I do my best thinking when I’m taking long walks alone. It is during this time that I allow myself to explore thoughts and ideas, uninterrupted by chatter and distractions. I think about anything and everything, and often, I think about what I want to paint. The changing of the seasons, with it’s display of colors, the textures of the landscape, the shadows dancing around me, even the cracks on the sidewalk, inspire me. I return from these walks with a clear head, excited to sketch and make notes in my painting journal.

6 months ago, we brought home a new addition to our family – A bouncing baby labrador retriever named Finn, and just like that, gone were those long, contemplative walks. Instead, I now find myself focussing on NOT tripping over uneven sidewalks, while restraining a pup from darting into traffic and making friends with every dog in our path. My arms and shoulders no longer ache from vigorously brushing my arm across a canvas. They now hurt from chucking the tennis ball hundreds of times across a field for a dog who doesn’t know the word ‘quit’. But in love with him we all fell, and I neglected to post new work on my website.

So, now it’s 2017, and time to focus again on doing what I love.  With a new year comes a new perspective. I am feeling settled in a new home – did I forget to mention we moved after living in the same house for 21 years? I am ready to paint full time, again.

I’m now giving myself permission to loosen up, listen to my gut, and place trust in my work. I am excited about this new series I’ve been working on; worrying less about the rules and whether or not people will ‘like it’; instead, allowing myself to be vulnerable, take risks, and embrace all that this new year has to offer.

A Bientôt,

Chris

All Is Right I 20×48 Oil on Canvas

All Is Right II 20×48 Oil on Canvas

All Is Right III 20×48 Oil on Canvas

Good boy, Finn – 8 months

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I started collecting art as a young mother.  My first piece was of my daughter, Sarah. My husband’s aunt, Martha Jane Albus, was a talented Richmond artist and she generously offered to paint the portraits of all her nieces and nephews. Not only do I love the painting because it captures the true essence of my daughter, note the wrinkling of her nose, but it was that much more special because someone so dear to us had painted it.  She went on to paint all of our daughters, and for that, I am truly grateful. Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 6.41.31 PM

I have managed to collect several paintings by Rhonda Corley. Rhonda lived in Richmond for a short time before returning to her native New Orleans. I spotted one of her pieces at an art show and fell in love. Destiny’s Child was the first of many.Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 3.00.39 PM

I traveled to Charleston a couple of years ago and was lucky enough to get my hands on a small figurative painting by Teil Duncan. I say lucky, because her paintings sell out in the blink of an eye! She very graciously invited me to visit her studio, and I was thrilled to walk out with one of my favorite pieces. Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 2.57.04 PM

I remember the first time I laid eyes on a painting by American landscape artist, Wolf Kahn.  I walked into the Reynolds Gallery in Richmond, and this magnificent, and I do mean magnificent, painting caught my immediate attention. It was large, at least 6 feet across, and the colors were breathtaking! I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a visceral reaction to artwork. I immediately had to learn all I could about him and his work. I don’t own a Wolf Kahn, but one can always dream…

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Yellow Haze

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Art should make you feel something- hopefully good. Don’t buy it because it’s the latest fad, or because someone told you to. Buy it because you love it, and simply can not walk away without it. I can’t recall ever buying artwork to fill a space – if you love it and can’t live without it, you’ll find the space. So, go ahead and buy the art, drink the wine, and order the dessert. And while you’re at it, buy the shoes too – you’ve been thinking about them long enough.

Á bientôt!
Chris

Seeing Beneath Your Perfect

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  • Bonnie K. Nealon

    Chris,
    Where can I see what you have for sale and the prices? Went to Ruth & Ollie and they have only four pieces. Would like to get something for my granddaughter for Christmas.
    Thanks,
    BonnieReplyCancel

    • chrisshands

      Hi Bonnie, please forgive my tardy response. In Richmond, my work can be found at Palette Paint and Home as well as in my studio.ReplyCancel

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People sometimes comment on the gold leaf I often add to my paintings. I love gold.  Our love affair began when I was a little girl growing up in Bangkok, Thailand. A beautiful country, rich in culture and tradition, Thailand is known for its stunning Buddhist temples.

via Manoonp

via Matador Network

A popular tourist spot, we often visited them with family and friends. The Thai have a lovely custom of honoring Buddha by placing squares of gold leaf on his statues. Postage sized booklets of gold leaf are sold outside the temples and I remember meticulously pressing and rubbing these leaves onto the statues. A gentle breeze might blow across the vast hallways and rooms of the temples, and the bits of gold leaf would appear to dance. Truly a magical sight; one I have not forgotten.

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via Getty Images

I lived in Thailand for 9 years, and much of what I saw and experienced influence my work today.  Don’t even get me started  on Thai silk – the colors are breathtaking! The pinks and oranges; yes, I’m a big fan. Blues and turquoises; absolutely divine! But I’m getting ahead of myself. Perhaps I’ll save this for a later post on COLOR. For now, I’ll simply say that for me, the gold leaf, it’s personal.

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       My mother Brigitte, and a friend at the Floating Market

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My father Ole, riding a samlo with my aunt

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me

Á bientôt!
Chris

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  • Marcie

    I think you do not give yourself enough credit regarding your writing talent!ReplyCancel

    • chrisshands

      Thank you for your lovely compliment, Marcie.ReplyCancel

One of the things I enjoy most about what I do is the wonderful people I get to meet. Today was such a day. I dropped off  This Girl , a large nude to a lovely young woman in D.C.  We had been corresponding over a period of several months about a painting that would work in her home. The exchange of emails and photographs leading up to today left me nervous; will she love it, and is it what she expected?  Her reaction was priceless!  So thrilled she is happy and to have made a new friend.

Á bientôt!
Chris

Nude

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  • Alex Thornton

    Beyond thrilled! What a beautiful piece and special moment! XoReplyCancel

  • Just found your gorgeous blog, Chris. Who did it? “This Girl” is another Shands stunner!ReplyCancel

    • chrisshands

      Thank you, Alison. A darling and talented coworker at R&O helped me get started. I still have much to learn, but it has been a lot of fun!ReplyCancel

paper 16 large copyThis past weekend’s snowstorm dumped 14″ of snow over this beautiful city. I can’t recall the last time it snowed this much, but I know it was before the last chick flew out of the nest. Back then, most snow days were filled with kids filtering in and out of the house all day, making hot cocoa and snow cream, mopping up wet spots left on the floor from all the children’s gear, and warm evenings watching favorite movies by the fire. There was a quiet stillness in our home this year, and I took advantage of this peacefulness and painted. I started on Friday as the first flurries fell and painted all through the weekend. To counter the blanket of white that surrounded me, I chose to paint with bright and vivid colors. These mixed media pieces are small, ranging in size from 5-10″. They will go to the framer as soon as I can get my car out of the driveway…

Á bientôt!
Chris

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paper 33 large copy

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  • Mary Soulios

    I live in RVA and love your art. Where can these be purchased and what is the cost?ReplyCancel

    • chrisshands

      Hi Mary,
      Thank you! In Richmond, I sell my work through my studio as well as at Ruth & Ollie in Carytown. These mixed media pieces will be framed in either white or gold leaf frames. They sell anywhere between $125 and $350 depending on size and frame.ReplyCancel