Christine Bigmore


Christine Bigmore

Christine Bigmore was born and brought up in Surrey, with a powerful desire to draw and paint from an early age, encouraged by a family who all enjoyed painting, drawing and other creative pastimes. Her strength in this area showed itself from an early age. At school she continued to develop in artistic ability, winning a Senior prize for Art. She continued her studies at Croydon College of Art and Design, where she gained A levels in Practical Art and History of Art.

At this stage, economic necessities dictated that she find employment instead of furthering her artistic studies. Various clerical posts gave her experience that helped in her next employment, a job that utilised the creative knowledge and experience gained at college. She arranged for the production of postage stamp issues for overseas governments. This included the commissioning of artwork and the checking of proofs, through to the printing and despatch; an eye for detail was invaluable. It was a creative job and one that brought her into direct contact with commercial artists and their work, planting in her a seed of confidence that she was capable of producing comparable work.   Christine left work in 1990 to concentrate on her new family, but she still yearned for artistic fulfilment. As soon as she was able, she enrolled at evening classes and continued them for approximately 6 years, studying Figure and Portrait drawing and painting, watercolour and oil painting techniques. Within months of starting evening classes she began receiving commissions for a wide variety of artwork. She made it her policy to undertake any subject in any medium as she felt that only by taking on new challenges and working through them would she learn and improve her craft. She also took further tutelage where time permitted, which included courses at the City Literary Guild in Fleet Street, The Mall Galleries and the Royal College of Art. All through this time she had a steady flow of commissions. She completed works of subjects ranging from portraiture through to wildlife and children’s book illustrations. In 1998 she was asked by a gallery to produce a Still life painting, she enjoyed the subject greatly, the painting was very well received and the gallery soon had a waiting list for Christine’s work. she had found her niche.” When painting a Still Life you find yourself immersed in the huge variety of colours, forms and details that can so easily be taken for granted. I love the fact that I can reach out and feel the surfaces, smell the cheese, drink the wine! I enjoy the challenge of portraying all those different textures.”

For Christine, a painting starts with the challenge of achieving a balanced set up, the right collection of pieces in the correct positioning to give the composition balance and harmony. To create a picture that could be part of an everyday life, perhaps suggesting a narrative, a story of what might be. Christine is very much inspired by the 17th Century Dutch Still Life painters and has spent many hours in galleries scrutinising paintings in order to understand how an artist has achieved an effect. Whether it is the depth and lustre of a pewter tankard, the soft melting of a camembert or the firm ripeness of a grape, she loves the challenge and has the determination to rise to it. She is fascinated by the interplay of one object to another, this is especially clear when reflections are meticulously shown on for example a glass, where a picture within a picture reveals itself, the view of her studio and the still life itself from the glass.

Working on her own, she takes a pride in solving the problems inherent in detailed work such as this. There are always new solutions to be found and she feels that it sometimes seems that there is a magic in the paint when a picture starts to take on a depth and life of its own. Each painting takes at least 3 months to produce and consists of many layers of oil colour. By painting this way, she introduces the richness and depth of colour that she aims for to give her work a sense of reality and to show the beauty of what can be everyday objects.  In 2010 Christine was presented with the Barbara Tate Award by HRH Princess Michael of Kent, patron of the Society of Women Artists for her painting “Lincolnshire Poacher”. Christine’s work has been exhibited in several UK galleries and can be found in private collections in Europe, the US and South Africa. Her work has featured in “Country Life”, “Mayfair”, “Artists and Illustrators”, “Richmond” and “Surrey Downs” magazines. “