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Work Samples

Disappearing Cavendish

Disappearing Cavendish, 2017,” Watercolor, archival inkjet print on paper and Plexiglas, 31” x 44

Mangrove Forest

Mangrove Forest, 2017, Watercolor and archival ink print on paper and framing Plexiglas, 31” x 44.75”

Dame de Loche

Dames de Luna 2017, Watercolor, archival inkjet print on paper and framing Plexiglas, 16” x 12”

Coral Ebb

Coral Ebb, 2017, Watercolor and archival ink print on paper and framing Plexiglas, 24.5” x 35”

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About Christine

Baltimore City

Nature has long been the subject of Christine Neill's large mixed-media paintings. She grew up in New England and after initially studied biology at Skidmore College, graduated with a BS in Art. It was a natural transition for her from the examination of biological process in a lab to metaphorically visualizing those processes as imagery in paintings and prints. She dates her interest in the effects of climate change to early studies of the environment. In I971 she earned a MFA at MICA’s Hoffberger... more

Threatened and Endangered

My work chronicles the ephemeral states of the natural world and notes the intersections where environmental and anthropological spheres meet. The works in this project lament the effects of invasive species and environmental changes on human life and imperiled species and observes the reaction of the earth’s habitat to these threats.

  • Coral Ebb

    Coral Ebb, 2017, Watercolor and archival ink print on paper and framing Plexiglas, 24.5” x 35”, The survival of many undersea creatures depends on the steady ebb and flow of ocean tides. Rising sea levels threaten species that live in the intertidal zone. The shapes of the underwater animals and plants are reminiscent of sand flats during tidal changes.
  • DisappearingCavendish

    Disappearing Cavendish, Watercolor and archival ink print on paper and framing Plexiglas, 31” x 44.5”, 2017 Cultivated bananas worldwide are in imminent danger of completely disappearing, damaged by fungal diseases. 500 million people, particularly in developing countries, depend on the fruit as a staple food. The global supply is threatened because industry growers have planted just one species, the Cavendish, across continents. The print on Plexi is a line drawing of a healthy banana and it’s inflorescence.
  • Cloud of Witnesses

    Cloud of Witnesses, 2015, Watercolor, pencil and archival ink jet print on paper 37.5" x 50" Hosts of undesirable invasive species proliferate in the muck of the understory observed by the gigantic leaves of gunnera, which drift above.
  • Just Weeds

    Just Weeds, 2014-15, Watercolor, pencil, archival inkjet print on paper, 30” x 45” While the word 'weed' has negative implications it may simply refer to a wild plant growing in the wrong place. Some become desirable when intentionally cultivated. Many weeds are in fact beneficial, having nutritional and medicinal properties or proving crucial to the survival of insects and flora in a specific habitat. Nevertheless, farmers use toxic pesticides to rid thistle from their fields, simultaneously poisoning the soil where crops are planted.
  • Bloom

    Bloom, 2013-14, Watercolor on aquabord panel & archival ink-jet print, 66" x 30" Well-meaning human decisions can often be credited with introducing invasive species. Pictured are species that were imported to tropical islands to solve agricultural problems but ran amuck: yellow jackets to rid hibiscus flowers of white mites they won't eat; mongoose were brought into the cane fields to eat attack rats. However, rats are nocturnal and mongoose diurnal. Meanwhile, the mongoose decimate small native species and the rats remain.
  • Philo & Palm with Dying Bees.

    Philo and Palm with Dying Bees, 2014, Watercolor and archival ink jet print on clay-board, 14" x 11" Bees, attracted by lush environments, are declining due to multiple risks including increased uses of pesticides, viruses, and loss of habitats. all cause die-off of the hives’ worker bees. Significant economic losses may result because bees depended on to pollinate agricultural crops.
  • Pod Invasive

    Pod Invasive, 2015, Watercolor, archival inkjet print on paper, mounted on panel, 11” x 14” A non-native seedpod, painted in watercolor, sits within layered photographs of the environment which it has invaded and is destroying.
  • Lizard

    Lizard, 2013-14, Watercolor on aquabord panel & archival ink-jet print, 66" x 30" According to recent research climate changes could cause dozens of lizard species to becoming extinct within the next 50 years due to global temperature increases.
  • Lobster

    Lobster, 2013-14, Watercolor on aquabord Panel & archival ink-jet print, 66" x 30" Scientists deduce a crippling shell disease, caused by the breakdown of hard plastics in seawater, is leaving these crustaceans with vulnerable soft shells and affecting the livelihood of fisherman.
  • Pods, Hogweeds and Tents

    Pods, 2013, Watercolor on aquabord panel & archival ink-jet print, 66" x 30" Invasive Asian Water Chestnuts (inedible), painted in watercolor, are precariously stacked against a digital print ground of harmful giant hogweed and caterpillar tents. All three species are non-native and severely threatening the environments in which they have taken hold.

