Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I am looking forward to 2008. And my wish is to stay centered and float gently along towards January, which, in the last few years, has become a quiet creative time spent in the studio. How I love that! It is especially welcome after the extreme extroversion of doing many shows leading up to and during the holidays. I have quite a few pieces that are already begun, and had been set aside when I had to concentrate on doing all the finish work: getting slides and scans done, framing originals, having prints made, making the small versions (cards, magnets, etc.) and then the actual show preparations of updating the mailing list, planning the announcements and all of that. In fact, I still have an original painting from late summer that I never did get framed for the previous shows. I'll have it at my Open House---tentatively planned for sometime in February.
I like having something that's already in progress to work on when I start back into the studio after doing other things. Somehow it seems easier to get going than starting a piece from scratch, unless I have one of those burning desire ideas that's screaming to come out & practically paints itself!
Alyson has a lovely process which she talks about in her Art Biz Coach.com newsletter---she is taking time on this Thursday morning to go over, list & CELEBRATE her accomplishments of the past year, and has invited others to join in. She offers a list of questions and guidelines to help you formulate your list. I am going to join in on this process--it seems to be a very positive and useful practice!
So here's a toast to all my artist friends--acknowledge your past year's progress, and may you be abundantly creative and prosperous in 2008!
Image: "Floating" original gouache on paper (sold) Giclee prints available

Sunday, December 16, 2007


The last month has just been overwhelming. I did the KPFA Crafts & Music Fair last weekend (Dec. 8 & 9).The prelude would have made a great "I Love Lucy" episode. I tweaked my back as I was loading the truck to go set up---had to buy a back brace, take lots of ibuprofen & apply trameel to the affected area. While I was loading up, my purse got knocked over & my wallet fell on the floor & the phone rang, all at the same time. In taking the phone call, I forgot about the wallet. I grabbed my purse & ran out the door. I had $10 in a changepurse (which got me across the bridge), but I forgot that I also had to pay for parking when I got there. I had to park illegally, run in & find someone I knew (Jane Kiskaddon, my angel of the day) who could lend me enough money for the parking. Then I also had problems unloading & setting up, because of my back. But Gabriele, who was also across from me at the Celebration of Craftswomen, helped me out. Another angel! Once the show started, I did very well, & was able to physically make it through without too much trouble. Thanks to my artist friends!

This weekend was also a little goofy. I hung a show at the Starbucks on Chestnut St. in SF on Saturday. (Images above) Friday night I was getting organized & framing a couple of prints to take, when the power went out. It was out for about an hour & then I was able to continue. I didn't get much sleep, as I was supposed to be there at 5:30 AM, when they opened. I am not so good in the wee hours. I forgot a couple of things, and it took me a long time to hang the show, since I had to use molding hooks & fishing line (ARG!!! What a nightmare!) To make a long story short, I had to make 2 trips into the city to complete the hanging (with a nap in between!) It was an all day affair. But I got it finished & Terrisa, the manager, is such a delightful and positive person---she is a wonder! It looks good (although not perfectly hung) but people seemed to be reacting positively to it. So---onward & upward! By the way, I have 6 originals and 8 prints in this exhibit, which will be on view until Jan. 14.

And, in that same vein.......I have some exciting news that I will share in an upcoming post............stay tuned.

Monday, December 3, 2007


I participated in the second weekend of the Celebration of Craftswomen again this year. I had a good show---saw lots of familiar faces: returning customers, fellow artists, and met some new people, too! Had a great time talking with everyone and I am exhausted. I have to prepare for next weekend, but I thought I would share a few photos for those of you who couldn't be there.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Well, I had a very successful Open Studio event! The newspaper blurb certainly didn't hurt. There was a steady stream of people Fri & Sat--Sun was a bit slower. The number of people was almost overwhelming at times. Being downtown, plus excellent weather made for lots of visitors.

I had such lovely comments on my work.........even people who stopped in briefly "just to look" said how my images moved them. It was very gratifying to hear that my work affected people so deeply.

