Why painting?

A photographer friend of mine asked me recently why I picked painting as my medium. Simply put, because I love it so! What do I love about painting? To quote a line from Almost Famous (one of my favorite movies): "To begin with, everything."

I put together a short list to explain this admittedly somewhat irrational love:

I posted this image on Instagram and asked what people saw in this paint (kind of like looking at clouds). Answers ranged from dolphin to jaguar. What do you see?

COLOR MIXING
It can take me longer to mix the perfect color than to actually use it sometimes, and I love every minute of it.  There's something supremely satisfying about mixing the most beautiful hues, just so.  It's a tactile sensation - especially when the paint is fresh and buttery; a visual thing - creating lush, vivid colors or muted, somber shadows; and a mental puzzle - figuring out which colors to combine to make a specific color, and how that color will change depending on what it is placed next to on the canvas.  

BLENDING
Blending is so fun!  It's basically softening 2 colors or values together to create a third.  You can use it to soften lines together.  Most often I find myself with a dark and a light value, then I brush them together to create a medium value that serves as a transition, often between highlights and shadows.  This can create the illusion of roundness on a flat surface.  I'm still surprised sometimes at what a little blending can add to the painting's overall effect.  It really is the little things that make a big difference, and I love paying attention to the details. 

A few of my favorite tools.

CREATING BY HAND
We live in a digital age, and while I love my smart phone, computer and the internet as much as the next person, there's something special about creating by hand.  In part, it's the fact that this thing is unique - no one else could make it exactly the same because humans aren't robots.  I love having the ability to paint from life, but make adjustments as I see fit - changing the colors, textures, or values to suit the mood or emotion I am trying to evoke.  However, nowadays our digital tools are so good that you can do that digitally too, which is partly why this photographer friend posed the question to begin with - why painting?  

So there is another element: creating something by hand is physical - it uses your whole body and senses.  Even though painting is primarily about your eyes and hands, I also notice the smells - I love the smell of oils, but not of the mediums that go with them - and the tinkling sound as my brush hits the side of jar when I whisk it around in mineral spirits to clean it off.  I do try to avoid tasting my oil paints (although I've had some close calls!), as this could be fatal!

You get the idea - painting is both a physical activity and a mental puzzle, and I get immense pleasure out of these exercises.  What makes your chosen art form or creative outlet the "bees knees" for you?  I'd love to know - leave me a comment below!

 C. Rasmussen | detail from  Through  | 2016 | oil on canvas | 24 x 30 inches | $1295.

C. Rasmussen | detail from Through | 2016 | oil on canvas | 24 x 30 inches | $1295.

4th Annual Coaster Show

Tomorrow - be there or be square! Opening reception for the 4th Annual Coaster Show at La Luz de Jesus Gallery.

Click image to join Facebook event page

I'm excited to be a part of this highly-anticipated annual event featuring mini-paintings on 4-inch regular beer coasters (round or square) and priced at $250 or less.  Scroll down to view my 4 coaster paintings ($60 each) - click each image to view making-of timelapse videos.  Read full story of how the Coaster show originated here (scroll down past featured artist Mark Todd).

  C. Rasmussen |  Breaking Through  |   2016 | $60 | Oil on 4-inch coaster |  Click image  to view making-of timelapse video

C. Rasmussen | Breaking Through | 2016 | $60 | Oil on 4-inch coaster | Click image to view making-of timelapse video

  C. Rasmussen |  Gushing Forth  |   2016 | $60 | Oil on 4-inch coaster |  Click image  to view making-of timelapse video

C. Rasmussen | Gushing Forth | 2016 | $60 | Oil on 4-inch coaster | Click image to view making-of timelapse video

  C. Rasmussen |  Grabbing Hold  |   2016 | $60 | Oil on 4-inch coaster |  Click image  to view making-of timelapse video

C. Rasmussen | Grabbing Hold | 2016 | $60 | Oil on 4-inch coaster | Click image to view making-of timelapse video

  C. Rasmussen |  Grabbing Hold  |   2016 | $60 | Oil on 4-inch coaster |  Click image  to view making-of timelapse video

C. Rasmussen | Grabbing Hold | 2016 | $60 | Oil on 4-inch coaster | Click image to view making-of timelapse video

Gratitude for "Solidarity" Exhibit

Wow. Wonderful show at Lamperouge Gallery yesterday!