Environmental Antidotes

While the effects of environmental climate changes are well documented and progressive, through collective human effort they can be slowed, possibly reversed.
Using the immediacy of fluid paint mediums in tandem with my own photographs to interpret natural shapes and internal structures, I reference antidotes to the dangers and threats.

  • Mangrove Forest

    Mangrove Forest, 2017, Watercolor and archival ink print on paper and framing Plexiglas, 31” x 44.75” Mangroves trees absorb massive amounts of nutrients, thereby improving water purity and providing crucial assistance to both land and water animals & plants. The forests protect coastlines from storm erosion. Topographic lines from nautical charts are draw in red at the bottom half of the print on the Plexiglas.
  • Kelp Fields

    Kelp Fields, 2015, Watercolor, pencil, & archival ink jet print on paper, 30” x 48” Underwater kelp forests are vigorous ecosystems that provide essential refuge for marine habitats. Presented among the thriving kelp are threatened species that will degrade without protection.
  • Canna Circle

    Canna Circle, 2017, Watercolor and archival ink print on paper and framing Plexiglas, 11” x 14” An Ancient plant with many human uses, canna are also being studied for their ability to eliminate undesirable pollutants in wetlands due to of their tolerance to contaminants. The print on Plexi is a topographical map of farming land.
  • The Other Side of Paradise

    The Other Side of Paradise: 2013, Watercolor & archival digital print on paper and framing Plexiglas, 31" x 44" The stalks and blossoming pods of Strelizia reganie, commonly known as Bird of Paradise, were painted in watercolor and a photo of the leaves and ground was printed onto the painting. Often ignored is the plant’s understory in which the richness of crawling creatures and decay exist, essential to the organisms well being. These are depicted on the framing Plexiglas.
  • Five Stages of thePalm

    Five Stages of the Palm with Bees, 2012-2014, Watercolor, archival inkjet print on paper and framing Plexiglas, 23.5" x 68" Painted stalks, buds and blossoms of a palm tree are layered with a digital photo of palm fronds viewed from above. Palms are simultaneously in the process of reproducing and dying. Healthy swarming bees, crucial to the life cycle of not only palms, but numerous other plants, are printed on the inside of the Plexiglas.
  • Leaf

    Leaf, 2014, Watercolor and archival inkjet print on aqua board, 66” x 30” There is evidence that leafy plants ameliorate the effects of climate change through their dispersal of moisture into the air. It’s theorized that an increase in trees and broad leafed plants could create cloud layers, which would shield the earth from harmful sun rays.
  • Monarch Milkweed

    Monarch Milkweed, 2009, Watercolor & archival Ink-jet print on paper, 41" x 30" The common milkweed, Asclepias syriacia, is crucial for the survival of the majestic monarch butterfly. Preserving milkweed in North America is essential for the survival of monarchs and "to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid additional economic impact on the agricultural sector, and protect the health of the environment."
  • Queen Emma

    Queen Emma, 2011, Watercolor & archival digital print on paper, 41” x 30” Tall stalks of tropical Crinum bear large umbels of showy, scented flowers. All parts are poisonous if ingested, yet are used medicinally in numerous treatments, notably Alzheimer’s disease.
  • 9WildUrbanThistle.jpg

    Wild Urban Thistle, 2016-17, Watercolor, archival inkjet print on paper and Plexiglas, 24.5” x 35” A wild, native thistle was observed growing in the garden of a Baltimore row house, a space that would normally be highly cultivated. The owner values it because it's a native plant and will reseed itself. Indigenous plants preserve biodiversity. Native plants are the basis of life in the region where they evolved. Other life forms depend on them; birds, insects and ultimately humans cannot survive without them.
  • Balance of Substance, Balance ofEssence

    Balance of Substance, Balance of Essence, 2011, Watercolor on paper, 30” x 22” each These stacks of stones balance visually, if not physically, like the balance we try to maintain in our lives, our artistic expressions, our social and political structures. It is crucial for the health of the Earth to achieve a balance within our environment,

Nocturnes

I periodically work with the singular, low lighting found between dusk and dawn. While nighttime is very active in the natural world, human perception slows and changes. Similarly, the process of taking night photographs differs from studio painting in that the nocturns are less direct, cannot be hurried and it's simultaneously an unnerving and fascinating procdure.