I had wanted to do a "virtual studio tour" here with pictures that I took, but they didn't turn out as well as I had hoped. It was already dark when I took them & the lights in the studio reflect into the glass on some of the frames. So I decided to just post one or two. I didn't have time to fool around with it as I had to break down the show into working studio mode and get ready for the show for this weekend! The car is almost all packed--set up is tomorrow & I'll be heading out at 6:30 AM. Onward & upward!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


I read about the "Pay it Forward" game on Tracy Helgeson's blog. Unfortunately, I was too late to be a recipient of one of her paintings. (I am a fan of her work) However, I followed the thread and found Mary Ann--who is one of the lucky ones to get a creation of Tracy's----and, lo & behold---I was in time to sign up on Mary Ann's blog. (As of the time of this posting, Mary Ann is still looking for her third person, so check it out!)
Here's the deal for "Pay it Forward"---
"I will send a handmade gift (it will probably be a small painting)to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise!(You will most likely get it in the beginning of 2008, considering my current schedule/state of overwhelm) The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog."
How fun! I think it will be a great way to bring in the new year & get me started on a whole new group of paintings!
Image: "White Pelican" Gouache on paper--original painting in private collection. Giclee prints available.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I am frantically preparing for the upcoming shows. (See sidebar) I feel like I haven't slept well in weeks & I am living & working amid the chaos of papers, boxes, artwork & everything else strewn around.

Several days ago I got an email from Tess Elliot, Managing Editor of the Point Reyes Light. She said, "I see that you will be part of the Celebration of Craftswomen event in San Francisco. We have a Celebrations section in the paper each week, and I thought it may be some nice free publicity as well as a nice way to be honored in the community to have your photo in there, with a paragraph about your work. If you're interested, just send a high-res photo, and a blurb about you... "

YIKES! I was already up to my ears. A couple of days went by & then I remembered--"I have to get something in to her & not let this opportunity pass by!

Of course, they wanted a people picture & I didn't have one--but I have my new digital camera (YAY!) & I thought--what the hell! Let's see what I can come up with. So I took a bunch of shots of me in front of a large painting--most of them looked like I should have a serial number on my chest, but I finally got one that looked acceptable. So I did a little blurb about the show & how long I have been doing it & what my work was, and emailed it in.

Here's my blurb:

"The Celebration of Craftswomen is celebrating its 29th year as the largest Women’s Fine Crafts Show in the US. Point Reyes painter Christine DeCamp has been participating in this event since 1991. Christine’s paintings are richly colored and intricately detailed visionary images that have roots in symbolism , mythology and storytelling. Our local West Marin landscape often serves as a backdrop to her tales. Christine will be at the Celebration of Craftswomen during the second weekend, which is Dec. 1 & 2 from 10 AM to 5PM. The show is held at Fort Mason in San Francisco.
Christine is also participating in Point Reyes Open Studios during Thanksgiving Weekend - Nov 23, 24 & 25 from 11AM -5PM and at the KPFA Crafts and Music Fair on Dec. 8 & 9 at the Concourse at 8th and Brannan in San Francisco"

Tess was kind enough to let me know that she had received it & was enthusiastic about the photo as well as the painting. So I am keeping my fingers crossed that it gets in next week's paper. Wish me luck!!!

Image: Photo of me in front of "Oxum, Queen of the Waters" acrylic and mixed media on canvas 40" x40" $4800.

Monday, November 12, 2007


A few days ago, Tammy mentioned on our class blog that with the darkness of the winter season, she needed to be thinking of the reemergence of spring and the return of the daffodils--so these are for her.

Today's topic for our Promote your Art class with Alyson Stanfield is a "Promotional Menu" worksheet with about 15 different areas to choose from, and spaces in which to put your goals and deadlines. Alyson recommended that we post it on our blog as a committment to our goals.

Here are my immediate plans, some of which I am already working on:

1. Update my website---I am in the middle of doing this right now and hope to update it about every 6 months.

2. Blog---- work on my blog--this is ongoing and I will be continuing it--I love doing it!

3.Open Studios--I already do Open Studios twice a year with our local Pt. Reyes group--will continue & see what I might do to make it better--how else can I promote myself as a part of it?

One thing I need to do is to get some pictures of me in my studio to add to our website---which I will do before the next Open Studios.

4.Mailing List---I have started putting my mailing list on a "real" program on my computer---I have all my new people on this list & in January when I have more time, I am going to work on transferring my old list to the new program.

5.Grant applications--I intend to apply for a grant with the Marin Arts Council in February. I need to talk to Lance Walker, who is the head of the grant program, and find out what I need to do to apply.

