Member Profile

Christina-Wilke-portraitChristina Wilke

I have been painting or drawing for the best part of my life and I have painted in a number of mediums. Before I had children I painted in oil, but when I became pregnant the smell of the oils and the solvents made me sick and gave me headaches so I gave them up. I graduated to water based acrylics and fabric paints while the children were young, then when they started school I did a course in Chinese brush painting. After that I did ceramics and painted with under glaze, glaze and on-glaze, becoming a member of the Victorian Hobby Ceramics Association, then a member of the committee (Newsletter editor for 4 years), a teacher and eventually a judge.

When my husband Harry and I moved to Healesville, I started painting Porcelain Dolls (mostly modern dolls) and in 2009 I started China Painting.

Royal Melbourne Show 1st Prize: Any Other Design Other Than Birds and Animals

Royal Melbourne Show 1st Prize: Any Other Design Other Than Birds and Animals

What inspired you to begin?
In 1995 I did my VCE at the Ferntree Gully Women’s Co-Op, Living and Learning Centre. On the mantle piece of one of the rooms was a plate that was china painted with a rose which was so soft and beautiful and I promised myself that one day I would learn to paint like that; I can still see the plate.

Do you have any painting disaster stories you can share with us?
Many disasters over the years, but the one that I remember most clearly is the latest. I painted a pair of Tigers, a Bengal and a white Bengal and I was so happy with it. It was in for the second from last fire and I was so keyed up about it that I opened the kiln before it had cooled completely. Normally this wouldn’t matter so much, but it was minus 2 degrees, and I had left the garage door open, so when I opened the kiln and took the piece out, it cracked right down the middle of the white tiger. The good news is that I finished the piece and had it framed and you can’t see where the crack is, but I know it is there.

Do you have a favourite style of painting or a preferred painting medium?
I like to look at all styles of painting, but when it comes to doing the painting I enjoy pen work, it’s a relaxation for me, and I also like to paint portraits and animals, particularly big cats. Painting mediums – I will try them all and choose when I have made up my mind, if I don’t go senile first!

Which painting books are your bibles?
I don’t have a bible, all books have something in them that may or may not be useful, I read as much as I can and luck has it that I retain a lot; I use what I need and store the rest.

How do you keep motivated?
Motivation is not a problem for me, time is because I have done art all of my life – everything I see is a potential for painting or drawing.

What advice would you give to beginners?
Try it all, go to workshops, seminars, watch videos, ‘YouTube’ is great. Try out different teachers until you find the right teacher and the right style of painting for you.

What inspires you to paint?
When the mood takes me I paint. It is usually when the house work needs doing, so sometimes I have to wait until I have done it, then I reward myself by painting.

Name the artist(s) whose work you adore?
There are so many, I don’t have one single artist, I admire all art, not just Porcelain Art. I love many of the old masters, but not Picasso, I don’t like all the sharp angles.

Please tell us your favourite quote?
There are so many, but the one I use the most would be “Careful what you do, it will come back to you three fold”.