 Christine Rasmussen in front of her paintings at "Solidarity" opening reception, Aug. 21, 2016. Photo credit: Eleonor Doctora Villena.

Christine Rasmussen in front of her paintings at "Solidarity" opening reception, Aug. 21, 2016. Photo credit: Eleonor Doctora Villena.

So pleased to be a part of it, and surprised (in a good way!) to get a whole wall to display 6 of my new paintings. Feeling incredibly grateful to everyone who was able to make it out, and all the kind comments about my work since. 

 Artwork by: Ann Phong (top left), Lore Eckelberry (top right), Tracey Weiss (bottom right), Peggy Sivert (bottom left). Photo credit: Christine Rasmussen. 

Artwork by: Ann Phong (top left), Lore Eckelberry (top right), Tracey Weiss (bottom right), Peggy Sivert (bottom left). Photo credit: Christine Rasmussen. 

The show was a big success due to the amazing artists involved - the fabulous Michael Frietas Wood curated the show, and he along with Beanie Kaman, Peggy Sivert, Ben Zask, Gilles d'Amecourt, Kristan Marvell & Tracey Weiss did an excellent job installing the exhibit.  The show was balanced and created a flow through the beautiful converted industrial venue.  Not an easy feat when you are trying to give equal weight to 15 artists with many color palettes, subject matter and both sculptural and 2D elements!  

Like many of the viewers, I only wish this magical and poignant show could have continued for more than one day. View more photos on the Facebook event page

 Artwork by: Michael Freitas Wood (top), Won Sil Kim (bottom left), Ben Zask (bottom middle), Nicholette Kominos & Da Aie Park (bottom right). Photo credit: Christine Rasmussen

Artwork by: Michael Freitas Wood (top), Won Sil Kim (bottom left), Ben Zask (bottom middle), Nicholette Kominos & Da Aie Park (bottom right). Photo credit: Christine Rasmussen

Invitation to "Solidarity" a pop-up group show

I'm happy to invite you to see a couple of my new paintings, alongside 14 other talented artists, in Solidarity: a pop-up group show.


DESCRIPTION
"This group of artists is a reflection of the great diversity that makes up this city...the exhibition encompasses the energy of Los Angeles, demonstrating a shared harmony and unity - a working dialog of acceptance - that comes from all its communities."

FACEBOOK EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/610606342450717/

Lamperouge Gallery is located in the Brewery Art Complex. 
Directions & Map: http://www.lamperouge.org/about/

 

 

June @ The Hive

Do you believe in second chances? If you missed the show last month, you have another chance to come see my paintings (& meet me!) at The Hive Gallery & Studios this month. I'll be present for the event nights:

  • June 4, 8-11PM, Opening Reception
  • June 9, 6-11PM, DTLA Art Walk

Trust me, original paintings are ALWAYS better in real life, so if you're in the area, stop by!

Regular gallery hours are Wed-Sat, 1-6PM. 729 S. Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014. 

TONIGHT: Live Painting @ DTLA Art Walk

 Photo by Adi Marie from March DTLA Art Walk. 

Photo by Adi Marie from March DTLA Art Walk. 

It's that time again - 2nd Thursday of the month is DTLA Art Walk. I'll be live painting in front of the Hive Gallery from 7-11PM. 

I also have 21 paintings on display inside the gallery (in the fur-lined room all the way at the back). 

