Christine) Oh, yes. He’s a veteran surfer, my man. (Graeme) Some of your florals I think are absolutely beautiful. You’ve got another piece called Flowering, and the colours in them are just so striking. (Christine) That’s very kind of you to say those very nice things, Graeme. Sometimes it’s funny being an artist, because you know, you are sitting in a studio a lot of the time on your own, and it means that you don’t get a lot of feedback. So actually having some feedback is very nice. Right, so what I’m going to do now is I’m going to wash, wipe off some of the chalk that I’ve got on this canvas, because it’s kind of a bit in my way. And it’s a useful guide but I don’t really need it anymore. This is one of the beauty of acrylics of course, they dry fairly quickly and you can play with it. So I’ve got a nice bright clean canvas, and I’ve got a piece of chalk here, because I’ve decided it needs more, so I’m going to put in a little bit of a landscape. I often do that. I call these my fantasy still life. So I’m going to draw in a little bit of a hill into the background, (Graeme) Aha. (Christine) and I’m going to imagine that there’s a bit of a river here. I mentioned that I like decorative style of painting, and the Japanese are very good at putting a bit of landscape or a bit of a river in. And the other thing that I think is that there’s a it’s a bit boring in here, and I often use birds, and I have a little collection of birds that I have drawn and cut out. and I’m just going to pop a bird on here with a bit of blu tack – useful stuff blu tack. And you can move it around you see, you can say, where would I like this bird? So I’m going to just pop him there. I’m going to maybe just pop in a bit of purple; the old favourite purple, perhaps with a little bit of, touch of white. And I’m just going to fill in a bit of the background, so just make it into a bit of a fantasy still life, fairly roughly to start with. (Graeme) Yeah, I think your florals and your still life’s are just beautiful; they really are. You’ve got one piece called Autumn Colours as well. (Christine) Ah, yes. (Graeme) That’s a beautiful piece too. Now another thing that you do as well is you take people overseas. I mean as you just said, you speak French, and you do trips with people to Provence as well. (Christine) Yes. (Graeme) Which is a beautiful place. I’ve been there a few times myself, and there’s some other exotic, wonderful locations where people paint which is just great. (Christine) Yes, and when we go to museums. We usually spend about three or four days in Paris before we go on our next part of the journey. Next year I’ll be going to Brittany, to a town called Vannes, in Brittany. They’ve become very popular trips. (Graeme) I bet. So if somebody wants to talk to you about either your work, or traveling to some of these wonderful location. What is your website address, Christine? (Christine) Website is Christine Read art dot com, and Read is r, e, a, d. So Christine Read art dot com. There’s a lot of information on my website about the trips that I do cause I blog them. So you’ll see over the last few years there’s blogs from Provence, from Paris, from… Last year we went to tour in the Loire Valley, and I also went to Belle IIe after the trip, and which is where Monet, and John Russel the Australian painted. So very close to my heart being where the Australian painters were. So I’m just going to use my trusty chalk again, and I’m just going to draw the outline of where I think it might work. And then (Graeme) Aha. (Christine) so this is a cheat really, you know. I don’t mind cheating a little bit. And so there I’ve got a rough idea of where the bird is (Graeme) Yeah. (Christine) and so now I can pop a bit of paint on that. So I’m bringing in a bit of, a bit more blue. I’m using some Prussian Blue and white as a mixture here to liven things up a little bit. So this will look very bright to start with but I’ll dull it down. I just want to get the idea of where this little bird is. (Graeme) The more you go along I can see the influence of Margaret Olley, (Christine) Can you? (Graeme) but also been influenced by people like William Robinson. (Christine) Oh, I love William Robinson’s work. I love the way he thinks about it. You know, that sort of… he’s got quite a deep spiritual connection, (Graeme) Yes. (Christine) and it really comes through. So I tell all my students that I think it’s really important they go and look at other artists work, and that they get ideas and come home with them. So that they’ve got you know, just think about it from perhaps a different angle, a different view point. (Graeme) Yes, and you can spend a lifetime doing it, that’s he thing. It’s… (Christine) Oh, well it’s such a pleasure to do to art galleries, it’s such a pleasure to see other artists work. And you know, you’ve got fantastic podcasts these days, and you know Instagram is wonderful. And this awesome Colour In Your Life show that you can see the artists working, as we are right now. (Graeme) Give that lady a lollipop. Now another beautiful still life that you’ve got here, I really love your still life’s but, Geraniums and Pears, (Christine) Ah, yes. (Graeme) which is a great piece too. (Christine) Yes, well I think like a lot of Artists, I mean Monet was great at this, but like a lot of artists I get a lot of inspiration from my own garden. Sadly because we live in drought at the moment, my garden is a mess. But I still can go around and find something that’s in flower, and geraniums, the red geraniums in my garden really they make me happy. They kind of come to life and they’ll liven up a painting. I enjoy putting fruit in to my work as well. It’s part of flora, I guess. (Graeme) Yes, they’re very beautiful. (Christine) And Australian natives and I have a banksia tree right outside my studio here, and I have heliconia’s and I have interesting… I’m now growing succulents all over the place because it’s so dry. (Graeme) And you’ve got some other images here from your trips overseas to Europe. That you take people and do painting tours which is really, really very cool, and you’ve got a sketch that you’ve done of Montparnasse. (Christine) Yes, Montparnasse. So I call them French art and culture tours. So that I’m actually trying to give people a little bit of culture, French culture as well as art. We do look at a lot of art that’s available to see, and I give people a