Eric Christensen began painting professionally in 1992. Since that time he has enjoyed amazing success and a growing reputation as a celebrated Wine Country Artist. Self-taught, he invented a watercolor technique that allows him to create images of vibrant color that go beyond the look and depth of a high quality photograph. Christensen now finds himself unique in his field. In fact he is the only known artist capable of hyperrealism through the use of standard watercolor.
Christensen began to develop his interest in painting, as well as botany, classical music, and gourmet cooking as a child in Salt Lake City, Utah. Over time he has acquired a commanding knowledge in each of these fields, which has blended to make him the preeminent artist of today. In addition to his interests, Christensen also derives inspiration from the wine country surrounding his home, which is invariably portrayed in his paintings. As Christensen asserts, “it’s about the lifestyle”.
Once he realized that he could concentrate his passion for painting into a career, Christensen opened his own Art Gallery in Yountville, California, a small picturesque town in the heart of the Napa Valley. This venture proved very successful netting Christensen exposure in national magazines and newspapers and a national television spot on “WINE COUNTRY LIVING”. Christensen however, decided to close his gallery in 2003, allowing him to devote his full attention to painting. Christensen continues to paint stunning images that remind us of the Wine Country lifestyle and delight those who collect his art.
Christensen’s “wine art” begins where most contemporary wine artists leave off. Eric loves to capture the romance of the wine country, which he points out, “is so much more than just the wine”. Collectors of Christensen’s art typically own several of his creations and enjoy the varied themes they portray; lifelike landscapes and intimate still life paintings that incorporate a variety of elements including food, flowers or fruit with appropriate background settings.
Style and Technique
By “pushing” watercolor paint to its absolute limits, Christensen has invented a new way to paint with this traditional medium. Using non-standard watercolor paper and employing a dry-brush technique, Eric starts out with thin washes then builds meticulously to over 30 subsequent layers of paint. You can actually see the build-up of the paint layers when you look closely at his originals. Eric’s technique allows him to achieve much stronger colors and shadows than can be found with traditional watercolor art; his paintings actually appear more like an oil painting on canvas.
Christensen achieves his lifelike hyper-realistic images through his genius for understanding the technical aspects of his subjects and his dedication to capturing an image as it truly exists. His love of natural materials particularly flowers; fruits and vegetables also combine to make this possible. He possesses the stunning ability to paint the subtleties of light traveling through a flower petal or its reflection off a wine glass. Composition is one more factor that sets Christensen’s paintings apart. Each painting is a study in the balance between texture, height and shape. The placement of objects in his paintings must all make sense and represent a scene found in real life; in a kitchen, a wine cellar, or in the vineyard.