Thursday, June 19, 2008


People are always asking me about my work: "Are they stories?". Well............... they are NOT illustrations for classic stories or myths, which is what most people are referring to (I think) when they are asking that question. However, there are stories connected to the images, and how they came about or how they appeared to me, so I am going to start telling those stories in a series of posts, which will be quite a large project and may turn into something else before it's through. Who knows? At any rate, it's something that I feel like doing at this point & I hope it will be enjoyable for those of you who frequent my blog.

I am going to start by telling MY STORY---of my art life & how I ended up painting these visions. Being one of those kids who got into trouble for drawing on the walls (among other things!) with any scrap of paper in the house was fair game, whether it had another purpose or not. (In trouble again) Having been considered one of "the artists" in my small high school class made for a difficult time when I got to art school, because of the extremely critical atmosphere. Fashion design was the initial goal, but after becoming disillusioned with the reality of that world I dropped out of art school. Next I started doing batik for fun, which developed into soft sculpture, then weaving and textile design (back to art school!). When textiles became frustrating, I turned to ceramics, sculpture and performance art. My senior show at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia was an installation of mixed media and papier mache animals along with pre recorded audio and a live performance of music and sound by my friend Duke.

I migrated to the Bay area in the early eighties and was doing fun papier mache animals and furniture. But completing a piece took so long---one chair in particular took a year to create!---and I wanted to be able to create more of my ideas. I thought-"What is it that I love to do the best?" It was painting the pieces. So it was back to painting again & I realized I had been making a big circle around a painting block that had begun in that initial year of art school.

Once involved in painting again, ideas came up which appeared in my mind as visual images, or parts of images. I wanted to be able to tap into that as a personal resource, and not just hope that the flow of ideas would continue to come. My chiropractor Lana showed me a flyer about Tamara Diaghilev, who was a psychic healer offering classes in personal transformation at that time in SF.

The introduction to Tamara created a relationship and a learning experience that has continued to this day and has allowed me to tap into a very deep well of imagery that is archetypal and cellular and that people respond to in surprising ways. It is quite the exciting journey!

So that's my story & I'm stickin' to it .
The painting shown above, titled "Llama Mama" is acrylic on canvas with beading and mirror work. It is in the collection of Tamara Diaghilev and is a portrait of myself which celebrated my move to West Marin around 1993.


zooms said...

Your story is so interesting Christine, I'm looking forward to every episode.
Your paintings are deep and beautiful.
Don't suppose Tamara has a blog by any chance?

Christine DeCamp said...

No, unfortunately, Tamara doesn't have a blog. Maybe she should start one. Although she is not a computer kind of person! Glad you are liking the "Stories" series so far.

Anonymous said...

Hi Christine,
I also took classes with Tamara in about 1990. I believe her house was on 14th St. near Market. During the time I was taking classes her partner died when she fell off the deck of the house. I don't remember her name. From time to time I have wondered what became of Tamara and if she still teaches classes and gives readings. Do you know?

Christine DeCamp said...

Hi Shelley,
Yes, I do know! I saw Tamara earlier this summer while she was in SF for a workshop (which I attended) She gave the final workshop for the series of classes she has been doing the last few years. She still does readings, but the logistics of coming to SF from Oregon & the amount of work it takes to create one of her workshops has become too much. (She is living in Oregon at this time)She is doing well (or was when I saw her)
I took classes at the same time you did--that was around the time I started. Shireen died about the time of my 2nd or 3rd class with Tamara. You & I were probably in a class together. How did you come upon my blog?

Anonymous said...

Hi Christine,
Yes, we were in the same class with Tamara.
I actually had purchased some note cards from you with photos of your paintings on them. I even had them until very recently when I decided to use them at last!
That's what got me thinking about Tamara and I subsequently did a google search on her which brought me to your blog. Over the years I had been interested in contacting her about getting a reading especially after I adopted my daughter from Russia. I had one at the time we were taking classes and would like to get another!
I just could never find her.
If you have contact info I'd like to get in touch.
I have enjoyed your blog and website. Your art is unique and so easily identifiable. I have also enjoyed looking at your current work. I'm glad I found it.

Christine DeCamp said...

Glad that my images are what brought you back around to try & find Tamara. If you email me your contact info, I will pass it along to Tamara. I am sure she will be delighted to connect with you again!