I’m proud to share this post from Rochester Woman Magazine by Jenn Bergin. The article is a great interview about Christine Waara, a talented artist from Rochester, we’ve participated together at the Rochester Art Club Studio exhibit and at the Clothesline Art Festival, here in Rochester. Congratulations Chris!
WOMEN ENTREPRENEUR: Pursuing Her Passion
BY JENN BERGIN | PHOTOS BY RITA LAVECK
Growing up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, artist Christine Waara developed a deep appreciation of nature and beauty. She fondly recalls the smell of pine trees and a rainy day, and has always loved the sight and smell of a box of Crayola crayons.
“As a kid, when anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said – an artist,” says Waara.
She attended Northern Michigan University and earned a degree in Speech Communication, although every elective she took was in art. Upon graduation, Waara and her husband moved to Rochester. She fell in love with the local landscape and culture, and began a successful career in marketing and sales. Yet she never forgot her first love – painting.
“Being an artist is all about learning to see,” says Waara. “Once you can identify how you feel, you paint from your heart as well as from your head.”
The couple started a family, and Waara decided to stay home to raise their two sons. She nurtured her natural creativity through gardening, hosting themed birthday parties, and taking art classes. Once her children started school full-time, Waara faced a crossroads and had to decide whether to return to her career in marketing and sales, or pursue her passion.
She chose to follow her “authentic path” and is now living the dream she’s had since she was seven years old.
With a little push and a lot of support from husband, Waara “began calling herself an artist” and started her business, the Christine Waara Studio. Her teacher and mentor, local artist Wendy Gwirtzman, had helped her to develop her skill, build the confidence to submit work and encouraged her to get involved in the local art community. Waara now has a complete gallery available online and sells original watercolor painting, pastels, prints and creative cards all over the world.
From her bright and peaceful in-home studio, she creates works commissioned by request and to add to her gallery. Her paintings are currently on display at the Assisi Institute and will be featured at a Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra show in June. She also teaches painting and has created instructional videos, which are available for developing artists. Her note cards, prints and tiles are not only sold through her website, but at local events, such as the Clothesline Arts Festival, as well as at Fairport Pharmacy and The Artful Gardener.
“My gift is my art, that’s who I am,” says Waara. “I knew that if I pursued that – things would just happen, they would fall in place for me.”
Like many artists, Waara is inspired by nature. Her ability to live consciously and ever “in the moment” allows her to notice the light on objects, how it creates shadows to makes things come alive and vibrant colors. She has a keen ability to “see beauty where people might just pass by and not even notice.” Her deep sense of self, allows her to fluidly express herself creatively.
“The quality of my work is not necessarily about the outcome or the technique – it’s about how I feel,” says Waara.
Waara teaches at the University of Rochester’s Creative Workshop at the Memorial Art Gallery, works with gifted art students at Fairport and Hilton High Schools as an “Artist in Residence,” and helps young artists develop portfolios and offers private instruction.
She also teaches art in nursing homes and is partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association to offer art therapy to help patients and caregivers communicate, and as an outlet for the expression of feelings that are no longer easy to communicate with words.
“You’re never too old or too young to create,” she says.
While family will always remain her priority, Waara looks forward to having more time to focus on her career, with both of her sons in college next year. Inspired by culture and travel, Waara hopes to teach beginner painting in different parts of the world. She believes in “thinking big.”
“It’s not about where I came from it’s about where I’m going,” says Waara.