visual diary, to travel with, and encourage them while they’re on the journey to paint and draw. And what I do are pen and wash sketches. (Graeme) And also pictures like Notre Dame after the Fire, which you obviously been there quite recently then if that’s the case. (Christine) Yes, the fire was in April. We were there in early June. There was that grand old church with its scaffolding and looking a little sad. But you know, it’s an interesting picture to have those cranes nest to it. I usually have a little exhibition of my sketches when I return and sell them. (Graeme) But you do, do a number of landscapes as well. There’s one you’ve got called A Quiet Place. (Christine) I love to document the places that I’ve been to that give me a feeling for a place. As I say to my students, a painting or a sketch is worth in many ways a lot more than a photograph, cause with a photograph you just take it and it’s done. And then do you look at it again? Well sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t. But if you actually do a painting or a drawing of a place, it’s got memories for you. You actually remember where you were. You remember the weather that was happening at the time, whether it was raining or not. You remember the sounds. I try to put that into my landscapes. I try to put that feeling that I have at the time into my landscape as well. (Graeme) Yeah, you’ve actually got a picture called Bush Sounds. (Christine) I know exactly where that was. My mother used to when she was alive, she lived at the last part of her life in a beautiful place that looked onto a bush reserve. And I used to go down there and that was one of the places that I, that I painted when I stayed with her. So now I’m getting to a point in this painting were I don’t want the chalk any more. So I’m going to rub it out. And I don’t know exactly where it’s going to go at this point in time, but I’ve got enough information that I can work with. And stand back from it and have a look at it, and think, well you know, it’s okay but it needs more detail at this point. So I’m going to use a bit of a finer brush, and I’m going to kind of put in a bit more detail. I’m just using a bit of Prussian Blue and a bit of purple. And I’m just going to sort of tidy up some of these leaves. So I’m not a realist painter, but I like to get you know, a bit of an idea that there’s something real happening. Maybe I’ll pop in a little bit of a, a little bit of a shadow there, and I often use my fingers to sort of smudge things out a bit, just because I don’t want them to look too obviously designed. And that helps to give it a bit more, just a bit more depth. (Graeme) Aha. (Christine) I actually prefer the immediacy of just fairly rough impressionistic style brushwork. (Graeme) Yeah, you’ve got another piece called Still Life Noir, which is… (Christine) Yes, so that one’s like a lit like this one with a very dark background. If I’ve got a stalk or something that I really want to be thin. I’ll sometimes paint back in like I am here to give it a finer look. So I’m just using the same colour as I have in the background to just clean that up a bit. (Graeme) Aha. (Christine) I think people get a bit anxious about the fact that they feel that they’ve got to make everything perfect first off. (Graeme) Yes. (Christine) Well, I don’t suffer from that syndrome. So I couldn’t, I wouldn’t get any paintings finished if I suffered from that syndrome. (Graeme) Also as I said before, you’ve got some great landscape pictures as well, and Paperbarks is a beautiful piece. The colours in that are just extraordinary. (Christine) They’re at the bottom of my street those paperbarks. (Graeme) Yeah, they look great. And also Lennox Sunrise, and that’s a piece that really has got a lot to do with you living in the area as well, and being involved with the Lennox Art Collective also.(Christine) Yes, the Lennox Arts Collective is my home, my family really. They are a group of artists, eight of us. There’s a jeweller, a photographer, a ceramicist, a person who makes wooden spoons, and a solo graphics, and painters. And we have a way of looking after a gallery in the main street where we are on a roaster, and we all look after it. It’s a great shop, a great place to buy art, and we also run workshops. So I have a workshop on Wednesdays which is a drop in workshop, so you can come in from nine-thirty to twelve-thirty and paint with me, and I’ll help you to improve. And also I will I run workshops on Saturdays, so we have a lot of fun, and you know, I have a lot of people who come and discover their inner creative self. People who have been somehow looking for something, and then they also meet another group of people who are interested in the same things so. (Graeme) And it really is a beautiful area Lennox Head. It’s just glorious. I mean our show crosses the world these days, so if anybody wants to get on a plane and come to Australia, Lennox Head’s a good place to go to. (Christine) It is indeed. (Graeme) And we’ve had a great day with you as well, Christine. It’s been wonderful to talk to you. A physician that’s decided to get in touch with her creative side which is fantastic. (Christine) Thank you, it’s been absolutely delightful. (Graeme) All right guys, another fantastic day here at Lennox Head. Christine, thanks so much for having us in your studio. It’s been absolutely fantastic. (Christine) It’s been a pleasure. (Graeme) Now you do these great workshops overseas as well. In France and you obviously do a lot of stuff in Lennox Head. Lennox is a really beautiful place, so if you wanted to come and here on a bucket list, I suggest people do that. (Christine) Yes, indeed. (Graeme) But what’s your website address, so people can come and see you? (Christine) Christine Read art dot com. (Graeme) That’s excellent. And go in and have a look at Christine’s work. She’s fantastic. If you want to purchase some, that’s wonderful as well. Come and see us at colour in your life dot com dot au, as always. And sign up on our YouTube channel as a subscriber; push the little bell so that we can notify you. We’ve got tonnes of people in there and everybody’s really loving what we do. And we love what you do as well. It’s just been amazing. (Christine) Thank you. (Graeme) And we always say as we head off again – remember guys: make sure you put some colour in your life, and we will see you next time. Bye now. (Christine) Bye.