"Meet Your Artist" - by Tricia Swenson
Vail Daily dated 01/06/2024
Meet Your Artist: Christine Sena
Get to know your Vail Valley artists
The Vail Daily is showcasing area artists in a series called “Meet Your Artist” so you can learn more about those who create and what inspires them. If you are an area artist and would like to be featured in the series, email Tricia Swenson (email@example.com).
Q: How long have you lived in the valley and what brought you here?
A: I have lived here for 20 plus years. I was living in Northern Virginia and had just retired and was finishing up a graduate degree when my daughter, who was living out here, suggested I give living here a try.
Q: Where did your passion for art come from?
A: My mother was an artist and as a child I attended classes at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. My aunt lived on Cape Ann, north of Boston, and we would visit her and go to the beaches and also visit art galleries in Rockport, Rocky Neck and Gloucester, Massachusetts. A number of famous artists including Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper painted the scenery on Cape Ann.
Q: Describe your style of art?
A: Well, I’m pretty much all over the place. I think the choice of medium defines what I am working on. I started out as a landscape architect with the U.S. Forest Service in California using graphite pencil and pen and ink to make plans, illustrations and maps. Later, after moving through many various careers, I decided to take up watercolors because I thought the materials were the least expensive. I took weekend workshops and after about ten years I felt comfortable with the medium. Most of my watercolors are landscapes. I moved on to oils, pastels and some printmaking. I think my style of art leans more toward realism versus abstract.
Q. Who are your favorite artists?
A. Too many to mention but include John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, Richard Estes, Wayne Thiebaud, Chuck Close, Berthe Morisot, Lauren Harris (and the Canadian Group of Seven).
Q. Tell us about one of your favorite pieces that you’ve worked on.
A. A few years ago, my brother’s neighbor gave him a photo of my dad sitting at the counter at Dunkin’ Donuts with his buddies. I decided to paint this small piece and went on to paint a series of images from my hometown. This led to an exhibit at the newly opened library where I and a longtime friend displayed over 30 images from our hometown.
Q. Who has helped you along the way?
A. My mother was very encouraging and I miss her insight. She would always want to know what I was working on. I think you learn something new from every class and workshop. Most of all, I think you learn by observing other artists and discussing art with fellow artists, which is one of the main advantages of being a part of the Vail Valley Art Guild.
Q. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing?
A. I used to love taking photos with my old Canon AE1 camera. I had it repaired numerous times, then switched to one of the first Canon digital cameras. My cameras became smaller and now my only camera is my iPhone. Most of my paintings are from photographs I have taken. There is a personal connection to place and activity that I feel is important in a painting.
Q. What do you hope people take away from your work?
A. First off, I hope they enjoy what they are seeing. There is no deep meaning in my work, just a sense of place and a little bit of humor at times. I paint scenes that I find interesting with, hopefully, a great composition. I finished a small series of people in art museums which included a guy on his cell phone and woman asleep in front of an impressionist painting. A few years ago I attended an exhibit at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, which was displaying works from the Musee d’Orsay. The place was crowded and I felt like I was at a large boisterous cocktail party. It was fun and lively and I think maybe this is how art exhibits should be viewed.
Q. Where is your work shown (a local gallery) or how/where can people view it?
A. Right now I have a few paintings at the Vail Valley Art Guild Gallery in Eagle and at the Charter in Beaver Creek. Throughout the year, I have shown works at the libraries and at the yearly Colorado Mountain College and Vail Valley Art Guild Fine Arts Exhibit.
Q. Anything else we should have asked, anything else you would like to share?
A. Thank you for the opportunity to highlight the local art scene. We have many talented artists and photographers in the valley, and this goes a long way in highlighting what we do.