6.Gallery Representation---I have 2 galleries in mind that I intend to apply to--this has been on the back burner for about 8 or 9 months. Will work on this in January and also look for other possibilities.

My intention is to work on these projects and check back to this post sometime--perhaps in March, and see what I have accomplished and what else needs to be done. And then I will update my list & see what I would like to work on during the Spring season.

What's on your Promotional list?

Image: "Daffodils" Gouache on paper 18" x 26" framed $795.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


This blogging world is so interesting........I am amazed at the connections/similarities of paths taken/coincidences that appear. Andrea just visited my blog recently & when I looked at her work (she has lovely drawings and fiber arts), I saw some drawings for what she calls "Cocon Spirits" that look very much like some "Cocoon" paintings I have done. So I am posting them here for her enjoyment and yours as well.

Monday, November 5, 2007


There's less than 3 weeks before Point Reyes Open Studios--and so much left to do (nevermind cleaning the studio!) This time of year unfinished projects pile up on work spaces, & things (like the bills I was supposed to pay last week--OOPS) go by the wayside. I fantasize about maintaining a calm and ordered existence, but it seems my creative energy flow demands this crescendo of activity to some form of chaos, and then a regrouping, reordering and organizing phase. I'm making magnets, more cards (there's never enough!), tons of prints to mount , and still one original painting (above) to frame. As I produce more, it becomes more of a chore to do the finish work--framing, mounting, etc. It might be nice to have some help with this part of the business. Funny.......I just opened my fortune cookie from my Chinese takeout dinner (twice-cooked pork--Yum!) and it said "Focus on your long term goal. Don't hesitate to act now." So, as I think ahead to 2008, I will envision having that help..........in the meantime, I had better get busy.

Image: "Dance of Spring" Gouache on paper 19" x 15"

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Halloween was a lot of fun this year--sort of like Mardi-gras without the alcohol. Lots of people crowding the streets. I went to Petaluma with some friends, and it is a big deal there. People create entire installations in their yards and all around their houses. Everyone was in a happy mood, lots of great costumes & fun. This photo was one of the best ones we saw........an entire horse skeleton with a carriage and a real person "driving" it. There was a wonderful cackly witch on the porch, giving out candy. Definitely one of the high points.


I thought I would share this Moth woman image..........I saw a lovely big butterfly photo on a blog by Zooms & it made me think of this painting. So I left her a message that I would post it. And here it is!

Image: "Night Moth " Acrylic on canvas with mixed media Original in private collection Giclees available

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I finished this piece last night, just in time to submit it as my entry for our group show for Point Reyes Open Studios. And I managed to take the photos with my new digital camera, and download the software, so I could put them on my blog. YEA! This is a major breakthrough for me. I am so excited! (Please excuse imperfections--I am still figuring out how to use the camera)
And THANKS to that wonderful Angel of Art Fun----Judy Wise, who inspired me to do this piece in the first place! I think it is going to be the first in a series. It's mixed media................
6.5" x 7"x 12".....acrylic paint, gold leaf, photos of some of my paintings, collage, fabric and feathers on board.
Thanks for checking in!

Monday, October 29, 2007


If you have visited my blog before--tried to comment & couldn't--my apologies! It was brought to my attention (thank you, Tammy!) that my comment settings were limiting access. I was unaware of it, being the Newbie I am to this whole world of blogging. It has been adjusted, so please feel free to try again. I appreciate you taking the time to stop & visit & check out my work!

I am in a whirlwind of activity, finishing a piece for our group show for Open Studios, updating my mailing list for a big mailout, and frantically making cards, magnets, blank books, and mounting prints for my fast approaching holiday shows. So I am going to get back to work now......hope yours is a happy & productive day!

Image: "Underground" gouache on paper original in private collection/giclees available

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


This headline caught my eye today on my MSN homepage as I was logging onto the internet. It concerns a 1970 painting by Rufino Tamayo (whose work I have always liked) that had been stolen 20 years prior to being discovered in a pile of trash on the street in New York City by a woman named Elizabeth Gibson. The painting was titled "Tres Personajes". She claims not to know anything about modern art, but she apparently felt it might be something valuable, because she researched it & it came up on the "Antiques Roadshow" website, where it had been featured after it was stolen. It was then that she discovered that the painting was stated to be worth 1 million dollars today. The article stated that the painting was returned to its original owners, who remained anonymous. The painting is to be sold at a Sotheby's auction in November.

