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Christine Fontenot is a native of colorful Colorado. Growing up in Denver, she has always loved bright colors. As a toddler, she would separate her hair barrettes into groups by color. Her artistic gift was discovered and encouraged by her parents at an early age. She began taking private art lessons with local artist Sally Bartalot at the age of seven, where she was introduced to the ‘basics’ of design and composition. A childhood full of value studies, color mixing and perspective exercises, drawing and painting from life became the foundation for her lifelong love of art. Having a thirst for artistic knowledge and a passion for color, she studied with Bartalot for eleven years. In 2004, she came to the Art Students League of Denver, where she has continued her artistic development, studying with various professional artists.
I think color is what makes things exciting, beautiful, and memorable. If we saw the world in greyscale it would quickly become boring and emotionless. I want to explore the beauty of Color, one subject at a time, while continuing to improve as a painter. Presently, I see my paintings of single roses, Ginger flowers, and others as ‘floral portraits,’ aiming to showcase the specific colors, curls and petal edges of one specific flower in one specific moment. There’s an individuality with flowers growing in nature; we know they vary in color, but even roses on the same rosebush differ in petal shape, and the way the petals open and curl. I think this mirrors humanity, in that we are all alike in so many ways, yet our differences make us interesting.
My paintings are “all about the colors,” from beginning to end. It’s the strong attraction – when I see something, the color draws me in and I just know—I have to paint it. The rest is simply putting my thoughts down in paint. My journey from the first brushstroke to the signature is one of true enjoyment. I find the act of painting itself to be both extremely exhilarating and deeply relaxing. At first, I am so excited to get going! There’s this rush of energy as I begin the painting. As I work, I feel everything around me just fade away, as if only my eyes and my hand exist. Then to step back at the end of a session and see the progress, to see the colors developing…it’s my second wind and I just want to keep going and going.
My pastels convey the serenity of movement through dance. Taking a more impressionistic approach, I aim to create express the vibrancy and energy of the figures. Color dominates the composition, as I capture the positive and negative spaces created by the dancers. Every stroke of the pastel is used to convey the flow of the dance almost like ‘watching it in slow motion.’