Christa Forrest: Unleashing the Goddess

Christa Forrest: Unleashing the Goddess

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portraitOne of this month’s Art Buzz profiles features a painter of landscapes, still lifes and portraits who is new to Paradise City. Christa Forrest taps deeply into the core of her spirit, creating painterly works that are infused with feeling. She shares her musings about her art and her goals in the following interview.

What is your artistic background?
I was always a creative soul. When I was a little girl, I found every opportunity to be imaginative and artistic. I would daydream for hours, looking up into the clouds, watching them transform into figures and animals. I would tug at my great-grandmother’s sleeve to allow me to sew my own designer fashions for my dolls on her old Singer sewing machine. On Sundays, I would cut out the fashion illustrations from the New York Times and color them. After high school I attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and wanted to be a fashion designer. But my path led me into a different direction and I ended up with a career in finance.

oil paintingWhen did you begin painting?
I’ve been working as an artist for eight years. After leaving my career in finance about two years ago, I became a full time painter. I started out painting in pastels and oils. I was traveling, so chronicling my travels in a realistic style made sense to me. But I was feeling frustrated with my process and decided to “let loose” for awhile to boost my confidence and loosen up my technique. I started experimenting with abstraction, and discovered that I was able to approach my landscapes with much more confidence. Realism and abstraction – I do need both – have become my ying and yang. I can’t create one without the other. I have a split personality when it comes to my art!

salt marshes pastelsHow did you balance realism and abstraction… what techniques did you use?
My technique is very intuitive, and I’m not afraid of experimenting. I began with abstract floral paintings. Just applying paint to the canvas, listening to music and seeing what happened – sometimes even blindfolded! It was life changing and I began to explore shapes and movement. This process lent my realistic oils and pastels a new vibrancy. I loved the new approach; I moved more, I was less worried about applying the brush to canvas or if a certain color was right. I allowed myself to trust the process and let it happen. This gave me more confidence and I felt a new sense of invigoration as I painted.

pastel1You also use the female form in some of your paintings.
Yes, I’m very excited about my new Goddess Series. These are portraits, created to empower, using mixed media elements and objects to create a story. I always ask these questions: “Your inner Goddess, what defines her? Where do her strengths emerge from? What inspires her to be the Goddess she is?” I feel almost childlike as I create a beautiful female image and dress her up. The Goddess image has had a deep and significant effect on my creative process.

creative souls paintingDo you have any specific goals for your art or career? Or any special projects that you’ve always wanted to do?
I want to help others tap into art through a series of workshops, both online and in person, to unleash their own “Creative Soul”. Many of us feel stuck, stressed and overwhelmed with daily life. We need an outlet to release these negative feelings. Creativity nourishes your soul and helps create an atmosphere of relaxation and output. I am creating one workshop where you are guided to create your own mixed media goddess art. Using your own meaningful objects and collage elements, you will create an image that tells a story that has been hidden deep inside you.
It has been an amazing transformation. I truly enjoy sharing these stories when I exhibit my work at shows. My booth becomes part of my journey, and I invite my visitors join me in this transformative experience!

Christa Forrest is a first-time exhibitor at both Paradise City Arts Festivals this fall. She lives in Connecticut, and looks forward to showing her paintings to a new and appreciative audience. Want to watch her work? Christa will be posting a new video weekly on her YouTube channel and website.