Blog: We Are Our History

Christine Alfery

Posted on May 10 2020

Blog: We Are Our History

If you follow me, you know that when I create I rarely have an intent in mind – I want my mind to stay as free as a child choosing colors from a box of crayons.  When I create artwork, I speak and listen for forms that take shape – I seek what the concepts that emerge that allow each work to take on its own personality. 

I recently found this photo of me painting in my studio. I rarely share these type of photos, but this one was interesting. In this photo I had just started two works that would go on to inspire other works and win multiple national awards: I got a Brand New Pair of Roller Skates and The Way Out. In this photo they are still both mostly just the first step of the watercolor wash – the earliest step before any concept had emerged.  Seeing this photo reminded me that the themes that emerge and the way the canvas talks to me is often a result of my history and things I have experienced. 

The Way Out by Christine Alfery

I often paint works in a series. The Way Out (the work with the blue top in the studio) ended up being part of a series with a theme of release and escape from chaos. I started the work with a blue watercolor wash and later added the graphite lines. In the photo of me creating, you can see the very beginnings of what would become forms escaping from the cage of the graphite lines.

This was the first work in the series that incorporated a cage and release and escape from chaos concepts.

Other works in this series of release and escape from chaos include Don’t Fence Me In, Escape, Where Water and Horizon Meet, The Grid, and Escape II. 

What emerged from the black wash on the left in my studio photo was much simpler – it was the song “I Got a Brand New Pair of Roller Skates.” I just had watched a skit from Jimmy Falon with Melissa McCarthy. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. But Jimmy Falon has a tendency to do that to you. I was replaying the skit in my studio and the roller skates appeared on my work. The wheels that frequently appear in my pieces speak to the concept of movement – in this case they are rolling their way down a hill. Every time I look at this work I smile. It is just a happy piece for me. 

I Got A Brand New Pair of Roller Skates by Christine Alfery

I Got a Brand New Pair of Roller Skates remains of my favorite black and white works. A simple act of watching a skit sent to me by a friend on Facebook has become a part of my history, which led to another black and white work Rolling Stones II – a work that was also accepted into 7 national exhibitions. 

Rolling Stones by Christine Alfery

We are living what is to become our history - like the moment caught in that photo of me painting. We don’t know the themes and concepts that will emerge in our lives or which moments will become important – but we do know that each moment will become part of our history. I’m so glad someone caught the first moment of these works that would become part of my history.

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