Now, what I want to know, which of course they didn't say, was ---what about Elizabeth? Did she get a reward for finding the painting? And why were the owners wanting to sell it after they just got it back? Very mysterious to me. Of course, they DID say that the owners had originally paid $55,000 for the painting, but they didn't say when it had been bought.

Whatever happened to "Finders keepers, losers weepers"? Just kidding! It's the old idea (hope) of finding something really valuable in someone else's discards. And it DOES happen. That phenomenon keeps all the used book dealers getting up at the crack of dawn (or before) so that they can stand in line at a Friends of the Library booksale. (I know about this firsthand, cause I have done it myself!) Another day, another story........

Sunday, October 21, 2007


The weather has been so beautiful here, with Fall coming in. I hadn't been to the beach with Joey (my St. Bernard) in a long time. So we headed out to Limantour Beach on Thursday, before the rain started up again. It was lovely out there...hardly anyone around. I was throwing a tennis ball for Joey, and we were making our way down the beach slowly.

I happened to notice a wine bottle sticking up out of the sand. I thought--"that's odd--I usually don't see glass bottles here". I pulled it out of the sand--it had a cork in it, and as I looked closer, it had something inside of it. It looked like money! The cork was stuck down in, and I had a hard time getting it open. I had to find a stick to get the rolled up paper out--and there was still a little red wine in the bottle, too. So when I got it out, and unrolled, it was a one dollar bill, and written around the edge on one end was "Dear Africa, Hope this helps. Love, Simon"

Nice thought/wrong ocean. It's been that kind of week.
Image: "Turtle" Gouache on paper by Christine DeCamp

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Are you aware of the power of the act of painting? Sure, it feels good to be doing it, especially when the results turn out well---but what about its effects on the world around us? Hmmmm?

I just read a post on Tracy Helgeson's blog called "The One Where I See the Future", about adjusting an image of a barn in her painting, only to discover, that it was mirrored in the "real" world. Check it out here.

Here is my story about the same phenomenon: I was frantically working on the painting shown above, trying to finish it the week before my show at Thanksgiving. As I worked, I thought--"people are going to think it's a bit strange to see this big sea turtle image with the background of Tomales Bay (we don't have sea turtles here--the water is too cold) I managed to finish the painting and get it hung for the show.

The next issue of the Point Reyes Light (our local weekly paper) had a picture on the front page of a sea turtle coming out of Tomales Bay onto Shell Beach, on Thanksgiving Day! The guy who took the picture just happened to be someone who worked with Sea Turtle Rescue efforts, and just happened to have his camera! I couldn't believe it! The article went on to say that sea turtles are hardly EVER seen this far north blah blah blah..................insert the Twilight Zone theme song here.

You just never know............
Image: "Turtleback" gouache on paper by Christine DeCamp

Friday, October 12, 2007


Beautiful, soft steady rain. Tree limbs are bending down with the weight of absorbed moisture. Tree trunks are clear and dark. Mosses and lichens are fluffing up. And the cows are having their babies! I saw two cow babies playing like puppies this morning! Play bow, jump! Chase....but in their funny stiff legged way--running like hobbyhorses. Mist is rising from the trees on the mountain and disappearing into the greyness of the sky. Looks like we'll have a green Thanksgiving. I am itching to paint, but am at work (my part time job) today.
Image: "Tree House" Gouache on paper by Christine DeCamp

Friday, October 5, 2007


I rolled out of bed this morning in the cold & dark, to go outside and take a hot hot shower under the twinkling stars with the moon's crescent smiling down on me. Sometimes getting up in the dark isn't so bad.

My new digital camera is on its way--and this blog is about to improve! I am very excited about learning how to use a digital format!