  • Dame de Noche

    Dames de Noche, 2017, Watercolor and archival ink print on paper and framing Plexiglas, 16” x 12” Night blooming plants give off specific scents to attract night pollinating insects. Shapes of the moon’s phases, which all living things are subject to, are printed on the inside of the Plexiglas.
  • Night Wings

    Night Wings, 2013, Watercolor, archival ink jet print on paper & Plexiglas, 34" x 47” Many plants are night bloomers and release scents only at dark. Therefore, species of insects adapt their habits to become nocturnal feeders and pollinators. Scented night blossoms are painted in watercolor and surrounded by a print of a night photo. Night pollinating insects and their fight lines are photos printed onto the inside of the Plexiglas.
  • Flight Lines

    Night Wings, 2013, Watercolor, archival ink jet print on paper & Plexiglas ,47" x 34" This orchid dispenses a scent at night, which attracts a specific species of moths that will fertilize the blooms. The painted orchids were surrounded with a night photo of its natural environment. Moths and their fight line have been printed onto the framing Plexiglas.
  • Nineteen At Night

    Nineteen at Night, 2016, Digital Photo, 16" x 20"
    Nineteen at Night, 2016, Digital Photo, 16" x 20" While many of my night photos are taken using existing natural light or moon light, this is an a quiet urban photo of snow-reflected street light.
  • AsphaltLines

    Asphalt Lines, 2016, Digital Photo, 16" x 12"
    Asphalt Lines, 2016, Digital Photo, 16" x 12" Repairs to a side road become an abstract pattern when viewed in dim light.
  • Terraza

    Terraza, 2015, Archival pigmented print, 16" x 20" Using the camera allows me to work with imagery differently than in a painting. While during the day the view from this porch dominates, at night, lit only by a full moon, the geometry of the simple architecture is revealed.
  • Night Bog

    Night Bog, 2014, Archival pigmented print, 16" x 29" A familiar view in daylight is changed when viewed at dusk. I'm drawn to seeing which forms are revealed and which disappear.
  • Night Pool

    Night Pool, Archival pigmented print, 20" x 16" Photographing with the light of a full moon can reveal forms that the eye doesn't see. The subtle orange flash in the upper left was totally unanticipated.

Myth and Metaphore

Using the immediacy of fluid paint mediums in tandem with my own photographs to interpret natural shapes and internal structures, I endeavor to imbue images with metaphorical references to myths and folklore. My practice typically involves scrutinizing the landscape for organic matter that is suggestive of human activity. I line my studio with collected specimens and research their natural history before making a series of drawn studies. The finished drawings and watercolors are layered with archival ink-jet prints.

  • Aechmea Caracas

    Achmea Caracas, 2008, Watercolor & Archival Digital Print on Paper, 43 x 28.5 inches. This protea is native to sub tropical regions. Linnaeus named the genus after the Greek god Proteus, because he could assume many forms. In some cultures the flower represents hope and change. Here the two entwined stalks are backed by a digital photo of the habitat where they grow at the edge of the beach, balancing between an ideal and a devastating environment.
  • Orpheus' Orchid

    Orpheus’ Orchid, 2011, Watercolor & Archival Digital Print on Paper, 47 x 36 inches An unfettered orchid floats in the space of a glass house lit from the upper right, leaving the area below deep in shadows. The composition was influenced by the myth of Orpheus, who went to the underworld seeking to release his wife's from the dead through his musical talent. He lost her irrevocably by failing to obey Hades condition that he must not look back to see if she was following until they had reached the world of the light.
  • Three Days

