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about christine



Christine O’Keeffe is a professional watercolourist and teacher who divides her time between her croft house in the Highlands of Scotland and her shepherd’s cottage in the foothills of the French Pyrenees. She has always worked in the field of art and design but has specialised in large bold and loose watercolour paintings of the landscape for the past eighteen years. Christine has exhibited in and around Inverness, Perth, Edinburgh and London and her work has found its way into homes and work places in as far flung places as Australia, South Africa, Canada and America.

Christine’s work is distinctive in style and she employs some unusual techniques using masking fluid and big brushes to encourage a loose, strong and bold final painting.

Christine says of her work “Why do I work in watercolour? Well, the short answer is because it is a challenge. I don’t think I could find a medium less suited to my natural style of working.

Christine at work

What I love about the medium is the translucent qualities it has when used at its delicate best but my natural desire is to be bold (some would say heavy handed) and a bold approach and the medium of watercolour don’t naturally go hand in hand. I am impatient by nature which is again not a quality best suited to the considered approach one associates with the medium.

Some ask me how I developed my distinctive style. This was not a conscious effort it was more my way of coping with the medium.

For me working in watercolours is a constant battle. It is often over quickly (a few hours to do a painting with lots of time waiting for washes to dry in between) but the battle often rages for days. On one memorable occasion my painting was thrown away at least four times and pulled out of the bin again and again for more work. When finished the work showed signs of the misery and angst I had suffered in the process. It is one of the few paintings I really regret selling as it had too much of my soul in it to give to someone else.”

Christine says of her medium “Watercolour painting should be fun. It may be irritating and frustrating but it should be enjoyable. It is not a nice pale hobby for me it is an exciting vibrant battle which I am pleased to engage in on a daily basis. If I may I will quote a fellow painter who, in the foreword to his exhibition catalogue, wrote “Painting is like making love if it is calm and relaxing then you are doing it wrong”.