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About Art: Life experiences add depth to local artist's creations


Christene Sandeson, of Hilden, is a very accomplished artist with work in both private and public collections, including the County of Colchester.

Hilden resident Christene Sandeson began developing her artist skills in 1976. She continues to hone her skills and has her artwork in many local venues.

She serves on the board of directors of the Truro Art Society and has been a mentor and role model to many in our community. She is also a featured artist in Dee Appleby's book " Nova Scotia's Contemporary Artists, Volume 2."

Q. What's your background?

A. I began to develop my drawing and design skills in 1976 after my formal education in the field of education (M. Ed.), which was perhaps the most practical addition to my work as an artist. Teaching art both part and full time over the years has enabled me to both create and support my family. I have served within a number of institutions, such as Nova Scotia Teacher's College, Institute for Early Childhood Education, Corrections Service Canada, and Chignecto-Central Regional School Board (visual art 9, 10, 11 and 12 at South Colchester Academy).

Q. What are you working on now?

A. I am currently preparing an "Animals in Art" lecture series for the Seniors College Association of Nova Scotia which will focus on animals and their symbolic and cultural association from prehistoric to contemporary, Western and Non Western world art. This series begins in February 2015. I also co-teach a Monday evening painting group at the Douglas Street Recreational Centre in Truro with Lyndia Wellwood.

Q. What has been a seminal experience?

A. The death of my husband when my children were in their teens has served to deepen my understanding and appreciation for life challenges. I have learned that one must walk through every door that becomes open.

Q. How do you understand your art process?

A. I want to travel the "road not taken" (thank you Robert Frost) and am interested in making each image with a purpose. Beyond the layers of subject matter and painting technique, the image is asking to be created for a reason. I am interested in both building and unveiling those layers with the hope that the work will have something meaningful or interesting to say.

Q. How do you know when a work is finished?

A. Painting is a slow building process for me and once it's feeling or message is revealed, I know its resolution is close at hand. I inherited my mother's desire to surround myself with supportive and loving relationships, and, playing this forward, I embed images of the loving human and animal aspects of my life into the more dominant elements of my subject matter. I enjoy the challenge of trying to resolve these complexities. For that reason some pieces take a long time to resolve because the idea is either too elusive or I have not achieved the appropriate level of artistic maturity.

Q. Where do you sell your work?

A. Although I am not a practical promoter of my work, unlike my businessman father I do remember Derek Kersley's generous comment to me many years ago that there is room for everybody. I currently limit the display of my work to local venues, such as the Marigold Cultural Centre, the Attic Painters and at the Nova Scotia Community College McCarthy Gallery within the Truro Art Society member exhibits. Once in my new studio I might seek further venues, but I will take my time.

Janice Guinan is a local artist who passionately believes in the importance of visual art.

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