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America’s foremost watercolor artist returns to Folsom

"Another Round" by Eric Christensen
"Another Round" by Eric Christensen

American Visions Art Gallery and Eric Christensen Fine Art & Editions announced that Watercolor Master Eric Christensen will make a personal appearance at the Folsom gallery on Saturday, Sept. 8.

Christensen’s “wine art” begins where most contemporary wine artists leave off. Christensen loves to capture the romance of the wine country, which he points out, “is so much more than just the wine.”  Although Christensen started out with the art of Napa Valley, his latest pieces cover the familiar landscapes of El Dorado, Amador and Placer counties.

Christensen will have on display a painting-in-progress so that visitors can get a glimpse into how his art comes to life. Widely regarded as the one of the most capable of achieving hyperrealism through the use of standard water color, Christensen’s work has become highly sought after since his introduction to the national art market in 2005 at the American Visions Art Gallery in Folsom. Self-taught, the artist invented a watercolor technique that allows him to create images of vibrant color that go beyond the look and depth of a high quality photograph.

The artists “uncanny ability to manipulate his brush to applying between 30 to 45 layers of color to recreate the reflection in a wine glass, a piece of exotic cheese or the lushness of ripe grapes is key to creating realism and is why his work is so highly collected” says collector and gallery owner, Giovanna Stark.

By pushing watercolor paint to its absolute limits, Christensen has invented a new way to paint with this traditional medium. Using non-standard water color paper and employing a dry-brush technique the artist starts out with thin washes then builds meticulously to more than 30 subsequent layers of paint. You can actually see the build-up of the paint layers when you look closely at his originals. This technique allows him to achieve much stronger colors and shadows than can be found with traditional watercolor art; his paintings actually appear more like an oil painting on canvas.

Christensen is also known in Northern California for his water color classes. It was Sally Murphy of Gold River who introduced Christensen’s work to gallery owner,Giovanna Stark. Earlier Murphy had taken an “art-changing” water color class from the artist. “Eric gave us the basics of watercolors but through a completely different technique. He would help us to break down the colors that are rich and multi-layered. I went in a novice and I left feeling I could paint. He strengthened my tools as an artist,” said Murphy.

Christensen achieves his lifelike realistic images through his understanding of the technical aspects of his subjects,  landscapes and intimate still life paintings that incorporate a variety of elements including food, flowers and fruit seen in the appropriate background settings. He possesses the ability to paint the subtleties of light traveling through a flower petal or its reflection in a wine glass. Composition is one more factor that sets Christensen’s painting apart.

“Each is a study on the balance between texture, height and shape. The placement of objects in his paintings must combine to make sense and represent a scene found in real life; in a  kitchen, a wine cellar, or in the vineyard,” said Shanell McQuirk, gallery director.

“Life is hard enough as it is, so I try to paint the things that make me happy. Through my subject matter and all of its nuances and detail I want to convey all the complexities, colors and creativity of miracles that life gives us on a daily basis,” Christensen explained.

This event will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 8 at the gallery, 705 Sutter St. in Folsom, and will include appetizers and wine tasting.

Although not necessary, an RSVP is appreciated. Visit avartgallery.com or call (916) 351-1623 or (800) 548-8446. Eric Christensen’s work can also be viewed on the website.

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Posted by on Aug 29 2012.
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