I just finished reading some Henry Miller, and decided that it's a good day to talk about "The Paintings of Henry Miller: Paint as You Like and Die Happy". The book is beautifully arranged between sections of text and black and white drawings printed on heavy grey paper, and blocks of reproductions of his paintings from each decade: 1930's up to the 1970's. Henry Miller had a true passion for painting, and he always approached it with a childlike glee. I credit him for getting me out of a painting block that lasted for about 10 years. I was so unhappy in my freshman year of art school that I changed schools, changed my major, and stopped doing art for awhile. I had been drawing and painting all my life. I stuck my toe in the waters of art again with batik and fabric design, which lead to weaving, ceramics, and sculpture, which I finally got a degree in. But no painting. I had the desire to paint again, but wasn't sure where to start. Miller's writing and love of paint, and the examples of what he had done gave me permission to start again and to play. It was very freeing. Here is an excerpt from the book:

"Since 11:30 PM this evening I've been carried away by the discovery of yellow ochre! Marvelous color! I put it in the sky and get dawn, put it in the grass and I get a golden light. Since twilight I've been shuffling back and forth between two watercolors---the same theme, different treatment. In each there is a tree (always the same tree, like the one I did in front of St. Augustin's), a body of water--tarn, creek, lake, river??--and hills, green as the hills of Ireland. I used sap green hoping to get a faint gold, but got Irish green instead. A little Prussian blue near the tops of the hills and they glow with all the metallic ores deposited there and guarded by the seven dwarves. Trying to through the reflection of the hills into the water I had to go over the water so often that there is every kind of blue and green in it."

I don't know about you, but he makes me want to go paint!
Image above: "Balancing Act" Gouache on paper by Christine DeCamp

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


I have been so busy....getting ready for upcoming shows, continuing to do Farmer's Markets, and working my part-time jobs. This time of year is catch-up time for the business side of my art. Updating my mailing list, getting an announcement printed, getting all the recent work photographed, scanned, CD'd, etc. It has become very complicated, but in the future I am going all digital, so that should streamline the process a little. And I am starting to use a real database for my mailing list---all of my updates are going on the new format. I won't have time to switch my whole list over before this mailout (I can't believe I have almost 1000 people on my old list!), so that is something I will work on in January when things are slow.

I was inspired by Judy Wise to make a journal in a hand made book format, and I have started on that project. Unfortunately, I still don't have a digital camera, so I can't post the visuals in progress yet. I have been looking at different cameras--still haven't decided what it is I need.

For my journal/book, I am using some paper I had on hand--140 lb. Arches watercolor paper--which is what I usually use to paint on in my gouache pictures. I am doing an accordian-type book, with front & back boards that are not connected, so it can be spread out for viewing. (We'll see--this is my first attempt at anything like this, so who knows? But so far I am having fun with it)Onward & upward! My intentions for the future are to stretch my boundaries on a regular basis & to have fun with it!
Image shown above: "Vegetable Heaven" Gouache on paper by Christine DeCamp

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Alyson Stanfield's blog today has a link to an article written for the Wall Street Journal on Sept 14 about children who collect art. And no, we're not talking about the usual children's collections, like rocks, seashells, and toys from cereal boxes. These are kids (some under 10 years old!) who are purchasing Andy Warhol prints and other famous artist's works for thousands of dollars--many at art auctions. Where are these kids getting the dough? From their parents, of course! The article states that some of these kids get an "art allowance". Just another phenomenon of the incredible wealth that exists at the high end of our population here in the good old USA. As far as I'm concerned--they could be doing worse things with their money! I would hope that this early interest in art is not just an interest in "art as commodity" but develops into a passion to make art a more significant part of our culture. Maybe the art listings would even move to the beginning of The Chronicle's Datebook section--instead of at the end of all the movies & before the Las Vegas listings!

What do you think about Children Collectors? I hope that these kids are not just collecting art, but are making their own art as well--cause that's where the fun really starts! Speaking of which, it's time to get into the studio!
Image above: "Journeying" Acrylic and mixed media on canvas by Christine DeCamp

Monday, September 24, 2007


We had our first rain of the season this this weekend---it was very welcome as everything has been extremely dry. There was a small thunderstorm Friday night, which is unusual for this area. Some brief showers Saturday afternoon and a few hours of light rain on Sunday. It was very lovely and the air has been scrubbed clean and everything has been sparkling. A good time for working in the studio!
Image: "Autumn Fog" by Christine DeCamp

Thursday, September 20, 2007


If you could have any painting you wanted from a museum---to take home and live with, what painting would it be? Hard to choose, I know. But I have always had a "favorite". And that is a big painting by Henri Rousseau, entitled "The Sleeping Gypsy". (If I can find a picture of it, I will add it to this post--DONE! Click on the post title for a link to the image and an article from MOMA about the painting)) It is owned by the MOMA in New York. I saw it there a long time ago (before they remodeled) and it used to be at the top of a stairway--you would come up the stairs & go around the corner--and there it was! Breathtaking. I have always loved his paintings. He created such incredible worlds of imagination--his figures often look a little goofy or strange, but the whole picture works together to create a world.
Image above: "The Bear Den" by Christine DeCamp--Acrylic and mixed media on canvas

