PERRYSBURG — The sound of the ocean roars through Christine Deemer, whether she’s at home in the city or on vacation at the beach.
The encaustic artist’s eyes sparkle as she talks about her passion for painting and the sea.
“I just love the moment where you go on vacation or you’re in your hometown and the water hits your toes. That is so relaxing to me and I want that moment for more people and for people to appreciate the ocean,” Deemer said.
“We’ve always lived next to the water. The horizon is very therapeutic. The funny thing about waves is that most of the time they come in sets. So three or four waves will come in and then there will be a lull for a minute and that’s kind of like life. You get knocked around three or four times and then you get a lull to catch your breath. And to me you can either dive in them (waves) or get crashed around if you aren’t paying attention. It’s such a great lesson teacher if you make an analogy out of it.”
Growing up in southern California, Deemer first began experiencing the ocean right within her hometown.
“I lived there for about 16 years and then my dad had a job change and we moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado. I lived there for 18 years and I got an undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado in fine arts, I was doing oil painting but in school they dabble you in everything, so I was kind of really enjoyed clay, ceramics and stuff like that.”
Deemer said her childhood in California served as an introduction to art.
“The fun thing about California schools is that even the public schools is kind of art oriented. So they have like movie symbolism class, and just little things like that. The level of arts are little bit more dabbled in, in California.”
Deemer decided to pursue her master’s degree after taking eight years after earning her undergraduate degree in Colorado.
“I … went back to school for a MBA because I knew in the arts you’re either a starving artist or you kind of had to figure out the business of art so I wanted to do gallery management to be around art all the time. I got my MBA and met my second husband and soon after we met and married we went to South East Iowa and we lived there for three years and then he had a job opportunity to move to the Netherlands in Europe. And so we lived there for two years.”
During her time in Netherlands, Deemer said that she enrolled in an art class that revolutionized the way that she considered herself as a artist, as well the ways in which she approached creating art.
“I really started picking up a paintbrush again. I didn’t have a work visa to work in the Netherlands so I was riding my bicycle around the corner and found that a husband and wife artist were opening up a studio to teach classes. I stopped and was like “would you teach an American?” It was portrait painting which I’m the weakest at. I was one of 20 students, 19 of them Dutch.”
Deemer said that no matter the location she prioritizes finding an art community to engage with.
“Wherever I go, I get involved with the art centers. Like in Iowa I was the director of the children’s education program and that’s also where I went back to school one more time and got a master’s degree in museum studies from Western Illinois and that was fun.”
Her love for encaustics first began after witnessing a fellow artist exhibition.
“I’ve been doing it just a little over two years. I did it once and got addicted to it. I was hanging (pieces) at an art show and Katheryn Housepian walked in and she had a bunch of pieces that she had put a bunch of photos onto a piece of board and covered it with encaustics. And I was like ‘you got to teach me how to do this.’
After she attended a class at Way Public Library she was completely sold on the art form.
She now teaches classes all over Northwest Ohio, including the Art Supply Depo in Bowling Green. Encaustic painting uses hot wax.
“People really gravitate to it because it’s not like anything that they’ve ever done. There’s something really organic about it because the medium is bees wax and tree resin mixed together. Then you add oil pigments, which is an organic product and shellac, if you do shellac burns. You paint that one and set that on fire,” she aid.
“Everytime you do a layer you have to heat it or fuse it to the layer below it. You’re building up layer, layer layer and the ceramics behind it kicks in because you’re building texture.”
When Deemer creates, she wants to invoke passion.
“That’s what art is about. Even if you hate it and you’re looking at a piece like ‘I don’t like it.’ Why not? Does it make you feel anxious, does it make you angry? That’s what art is,” she said. “It’s supposed to give you an emotion, good, bad or ugly. For artists, we’re also pouring out our feelings because when you create art you lost track of time and you’re just following out of this good energy. You’re putting all of this beauty that’s in you into this piece whether it makes it out of your gallery or not.”