Featured Artist: Kate Christensen
"I remember the first time I saw something achingly beautiful. My heart swelling and expanding. A feeling of longing, of joy, of sadness. A realization came, that this beautiful earth was reminding me of another home I had forgotten. We all have a longing for home at some point and in some way during our lifetime. The pieces in this collection are either memories of places that feel like home to me or times when I felt close to heaven." -Kate Christensen
A few weeks ago, our shop was in an upheaval of construction. We were building out new walls and making a few changes to our little shop. Things were a bit chaotic when Kate walked in to deliver her paintings. As each work of art was brought in, a sense of peace slowed the chaos of the construction. I felt both both a sense of reverence and giddiness as we discovered each piece from this incredible collection. Each one felt familiar, as though I could look at each of the pastel pieces and conjure up the place in my mind. Wallsburg, Thunder Mountain, Manti, La Sal, Provo Canyon.
The pure pigment pastels create the incredible earth-toned landscapes that take you somewhere peaceful. Nor is it merely the paintings that radiate peace, but they are imbued with the peace of the artist herself. Kate is one of those people you want to be friends with. She is kind, relatable, and has an undeniably artistic eye. Kate grew up in Provo, Utah. Her life as a mother to three keeps her busy, but she finds time to be inspired by the landscapes around her, depicting them in pastels and oil paints. We are eager to share her work with you and hope you find the same sense of home we feel.
Artist Q & A
Do you have a process for creating ideas or getting into a creative mindset?
I find my best inspiration outside. Which is probably pretty obvious in my art. I sometimes pray for inspiration and ability, but I have to say the thing that works the very best is sitting down at my desk in the studio and starting something.
What brought you to painting?
I have always wanted to be an artist, even if it was just a hobby, I knew I would always want to be creating in some way. Art and creation have been a part of who I am from the time I could hold a pencil or brush. I have often felt that painting and landscape painting in particular are in my blood.
What obstacles have you had to overcome to become the painter you are?
I think that every artist has to fight their inner critic. I also feel like I had to overcome some baggage I brought with me from studying art at university. There was great pressure to have a deep meaning and purpose behind each piece and I got a bit of push back for wanting to simply recreate the beauty I saw around me. I’ve since found meaning in what I do but that didn’t come until recently. These feelings of pressure kept me from being a regular disciple of art for a very long time (that and young motherhood!). My turning point happened a couple of years back when we lived in Seattle. We were visiting our friends at their parents house on Bainbridge Island, a very beautiful house in a beautiful setting, the walls of the house were filled with the most beautiful landscape paintings one of which was painted by my great-great-grandfather! It immediately made me feel at ease in their home. I thought then “I can paint landscapes, they have value, they make me happy and I don’t need to have any other reason.”
What do you believe the role of art is in the home?
I believe that art in the home not only beautifies the space but can also tell a story. I love when a collector has a reason behind why they have a particular piece, whether that reason is where they acquired it, who they bought it with or for, the feeling they have when they look at it, what it reminds them of, who painted it etc. Art in the home can show what a person values, what they find beautiful.
What paintings have been the most personally moving to you?
The Botticelli paintings in Florence brought tears to my eyes. I would love to see Monet’s Water Lily paintings in person. I also remember walking through an exhibit of the Impressionists that filled me to the brim with a desire to paint. The Brian Kershisnik of the birth of Jesus with all the angels I could look at for hours. There have been so many pieces that have moved me, inspired me.
What paintings do you remember from your family home?
The art changed a lot growing up as my parents both brought pieces home. There is a painting of some pine trees by my great-great-grand father John H. Stansfield that I have always loved the most because it has always been there. It still is in fact!
What paintings do you have currently in your home?
We are working on our own collection! We have a landscape painted by my husband’s father Doc Christensen, a Robyn Clonts mini skyscape, two etchings I bought in Mexico, a Paige Anderson print (someday we’ll get an original), and a Carl Bloch print of Christ with a Child (that I bought while I worked in the Art Department of the BYU Store). I have a few of my own paintings that I just can’t part with also.
Click here to see all of Kate Christensen's work: Kate Christensen Collection