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I have started a list of "Books that Inspire"--these are books that I have read more than once---some of them many, many times. They are the books I go back to--"Old Friends" that help to keep me on track. I tend to prefer autobiographical works---I like to hear it right from the artist's mouth! I will add to this list as I think of books that I want to share, or that I feel are important.......and my thought is, that I will write a review of each of them as part of my ongoing blog. Hope you enjoy them!

I just want to share that I am starting an online class tomorrow with Alyson Stanfield of ArtBizCoach.com---the subject is promoting your artwork, and there are quite a few people signed up--all different kinds of artists from all over the country. I am very excited about it! If you have not done so already--check out her website!
Image: "The Magic Book" by Christine DeCamp--Gouache on paper

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


How do you keep that flow going? And what helps you along and gets you into the studio to paint when you are troubled by seemingly everything going wrong in the rest of your life? For me, it's often a book. I have been a voracious (but somewhat eclectic) reader since childhood. And, in 1998, I created my own bookstore and kept it going for nine years. It was named Manfred's Books---after my 3rd Saint Bernard, who acted as a benevolent ruler over the store.
I now have a small but really interesting collection of art books that I have been gathering over the years. While I had the bookstore, I honed my collection and moved books along that I felt weren't important enough to me to keep--since space is always an issue. Some are references in terms of the artwork or images---and there are other books that inspire me spiritually or offer encouragement. I would like to share some of these on the blog---give a little review & recommendation. Some of these are not well known and some of the artists portrayed are not well known or have gone out of fashion, etc. (We're not talking best sellers here!)
I will start with Emily Carr's book "Hundreds and Thousands", since I have just been reading it again. It is only a small part of her writing, and it is a diary of her life as an artist. Many people in the United States don't know about Emily Carr--she was a Canadian woman from Victoria, B.C. She has been referred to as "the Canadian Georgia O'Keefe", but she predates Georgia O'Keefe. She was a fascinating woman--a great lover of nature and animals, and her lifestory is a wonderful read. She is also a very accomplished writer in a somewhat poetic vein--she was inspired by Walt Whitman. I have a really nice hardbound copy of "Hundreds and Thousands", which I couldn't let go of, and I believe that it is out of print. But "The Complete Writings of Emily Carr" is available in paperback--and includes that writing. The latter was compiled a few years ago at the time of an exhibition of the work of Emily Carr, Georgia O'Keefe, and Frida Kahlo which traveled from Canada to Santa Fe and then on to Washington, D.C. I saw it in Santa Fe and it was a wonderful show.
Emily Carr managed to pursue her dream of art in a time when women were mostly kept at home with the children. She was an adventurous soul, traveling by canoe and fishing boat up the coast of Canada, so that she could paint (and record for posterity) the old Indian villages and totem poles that were slowly disappearing. She often brought along a pet or two---one of her many dogs, or Woo, her pet monkey, or Susie the rat. She journeyed to England several times, to study painting, and stayed for long periods. She had little support for her work, and when her painting moved into her later style, which was influenced by her study abroad, her audience in Canada was not ready to accept a "modern style". In her later paintings, she became more focused on the landscape and forests of Canada, and some of my favorites are studies of trees that have distinct personalities and appear to be dancing. Her work was linked to Canada's "Group of Seven", and she was encouraged by them and visited them several times, but they were in Eastern Canada, and the distance made communication difficult. She began taking her writing seriously in her later years, and when her health kept her from painting as much as she would like, she turned to her writing. And, ultimately, it was the writing that gave her the greatest acclaim during her lifetime. Every time I go back and read her book, (and I have read it quite a few times) I am amazed at what a genius she was--a true "renaissance woman"!
*****Highly Recommended
Image above: "Seasons I" by Christine DeCamp--Gouache on paper

