Interview with Artist, Christy Sverre

Have you ever pushed a tube of paint through your fingers, feeling the squishy texture of the paint as you apply it directly on the canvas? I have and totally find that feeling completely therapeutic – as does Christy. The one thing that strikes me about Christy is her aquatic themed pieces. They just make me want to take a deep breath and imagine being in front of an ocean or a sea.  There is just something profound about being near the water – and Christy has captured that essence with such a devout passion.

If you’d like more info on Christy please follow her via social media on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

What is your earliest painting memory?

Painting the cover of my grade 2 report card. The feel of paint on my hands was the clincher as it was a finger painting. I chose blue which is still my favourite colour today!  I attached a pic of it.  My maiden name is Fonseca
Do you remember the first piece you ever painted? 

While I cannot remember my first piece I ever painted, I do remember an aha moment when I figured out abstraction.  It was during drawing class and we were outdoors. I drew a Volkswagen in reduced down shapes and was hooked. It was my first abstract.

Do you make your own canvas?

I don\’t make my own canvases.  I used to during art school of course but I\’m not very good at it. So, I buy pre-made ones and resurface them with more gesso or texture paste, etc.  They work well for me.

I see you enjoy painting aquatic themed pieces; what is the inspiration behind them?

My inspiration over the last year has come from what I see out my studio window.  I am fortunate to live on the sea and own a sailboat, so my work always includes the sea and sky. The ocean is my happy place.  I tried living in the prairies once, but I didn\’t thrive there and missed the ocean terribly. I paint The Gap a lot. It is an opening between two landforms leading into the Strait of Georgia where we sail the Gulf Islands.  It has come to represent: escape, travel, longing for discovery, and state of mind. Every time we pass through the gap on our boat we are transported into another world. It is a portal of sorts. I think we all have something that does that for us. The Gap does it for me. It is my muse, if you will. Moreover, when I am out sailing I do a lot of sketches and work on ideas that reflect the joy found in boating/sailing.  Bright and more graphic these acknowledge my fun side and I have great fun painting them.

How do you feel every time you have to set your pictures for an Art Show?

When I prepare my art for show I am so excited. I love sharing my work and seeing the body of work together is powerful. The artwork gets freshly painted sides, wires attached for hanging and a coat of varnish or touch up. 

Do you feel there are limitations within painting and creating?

Limitations? I feel limitations only come from one\’s own lack of knowledge. As I learn new things I can apply them, and doors open.  So, I don\’t feel limitations per se, just growth. I feel that I express my feelings best through painting and creating. It\’s my way of communication I guess, as poetry is yours.

As an Painter/Artist, where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself growing strongly in my practice.  In five years I see myself as an accomplished artist whose work is collected. (it\’s already happening but I sense it will be even better)

Do you have favourite brushes that you repeatedly use?

I have a few favourite brushes.  One has hardly any bristles left so leaves wonderful scratchy marks.  Another favourite isn\’t a brush but rather a stick I found on the beach. It\’s breaking up too which offers even more interesting marks. Another brush has long feathery hairs which gives lovely uncontrolled lines. And a chopstick and wooden screwer play a role in my art too.

Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new project?

My ritual before I head to the studio is making a delicious cup of coffee first.  I love the smell and ritual of that. Then I get the music going with my playlist which grows daily. Music is important to me as I see it as a cousin of painting.  The creative processes are similar. Notes versus strokes. Same but different.  I sometimes listen to podcasts interviewing musicians and am always amazed at how I understand their process.  So similar.

We all have an inner critic; how do you contend with yours?

I have learned to slap my inner critic around. I don\’t pay attention to it very long and am good at ignoring it from years of experience.  I think as I get older I get less concerned with what people think. When I was younger I was sensitive to it. But one good thing about getting older is that you could care less what people think (finally) and get on with what you are here to do.

If you had a superpower what would it be?

If I had a superpower I would be able to breathe underwater and fly at supersonic speed, so I could visit all the world\’s oceans.  First stop would be Tahiti where I have sailed and loved the water there. Oh, there are so many places. But I am content to sit here in my studio and look out to sea and sail our boat \”Take Five\” (named after Dave Brubeck\’s song which I learned to love as a child – my dad played jazz all day while he practiced architecture in his office next to my bedroom).

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