My art experience only began in 1999. I was working in the Welfare Industry when I was diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy, a severe heart disease. I unfortunately was unable to work and had to find something to fill my days and give me a sense of identity. At the ripe old age of 45 I turned to Art and began painting. Since then my love of Australia and our landscape and identity has been represented in my art.
I also have been able to express myself through my art and am able to give a visual interpretation of what is important to me. This painting I did expressing my experience of how it felt to be a teenager during the Vietnam War, and the public reaction to our brave boys. My brother is a Vietnam Vet. Also I was influenced by Dorothy McKellar's poem, Australian Men, depicting our diggers of WW1, naively leaving their beautiful Australian land to go the the battlefields, with the anticipation of an adventure and the love of Country to make our mark on the world.
Also the period when the Victorian Government was disregarding the needs of Rural Australia with regard to the pipeline moving our water to Metropolitan was an issue I strongly disagreed with. I was able to express this in my art.
I was diagnosed with Oesophageal Cancer in 2003, I again found it very therapeutic to be able to express my emotions during the subsequent chemotherapy and living with Cancer through my art.
My love of our country has always been strong, and to be privileged to be able to express this in my paintings brings me joy. To be able to paint our beautiful Gums, Outback landscapes and flora is exciting. I lived in the Northern Territory and my paintings reflect the beautiful bright country that I saw.
I have had a very fortunate life. Although I was diagnosed with serious illness in 1999 I have been very fortunate that I have been given the best treatment available, I am bionic with a Biventricular Pacer and ICD, and I have overcome many obstacles including Cancer. I was also the first in Australia to receive a Mitral valve in my heart via a new procedure, which hopefully will be available to all Australians in the next 5 years. This is the video I was asked to do for the innovative medical breakthroughs that enabled me to receive this procedure. (This ended up on the New York Times Web Site)
During my recovery and subsequent damage done since my Cancer diagnosis in 2013, (I also developed septicemia from a Gall Bladder procedure which severely damaged my heart), I was not well enough to do much painting in the past 5 years. However I received my 5 year Cancer Free Goal YIPPEE this year and was determined to celebrate this achievement by exhibiting at the Bendigo Easter Rotary Art Exhibition. I am so happy to say that I did this, and subsequently have been invited to exhibit at the Nara Dreaming Exhibition.
To be invited by the beautiful people involved in this exhibition, to be included amongst the amazing talent of the other artists and to be deemed eligible to be amongst these people, our original people, is the greatest honour I could have been offered. Life is still a journey, (I know sounds corny), but it is true, and I look forward to contributing any way I can to this exciting exhibition.
At the age of 64 I still have a lot to learn and experience in this life. How lucky am I to be in this position, and do not intend to waste any moment of my future.
Here is a link to a short video that Christine featured in with regard to her medical treatment - she is one brave lady plus a great artist. Click on link below if it does not load the video please copy and paste it into your browser and then it should work