Monday, August 27, 2007

Coming Home

Driving home tonite was very inspirational. Fog was rolling over the ridge top, the sun was going down & glinting on the edge of the fog. Just incredible. A big flock of red winged blackbirds rose up in a cloud as I drove by. I had been listening to NPR & all the (bad) news from around the globe. I was flooded with sadness as I thought of our own little tragedy here in paradise---hired gunmen, working for the National Park Service, ruthlessly killing our magical fallow and axis deer. Hopefully, some will survive and the Park will shift their attitude. In the meantime, I am so grateful to be living here, surrounded by such beauty---with the freedom to pursue my desire to paint the wonders around me as I see them. Interconnected---human, plant, and animal----the mystery and magic that is LIFE.
Image above: "Tree House" Gouache on paper by Christine DeCamp

Friday, August 24, 2007


Artist Damien Hirst's diamond-studded skull (no, not HIS skull!) sculpture was selected for discussion on Thursday's Art Biz Blog ( http://www.artbizblog.com/ ). The REAL subject was art/ money & its effect, meaning (if any), and ramifications.


Damien Hirst is using the "Art World" to get personal recognition, power, money & celebrity. Whether all this really has anything to do with "ART" and the creation thereof is somewhat questionable. Our culture has so embraced the cult of money and celebrity that it has seeped into every facet of our lives.

It used to be that museums held to a high standard, but that is no longer the case. And Damien Hirst is certainly not the only one---there are many artists who play the celebrity game.

My friend Pirkle Jones (himself a nationally known photographer) said to me today that he had read in the New York Times that millionaire art lovers were no longer using the services of curators to assemble their art collections, but were making their own choices. If this is so, perhaps it reflects a general loss of esteem towards those in the art world who are "supposed to know".

I don't expect to always agree with a museum's choice of work to be shown or purchased, but I have a certain amount of sadness around the "money/celebrity" dance, which is detrimental to scholarship and honest inquiry. It is also apparent in the offerings of today's museum shops, which used to be a treasure trove of hard-to-find art books and excellent exhibition catalogues, and now are mostly full of tacky gift items. This shift to sheer commercialism is very disappointing to me.

My own criterion for the question "Is it art?" has to do with feeling and soul--does the piece project an honest communication from the artist? I have to say that (regardless of the apparent content of the piece)--any work that is being presented in the "National Enquirer" style of gossip/money/& celebrity-- becomes devalued in my eyes.
Image above: "Mountain Lions II" Gouache on paper by Christine DeCamp

Saturday, August 4, 2007


Saturday morning, July 28th started out enveloped in fog. It was the day of the 17th annual Mill Valley Paint-Off. I had heard about it, but never attended or participated. I knew about it because I have exhibited my work several times at "At The Top" http://www.atthetopsalon.com/ --a fabulous hair salon/art gallery in Mill Valley, and been a part of the Mill Valley Art Commission's First Tuesday Artwalk. The cover of July's Artwalk program featured a painting by Gary Kell , http://www.garykell.com/ which he did at last year's Paint-Off event. It is a wonderfully humorous and surrealistic image--and, in fact, is what inspired me to sign up as a participant this year. I am not a plein air painter---I do my work in the studio---and if I use the outdoors as a reference, it is usually a quick sketch that is then transformed by memory and imagination. And I am a slow painter--I layer on the paint in transparent washes, and go over & over things. In the studio, I usually have 2-4 pieces working at a time & go back and forth between them. One of the challenges for me at this event was to complete a painting in 4 hours! And I don't have the right equipment to do plein air painting, either. So I was a little worried how I was going to pull it all off---but I came up with an idea--I decided to use one of my A frames that I use to display my work when I show in San Francisco with The Red Umbrellas. http://www.redumbrellas.com/ I made a little shelf to support a canvas, and took my director's chair and a small table. And I took a very small (for me) canvas (9 x 12) so that I would have a better chance of completing something. And you know what? I had a great time! There was a great camaraderie between the working artists, and the spectators were very appreciative. The completed pieces were voted on, and prizes given out. All the participants will have their work shown in September's exhibit at the Mill Valley City Hall. The reception will be Tuesday, September 4 from 6 to 8 PM. Check it out!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Frida Kahlo of Northern California

Last weekend (July 14 & 15), I participated in the Mendocino Art Center's Art & Craft Festival. MAC is an incredible center of creativity, with lots of workshops and events happening all the time. I met some great people, made some new connections, and got to spend some time with my friend Julie Higgins, who is a fabulous artist, working primarily in pastels.

