The Extremely Talented Artist – Christine Webb

July 1, 2014 in Arts & Travel

Elise Hawthorne
Words nearly fail me when I view Australian artist Christine Webb’s paintings – why isn’t she world famous I wonder – maybe she is and I’ve been living under a rock, I certainly think she should be. I recently put a few questions to this very gifted artist;

Your art is influenced by your environment and to me light is your muse – would you agree and if so why is it so?

I live a nomadic life, moving between Italy and Australia each year and where ever I set up my paints I am ready to go. I like serenity and comfort when I paint and quickly get frustrated painting outdoors so the interior is my landscape.

Shadows and the play of light through windows, glass bottles, and reflections are the poetry of seeing- Light describes objects, gives them their weight. I remember seeing Giotto’s frescoes of Saint Francis in Assisi. Giotto had made a huge breakthrough from his master Cimabue in his ability to give form and it heralded the beginning of the Rennaissance, but there was Saint Francis slightly floating in his space. He lacked a shadow which would have grounded him. I remember marveling at Henry Moore’s drawings and how the sculptor gave great weight to the shrouded figures huddling in the wartime bomb shelters. More recently the NSW Art Gallery bought The breakfast Table 1958 by John Brack, a delightful play of light.

CHRISTINE WEBB Five Blues-Lucadendron  CHRISTINE WEBB Stefanos Roses

You say, “colour, tone and composition are the pillars of my work, overtaking subject in importance”. Can you elaborate?

No matter what you paint the composition carries everything else. I like to get that right from the beginning. Then it’s the colour, warm and cool, dark and light values, neutral and chroma that make the play that intrigues the viewer.

ChristineWebb Lawrence House With Iggy

Your favourite medium is acrylic paint – do you paint every day and why did you settle on acrylics?

When I first started at art school I had been doing a lot of darkroom photography and had developed allergies to certain chemicals. I immediately reacted to turps and I painted with acrylics ever since. It proved an advantage painting in the middle of the home on the dining room table as I often do.

Christine WEBB Mount Irvine house and Gypsy

What other artists have influenced you and why?

I am lucky to have studied art history from an early age and with extensive travel seen many works first hand. The list is endless and very eclectic. The big names Caravaggio, Matisse, Velazquez, Goya, Manet, Van Gogh… All the boys but also closer to home Margaret Preston, Grace Cossington-Smith and the wonderful Elizabeth Cummings.

Christine Webb Elvis Wants a Walk

When/where will you be showing next and can you give us a hint at its theme?

I have been invited to exhibit in a group show of works on Paper at Stanley Street Gallery in Darlinghurst, open til 5th July. Later in the year opening 2nd October, I will be having a solo exhibition at Art2Muse, Double Bay in Sydney.

CHRISTINE WEBB Sorrento Memories III

Describe the art of 12 year old Christine. Did your childhood influence the artist you became?

Much of my early childhood was in Adelaide and my Aunt Nancy Coulson also lived with us. She was an art teacher and would allow me to paint, sculpt, print, play with the most remarkable materials. I was never afraid of painting, I just did it. At 12 we had moved to Sydney and I still drew and experimented with making jewellery, copper enameling and eventually photography from the age of 16. I have worked over a massive range of different creative pursuits that is a continuation of childhood. Also my nomadic life and the ability to call anywhere home influences me.