Hive Gallery & Studios
729 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90014

New Exhibit Up @ Hive Gallery

I'm pleased as punch, as they say. This month I'm renting a wall space at the Hive Gallery & Studios, so instead of craning one's neck up to see work displayed on the banister of my studio, you can now view it at eye-level. 

My display at Hive Gallery, April 9-30. 

I'm showcasing one piece from my She Was Just A Dream series, and 20 paintings from my Windows series - click on the link to read more about my 50|50 project. 

The show will be up April 9-30, with events on:

  • April 9 for The Hive's 11-year Anniversary Show (8-11PM) and
  • April 14 for DTLA Art Walk (1-11PM). 

Regular gallery hours are Wed-Sat, 1-6PM. 

"What's that?" you ask. The wall is covered in faux-fur from the last occupant. This place is quite an experience! Come check it out. 

Limiting Beliefs to Liberating Actions

Ever get that feeling that you're the only one holding yourself back?

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I do. More so in the last couple of weeks due to what I've been told are "limiting beliefs." Luckily, in recognizing that I have these, I can change them!

For example, my complaint that my studio is too small. Well, guess what? I decided that I'm lucky to have a studio at all, so I brought in a shelf, rearranged, and ta-da! My space is much more functional now, and as a result, I am now working on 4 paintings simultaneously! Changing my attitude, and the space, have allowed my creative juices to get flowing again.

Even more unexpected - this allowed me to finally do something about this painting I've been secretly loathing for months. I've been stashing it away in the corner and using it as a reminder of my failures when I'm feeling particularly vindictive towards myself. The other day I decided that this monster in the corner is doing me no good, so I went ahead and painted over it! Now I'm starting something new on this lovely yellow background. Phew! So liberating!

Have a limiting belief or monster in the corner? What are you going to do about it? 
 

Trials and Triumphs of Live Painting

Last night I had a table set up in front of the Hive Gallery, selling prints and painting as part of DTLA Art Walk. I rarely paint in front of other people, and I have to admit I was a little nervous about the whole endeavor. 

 My set-up in front of Hive Gallery for DTLA Art Walk on 3/10/16. 

My set-up in front of Hive Gallery for DTLA Art Walk on 3/10/16. 

The first time I painted live at an event was in 2008, and it was a disaster! I was one of 3 featured artists at the grand opening of my friend's t-shirt printing store, and I had no idea what I was doing. I've blocked out some of the memories from that night, but what I recall is this: 

  • I was seated on the floor with my canvas propped up by the wall, trying not to get accidentally kicked by onlookers as it was both crowded and pretty dark in there.
  • I chose to paint in acrylics to avoid making too much of a mess, even though at the time I had really only painted with oils, and didn't know any tricks to help with drying time and blending, etc. 
  • This was back in college when I was on a bit of an abstract kick, and contrary to popular belief, abstract painting is actually VERY difficult to do WELL

By the end of the night, I had a hopelessly half-finished, HORRIBLE painting, and I felt awful. It was such a terrifying experience that I vowed never to do it again.

Fast forward to 2016. You know that saying, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again"? Well, I finally overcame my fears, and decided to do just that - with amazing results! 

 Click image to view in-progress video. 

Click image to view in-progress video. 

I had fun painting this little number over the course of 3 hours (stopping often to chat with people) AND I'm pleased with how it turned out:).  I know that I did things better this time: 

  • I had a proper setup behind a table with a light; 
  • I didn't try to go too big - working on a 6x6inch panel; 
  • I used my trusted oil paints; 
  • AND I used a source photo - very important since with all the interruptions I had a reference to keep me on track.

Untitled (suggestions?), oil on wood panel, 6x6inches. Sold. 

Most importantly of all, I was way more CONFIDENT this time. I think that's because I have more experience now and I have my own style. Also, my 50|50 project from last summer really taught me a lot, and showed me that I could indeed finish a painting in one sitting. 

Now that I'm over the fear and doubt, I foresee more live painting in my future!

