Christie Markins finds time for art with small scale paintings

Toddler Self-portrait by Christie Markins, guest artist at Louise's ARTiculations
Toddler Self-portrait, colored pencil (1997)

I’m a self-taught artist who enjoys working with a variety of media. Ink and watercolor are my favorites, followed by gouache and acrylic paint. Everyday objects and vintage items that evoke feelings of nostalgia are my favourite subjects to paint.

The demands of family life and teaching high school leave me with little free time, so I’m enjoying the sense of accomplishment that comes from making small drawings and paintings.

I’ve also found that working on a small scale helps tame perfectionism because I can only fit so much detail into the space before being forced to move on.

Little People by Christe Markins, guest artist at Louise's ARTiculations
Little People. 5" x 7" acrylic painting (2017). Toys and house objects are some of my favorite subjects to paint.

Tiny Treats in London, Paris, and Brooklyn Art Library

My smallest project to date is a 2.3” x 1.6” tiny sketchbook titled Tiny Treats. After being shown in London and Paris last summer as part of a mobile exhibit, the tiny sketchbook became part of the Brooklyn Art Library’s permanent collection. Follow me on Instagram to see the inside of my tiny sketchbook and more.

Christie Markins’ early years

Christie Markins, guest artist at Louise's ARTiculations
Artist photo - January 2020 - in my high school art room

I’ve always loved making art. As a child, I did a lot of drawing and placed in several elementary school art contests. My school district only offered high school level art classes, so I was in heaven when I finally got to 10th grade. My favorite medium was colored pencil, and I loved the challenge of creating detailed portraits of family members.

Time marched on and life kept me busy enough that it was easy to justify not being able to squeeze in art. I went to college, got married, started a career, went back to college, had children, and then found myself knee-deep in graduate school.

Ever practical, I think that I turned to hobbies like knitting, crocheting, and cake decorating during those years. They were creative outlets that also yielded functional products.

In graduate school, I studied Gifted Education and gained invaluable perspective on perfectionism, self-esteem issues, and unrealistic expectations.

Looking back, I realized that feeling inadequate - specifically that I would never be good enough at art - was what kept me away for so long. Today, I’m grateful to have rediscovered my passion for art and to have gained enough confidence to push through the hard parts.

A fresh start

In 2015, I stumbled across Instagram. I was 35 at the time and not big into social media so I don’t even remember what drew me there. However, the welcoming community of artists was exactly what I needed in my life. Admiring the art of others and learning I wasn’t the only one trying to overcome feelings of isolation and self-doubt helped me ease back into art.

Art challenges motivate Christie Markins

First, I participated in an Art Everyday Month (AEDM) challenge. After that, my goal was to create something every day, but I also had to have the grace to give myself a break when life was legitimately too busy.

Fortunately, the more art I painted, the more I wanted to continue. I’ve found that taking on a week or month-long challenge is a good way to prioritize art for a defined amount of time.

Our First Home by Christie Markins, guest artist at Louise's ARTiculations
Inktober- Our First Home, pen & ink (2018)

Some of my favorite challenges have been Inktober and Mel Doty’s Square-a-thons. The friendships that have grown out of them are a heartwarming bonus of stepping out of my (introverted) comfort zone.

Future plans

From here, my plan is just to keep on trucking. I love making art and probably have more ideas than I’ll ever get around to executing.

I’ve always hesitated to call myself an artist because I don’t sell art, but the title is feeling more and more comfortable.

Art is part of who I am and something that I never want to lose sight of again. It’s not easy to carve out time to create, but it’s so worthwhile!

I recently submitted a sketchbook to The Brooklyn Art Library for Volume 14 of their Sketchbook Project. (Here is a youtube video about the Sketchbook Project). Currently, I have art on display as part of an exhibit in a local museum.

Recently, I made Valentines for my husband and kids out of old book pages. Six years ago, it started out as a whimsical idea and has become a fun family tradition. This summer I want to work on getting better at acrylic painting and plan to use Pez dispensers and other toys that belonged to my children for inspiration.

FUN FACTS:
  • My favorite artist is Wayne Thiebaud.
  • We have a pet Cockatiel named Smokey.
  • Most of the time I have 2 books going - one to read and an audiobook to listen to while exercising.
  • I’ve only parted with a small amount of my artwork over the years.
  • I raise butterflies.
  • Labyrinth will always be one of my favorite movies.
  • I am on Ravelry 

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Join a 28 day challenge...

Why not illustrate your own tiny sketches?  The Brooklyn Art Library now has an art challenge for all of us who might be looking for inspiration for our art during these troubles times.

Here is the information posted on their website:

Join our NEW 28 day challenge and get an automatic email EVERY day for 28 days with a creative prompt. In order to make this accessible to everyone, we are making this a 'Pay What You Wish' model! You can sign up for free, or help to support Brooklyn Art Library during these tough times and make a donation! Anything is appreciated. Please allow 24 hours for the first email to be sent.

 

Share your story and art with my readers!

If you would like to share your creative story here, please contact me and I will send you an information letter with the requirements for appearing in this space. I publish two artists/creatives each month. Presently, I am always looking for artists/creatives for future posts.

To view other artists who have been featured on my website in the last 2.5 years, please visit the Guest Artist page.

I am grateful for all the talented, productive artists and creatives from all over the world (photographer, author...) who have appeared on Louise's ARTiculations.

Many of them remain in my circle of friends on social media sites, and some, I have even met in person.

I’d love to hear what you have to say...