    Three Days, 2005 Watercolor, 42.25”x 27.5” The buds and seedpods partially hidden behind the stalk of the brilliant blossom of the bottlebrush, Callistemon, reminding us of where it came from and what it will become. The title of this painting comes from Willie Nelson ”...the three days I dream of you, yesterday, today and tomorrow. “
  • Apis and Janis

    Apis & Janus, 2016, Watercolor Monotype, solar plate etching on BFK Rives, 20” x 25” I often work with print process experimentally to explore images symbolically that may be transferable to my large, mixed-media paintings. Among the images combined here are honey bees and a leaf with the common name Janus. True honeybees are a member if the genus Apis, while Janus is the Roman god of beginnings, transitions and endings.
  • Esperanza de Pandora

    Esperanza de Pandora, 2006 Watercolor & Archival Ink Jet Print on Paper, 22” x 29.5” The myth of Pandora recounts that one item, hope, was left inside when she slammed shut the lid of the vessel containing the evils of the world. In this painting we see the colorful forms of the rockweed escaping the dark grasses swirling at its roots.
  • Spirit Stone

    Spirit Stone, 2014-2015, Watercolor, pencil, archival ink jet print on paper, 41” x 27” In many ancient and contemporary cultures stones are embodied with tangible or ephemeral meaning. I observed rocks similar to this image at the Wiamea Botanical Garden on Oahu where a ring of stones had been assembled by early Polynesians to ensure successful growing and fishing.
  • Balance of Chance

    Balance of Chance, 2008, Watercolor on paper, 30” x 22” This painting is from a series of similarly balance stacks of rocks describe by Sedat Pakay as “a tour of "Mending Walls", "Something there is that doesn’t love a wall…" comes to mind. Each stone has it’s own individual beauty while together they are functional, yet mutable structures. The history of cairns, stones used as ballast, mile and tomb markers are also recalled. Utilitarian uses with metaphoric meanings.

Morphology and Phenomena

Morphology, the biological study of the forms and structural relationships of living
organisms, examines similarities and differences between creatures.
Similarly, I'm drawn to phenomena of the biological condition.
The resulting works compare tenuous natural activities with similar human events. It is a reminder that all individuals have a deep-rooted connection to the earth and that similar biological processes bind the natural and human worlds.

  • Morphology, Beach/Beech

    Morphology, Beech/Beach, 2015, Watercolor, pencil, archival inkjet print on paper, 30” x 36” As in the study of morphology, similarities and differences between tree and aquatic shapes, color and texture are explored here. Simple elaborations are coupled to make comparisons.
  • Morphology, Canna/Case

    Morphology, Canna/Case, 2015, Watercolor, pencil, archival inkjet print on paper, 30” x 36” Morphology is the biological study of the forms and structural relationships of living organisms. Explored here are the similarities and differences between parts of a canna plant and milkweed. Dualities are presented as symmetry through repetition or shadow.
  • Monstera Morphology

    Monstera Morphology, 2017 Watercolor, pencil, archival inkjet print on paper and framing Plexiglas, 12” x 16” Morphology, the biological study of the forms and structural relationships of living organisms, examines similarities and differences between creatures. The leaves of the Philodendron and Uva plants pictured here were both marked by insect trails and chewing. The print on Plexi is a layer of cell structures in teal lines.
  • Magnolia Disjuncture

    Magnolia Disjuncture, 2008 Watercolor & Archival Digital Print on Paper, 28.75” x 43.75” Magnolias are indigenous to the East Coast of the United States and a region in East Asia, but no where in between. Disjuncture refers to the pattern of plant distribution and diversification that happened when the super continent Pangaea split and drifted apart. The hand tearing of the paper evokes the division of the continents.
  • Storm Sweet

    Storm Sweet, 2010, Watercolor, archival ink jet print on paper, 25" x 37" Painted pods entwine against a digital photo of ice-covered leaves waiting out the vagaries of winter. The frozen conditions ripen the seeds inside the pods, sweetening them for spring germination.
  • Pendant Magnolia

    Pendant Magnolia. 2012, Watercolor & Archival Digital Print on Paper and framing Plexiglas, 60" x 30" An dissected view of a magnolia blossom was painted in watercolor against a detail of plant cell structures. The entire cell structure was printed on the interior surface of the Plexiglas, echoing the form of the dissected blossom. The two panels are attached to the wall with stainless Standoff mounts. I researched the cell forms in a Polish plant anatomy book.

