Dorte Christjansen Batiks and Watercolors: saatchiart.com, FaceBook, Instagram, Long Beach Creative Group and now
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I was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, into a family of artists. My family immigrated to Canada when I was six.
I lived in Vancouver, Kamloops and Seattle before my mother and I settled in Southern California where I attended high school and college. I received my BA in Drawing and Painting (1965) and my MA in Illustration (1972) from California State University Long Beach. Watercolor and/or silk painting (batik) are my favorite mediums.
A major influence in my becoming an artist was my paternal grandfather, Rasmus Christiansen (the spelling is correct, my father changed the i to a j) who was a well known painter and illustrator in Denmark. His biography was recently published in a book, Rasmus Christiansen: Tegner go Maler (1863 -1940), En sommergest i Hjarbæk by Ole Utoft. Growing up I was surrounded by his paintings, drawings and illustrations. I was particularly impressed by an ink drawing of an oak tree, which I spent many hours copying, admiring his attention to detail and trying to learn his ink techniques. My father was trained as a silversmith. He lost an eye from injuries he sustained when the airplane he was flying solo to qualify as a pilot plunged into Hjarbæk Fjord, ending his silversmithing days and his dream of becoming a pilot. I was quite fascinated by his glass eye.
The imagery I select is inspired by my surroundings, whether landscape, garden or my cats. I try to preserve perfect instances in time to be enjoyed at leisure. My favorite media for creating my paintings are watercolor and batik. Watercolor is a familiar medium, but I will briefly explain my batik process, since it is not as familiar. The art of batik, a process for using multiple layers of melted wax for creating images on fabric can be traced back to prehistoric times. Wax or other types of resists are applied to cloth to repel dye, the unwaxed areas absorbing dyes by immersion in dye baths. The technique has been practiced through time and throughout the world, each country developing unique tools and techniques. In the process I use to create my batiks the image develops gradually by alternating the wax and dye process until it is complete and the whole fabric is covered with wax which is removed by ironing fabric between sheets of tissue or newspaper (or it can be dry cleaned) and dyes are set by steaming. I apply concentrated dyes onto stretched silk using techniques similar to those I use on my watercolors.
Galleries represented my work for many years. I was represented by the Four Oaks Gallery in Pasadena, California, and The Eileen Kremen Gallery in Fullerton, California. I have participated in solo, group, juried and invitational exhibitions at local, state and national levels. My work has been included in several books and been the subject of reviews and articles in local, national and international publications. Now I represent myself and have recently become a part of the Long Beach Creative Group (like us on Facebook and Instagram). I am on Facebook and Instagram and participate in the Long Beach open Studio Tour and Belmont Heights Artists Associaton
I recently retired from California State University, Fullerton, where I was area coordinator for art education and taught courses in watercolor and illustration. I now enjoy the flexibility to devote my time and attention to my studio. I can't imagine living without art.