How Malala Inspired My Painting

What do I have in common with Nobel Peace Prize winner & advocate Malala Yousafzai? We were both born in Pakistan and we both care about girls' education (albeit, she has risked her life for this cause).
 

 Malala Yousufzai, Nobel Peace prize winner

Malala Yousufzai, Nobel Peace prize winner

That's where the commonality ends, but I absolutely admire this daring young woman who is changing the world. I encourage you to check her work out: www.malala.org. It is  Women's History Month after all!

My admiration led me to create this painting:

Malala is the youngest recipient and first Pakistani to win the Nobel Peace Prize, hence the title "Nobel Laureate." What a wonderful icon for young girls (and not so young, like myself!) to look up to; she really has raised awareness by bravely speaking up. 

I show the interior of a Pakistani classroom, but with the clothes in Malala's signature pink (rather than the traditional blue & white school uniforms). The view out the window is from a photo I took in one of my favorite places, the Hunza Valley, close to the same region where Malala grew up. 

New Work: "Peeping Tom"

One of the perks of having a studio at The Hive Gallery is that I get to participate in their monthly group shows. This month I'm putting a piece in the "Erotica"-themed show (mature audiences only). Mine is a playful take on the subject, using body-less clothing as I'm wont to do. 

C. Rasmussen, Peeping Tom, 2016 | $193 | 12"x9" | Oil on wood panel. 

Show opens February 6 (8-11PM) and is up through Feb. 27 (gallery hours Wed-Sat 1-6PM or by appointment). 

Click link to view a short video on Instagram of me painting the cloth.

Work in Progress: First Painting of 2016

It's already more than halfway through January, and I'm still writing "2015" and having to correct myself, sigh. None-the-less, here's a behind-the-scenes peak at my first piece of the new year - 2016, that is.  To get me warmed up, I started by fulfilling a commission request from someone who liked my Windows series, but wanted a painting from their own travel photos; in this case from a trip to Spain. 

 C.Rasmussen.  Room with a View, Spain. 2016 . Oil & acrylic on canvas. 6x6inches.

C.Rasmussen. Room with a View, Spain. 2016. Oil & acrylic on canvas. 6x6inches.

So how did I go about painting this scene? I started off on a canvas that I had already painted a dark gray color with some texture in acrylics.  Then I taped off the edges with the basic archway shape so that I could paint the landscape view, in oils. 

Next,  I added the archway itself, painting over part of the landscape to make the illusion of looking through more complete (photo is shiny because paint is wet). 

I waited for the greenery in the bottom of the painting to dry before beginning to paint the bannister on top of it. 

Finally, I added the cross-hatching on the bannister and some highlights on the archway. And that's how you make a small painting. 

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Reflections One Year On

One year ago last Thursday, I had my opening reception for my Flawless show at Los Gatos Beauty Bar. 

 Postcard I designed for the event.  Left:   Cinderella (  prints available ).  Right:   Hula (  prints available ). 

Postcard I designed for the event. Left: Cinderella (prints available). Right: Hula (prints available). 

It was quite the party! I brewed some beer and had a raffle with prizes ranging from limited edition prints to hair supplies. Friends and fans hung out to check out the 17 new paintings on display. 

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That was a watershed moment for me. It kicked off this amazing year of being a full-time artist. I've made myself a list to remind myself of how far I've come in a year - from finishing 80 paintings to participating in 16 shows, including being selected for the 50|50 Show at Sanchez Art Center - but suffice it to say that I am so thankful for all the people I've met and all of the opportunities that have come out of taking the leap to pursuing a career I love. I'm having a blast!

Who would have guessed that an art show at a hair salon could yield so much? 

  Left:   All Out of Bubble Gum  ( original available ).  Middle:   Bookworm  ( prints available ).  Right:   Maleficent  ( request prints ).

Left: All Out of Bubble Gum (original available). Middle: Bookworm (prints available). Right: Maleficent (request prints).