One of the artists across from me at the festival said to me, "You're the Frida Kahlo of Northern California!!! You should market yourself like that!" Well----I have conflicting feelings about it. I love Frida's art---always have, & I read everything about her when she first became well known as a cult figure in this country. (Late 70's, early 80's) She has been an influence on my work, but there are so many influences on my work--some more important than Frida, and some that would not even be evident to someone looking at my work. But Frida's name is often mentioned when people see my work for the first time. So it is a wonderful compliment--and gives people a connection to my imagery--sort of a jumping off place, if you will.
However, like most artists, I would like my work to be seen and judged on its own terms. But since it is only human to want to compare and contrast to what one already knows & is familiar with--I am going to start a list of people's work that I love, and whose work (I feel) has influenced me and my development as an artist.
Henri Rousseau
Frida Kahlo
Remedios Varos
Leonora Carrington
Leonore Fini
Emily Carr
Stanley Spencer
Alice Neel
Raymond Booth
Francesco Clemente
Henry Miller
All of the medieval artists

This is not a complete list........I will add more, and maybe go into my feelings about some of these people and their work & its affect on me in future posts.
Ciao for now!
Image above: "Autoretrato Como Frida Kahlo" Acrylic and mixed media on canvas by Christine DeCamp

Friday, July 20, 2007

In the Beginning

Welcome to PASSION FOR PAINTING! I am creating this blog to talk (write, share) about ART--mine and other people's, about the creative process and being inspired, about some of my other passions (nature, animals, etc.) and as a forum to get out some thoughts and observations.

Encounter with Nature

I am in Mill Valley today, at the home of the celebrated photographer Pirkle Jones, who is a good friend and also my part-time employer. His home is located in a beautiful setting in the woods, where most of what you hear is birdsong and the bubbling stream down in the canyon. When I came up the walk this morning, I frightened a mama deer, who went running off a ways. Once in the house, I looked out the window and saw her out front again, intently looking into the forest and swiveling her ears about like antenna. Pretty soon another deer approached. To my surprise, Mama deer ran up to the interloper, chased her around in a circle, and drove her off. Then Mama went over to the bushes where her fawn was hidden, and started to nurse the baby. It was amazing to watch. In a little while, the other deer returned, followed by two babies! Pirkle and I watched them wander through the woods, nibbling on this and that, and exploring. The mother wandered on ahead. Soon the babies realized that Mom was getting a little too far away, and they scampered off after her.

Speaking of deer, there was an article in the West Marin Citizen (our new newspaper) about the Point Reyes National Seashore's plan to eliminate the non-native deer that reside in the park. There are two species that were introduced in the 1940's---one is the fallow deer, which can be white, black, or spotted, and have large palmated antlers, which sometimes look a size too large for their bodies. The other type is the Axis deer, which are fewer in number that the fallow deer, and are brown with spots and have smaller pointed antlers. For more information about these magical animals and the controversy surrounding them, check out the Friends of the White Deer website. " http://www.fotwd.org/ "

I am not in favor of killing the deer, even though the Park has now come up with a plan to donate the venison to a local charity, so that the elimination of the species in this area (their goal) does not just appear to be wholesale slaughter for the sake of elimination. For myself, I just can't justify the arguments that have been put forward as good reasons to kill wildlife. I think my "favorite" one is the argument that these deer (who are smaller than our native black tailed deer) are doing irreparable harm to the local ecosystem and the riparian corridors, because of their mating behavior, which includes the males' sparring. Of course, no one has bothered to point out that the Tule Elk, which IS native to this area, and at one time roamed in huge herds through this area and is a much larger animal (at least twice the size) ALSO does this same behavior. It's a wonder there was anything left before us white people got here and RESCUED the Point Reyes Penunsula from all this wildness.

Don't get me wrong----I understand that there's a problem, and no, I don't know the answer to it. I do think that we need to take responsibility for people's interference with nature, which created these kinds of problems in the first place. And I don't think that MORE interference is necessarily the answer.

Getting back to painting---I have done several paintings including the exotic deer--"Journeying", which is a recent acrylic on canvas with mixed media, which I don't have up on my site yet---and "Our Lady of the Mountain", which you can see above or on the site. I am also working on another canvas which will feature the deer. I have found them to be quite amazing animals. Check them out for yourself before they are all killed!
Image above: "Our Lady of the Mountain" Gouache and mixed media on paper by Christine DeCamp