Tea and Talk with the Talented: Christine Towner
by Colette Finney
For this edition, I selected artist Christine Towner, whose work has been featured in galleries all over the United States. Specializing in painting with encaustic wax, she has been a practicing artist for over a decade. Encaustic is a blend of beeswax, varnish crystals, and pigment that when heated can be layered onto almost any surface, its an ancient medium dating as far back as the 5th Century BC.
Last September one of Towner’s paintings was included in the juried International Encaustic Association and Encaustic Art Institute exhibition in New Mexico. Her work can find be found in galleries along the East coastline of Lake Michigan, and she’s participating in ArtPrize 2016.
CF: What motivates you to create?
CT: Nature! I love being outside in almost any type of weather watching, observing the different patterns that nature creates. I take lots of photos and use mostly patterns for my abstracts.
CF: Do you have a typical painting routine, and if so, can you share it with us?
CT: I am very inconsistent and take a spontaneous approach to my art. My intuitive side has to be in place before I can create my abstracts. Therefore, I am pretty situational about creating. I admire artists who mark off time per week to get art done. I’d rather create three paintings a year that I love and am proud of, than pressure myself to create just to create. That just doesn’t work for me! The stimulus of entering juried shows will sometimes provide that motivation to stretch myself as an artist to work on new pieces depending on the theme.
CF: What do you do for inspiration when you are in a creative slump?
CT: I find visiting galleries especially large art institutes very stimulating and motivating! I generally feel inspired to come home and start on a piece. The Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Detroit Institute of Art are among my favorites.
CF: What advice would you give to new artists?
CT: Make sure you have a part-time job to help pay the bills as you get started. Become accustomed to rejection, and don’t let it discourage you. Continue to find the right place/gallery/show that will showcase your work. Always stay open to improving your work. Listen to constructive suggestions from artists you respect.
CF: What do you feel most proud of?
CT: That I have chosen an ancient medium that is archival, complex and unique.
CF: What’s something most people don’t know about you?
CT: I was in Dentistry for 23 years; a professor for 19 of those years. I was also trained in team development and strategic planning and owned my own business for 10 years. I also love Opera and love to sing.
CF: What wouldn’t you do without?
CF: God, my church and my family. They facilitate my commitment to giving back including to artists who need help.