Photos and Prints

Printmaking is, for me, a parallel processes to my mixed media paintings. It's a way to experiment with composition and ways of using form. In turn, the layered watercolor works influence the prints. I prefer watercolor mono prints and solar plate etching processes because of their less toxic properties. I use the hands-on techniques of painting and drawing, combined with digital photos, to prepare the films necessary to create the plates. I often cut the finished plates into major shapes and minor details allowing me to arrange them into unique compositions for each monoprint.

I take photographs while making on-site studies as an additional way to see imagery. Select photos are combined as grounds in the mixed media pieces.

  • Ancient&Tempora

    Ancient and Temporal, 2016, Solar plate etching, embossing and archival ink jet print on BFK Rives, 26” x 24”, A fragile leaf floats within prints of timeworn coral.
  • Balance of Plants, Fibers

    Balance of Plants, Fibers I, Etching on BFK Rives, 30" x 20" This is a variable Edition of 9; each print shares similar elements with others, while none are the same. Details of plant forms precariously balance while clouds of stones lunaria seeds and iris pods float around them.
  • Balance of Plants, Noir I

    Balance of Plants Noir I,2014, Etching, dry pigments on black BFK Rives, 22 x 30 This is a variable Edition of 5; each print shares similar elements with others, while none are the same. Parts of the images were rubbed with iridescent dry pigments.
  • SplitMagnolia

    Magnolia Section, 1/3, 2012, Etching, archival ink jet print and embossing on BFK RivesPaper, 15"x11" Magnolia Section shows a cross section of an unopened magnolia bud. The interior forms reveal only a few hints of what will develop, a showy, full blossom and bright seedpod. Instead, the forms evoked are more universal in their organic quality. The blue shades are derived from the concentrated colors that apear when a white blossom is suddenly cut open and exposed to air. The cell structures in the ground suggest what might be disclosed if the bud could be dissected further.
  • Fragments, Acanthus I

    Fragments-Acanthus I, 1/1, 2012, Solar Plate Etching, 22 x 15 inches As I often do when building images, I scanned plant forms and adjusted them in Photoshop. For this image I blocked parts of the stem, leaves and seedpods of an acanthus plant with shapes from the bark of to fragment them. The resulting print reveals and hides as it makes a new whole.
  • Think Again

    Think Again, 2014, Etching, Archival Digital Print and Embossing, 28.5" x 30.5" North American honey bees cluster around a disintegrating hive, a symbol of the struggle bees are experiencing due to colony collapse. The bees are solar plate images printed onto BFK Rives that was preprinted with an archival ink jet print of a drawing of a hive.
  • Bromil stripes

    A scan of decaying bromeliad leaves is layered with a photo of the living plant in situ.
  • Cactus cross

    Cactus cross, 2011, Framed archival ink jet prints on Paper & Plexiglas, 23" x 17" A scan of a cactus with roots is layered with a photo of watery reflections. Two digital images layered on top of each other. The top image is printed on the inside of the Plexiglas, the other on mat photo paper; there is a 1/2 inch space between, allowing for a shadow from the front image to fall onto the back photo surface.
  • Cape kelp

    Cape Kelp, 2011, Framed archival ink jet prints on Paper & Plexiglas, 23" x 17" A scan of kelp is layered with a photo it's shadow in water. Two digital images layered on top of each other. The top image is printed on the inside of the Plexiglas, the other on mat photo paper; there is a 1/2 inch space between, allowing for a shadow from the front image to fall onto the back photo surface.
  • Circle bract

    Circle bract,2011, Framed archival ink jet prints on Paper & Plexiglas, 23" x 17" Scans of circular bracts are layered with a photo of bleached sea urchin shells. Two digital images layered on top of each other. The top image is printed on the inside of the Plexiglas, the other on mat photo paper; there is a 1/2 inch space between, allowing for a shadow from the front image to fall onto the back photo surface.

Professional Information

I feel writing about one's work parallels the studio practice. The reflective process of assembling a resume, revising bios and writing about the work helps my ideas evolve.
These documents are always 'in progress'. I've included them here to provide interested viewers the insights of what others and I have recently written in the form of a Current Resume, Narrative Biography, Artist & Curator Essays, lectures and news Reviews.