Menifee Art Instructor Christie Starr Featherstone Honored
By Arts Council Menifee
Christie Starr Featherstone has studied and worked with all paint mediums, starting with watercolors and printmaking in the 1970s. These days she only paints with acrylics. Featherstone now teaches acrylics to others with her “Learn to Paint Like the Masters” series, and the local art organization in Menifee couldn’t be happier.
“Not only is Ms. Featherstone a long-time patron member of Arts Council Menifee who often displays her talents in our art shows and gallery, she also has recently committed to serving as one of our art instructors,” said Bill Zimmerman, Arts Council Menifee Board Trustee.
The Menifee artist is teaching free classes to beginners as well as artists who want to continue to grow, brush up or learn new skills at Menifee’s Kay Ceniceros Community Center, North Annex. Her ability to help others find or hone their own talents is one of the reasons Featherstone is being honored as Artist of the Month for June by Arts Council Menifee.
“The challenge about teaching is that I want to share my knowledge and expertise to those who want to learn to paint,” she said. “I want all students to be successful and above all else have fun. There is no right or wrong, only freedom for artistic expression. I am most happy when students get excited about what they are learning.”
Not only a painter, Featherstone takes fine art photographs and some of her earliest memories of being creative came from that outlet.
“I was eight years old when my grandfather gave me my first camera and some rolls of film,” she recalled. “He was an amateur photographer of some renown. I have always used my camera to record my life and that of my family as it evolved.”
Her subject matter, whether for a painting or a photograph, changes by whatever captures her attention at the time.
“For me, everything disappears except for that image in the focus of the lens,” Featherstone explains. “The process itself becomes an exercise in observation. The final result is sometimes a stroke of luck. When I discover that special image, I am often inspired to paint it, or display it in the form of a fine art photograph.”
Featherstone loves to travel and has been to Alaska and Europe and lived in the Middle East for a while.
“While there, I traveled to Abu Dhabi and Pakistan, and spent time in Spain,” she said. “Every place I visit is exotic and filled with inspiration to photograph or paint. My favorite destination is always where I am.”
Although she studied fine arts in college, there came a time in her life when she needed to focus on making money. She started displaying her art at street shows in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco but not all her trips were successful. She needed to expand her training to be more marketable.
“At that time, UC, San Diego was the only college in that area to offer a commercial art course. It was a two-year certificate program. I completed it in 14 months and was hired to work as a technical illustrator for a publishing company even before I was done,” Featherstone said. “In those days computers were just coming into the workplace. We did all the illustrations by hand with a Rapidograph Technical Pen with black India ink and a ‘Lazy LUCY’ for enlarging and reducing images.”
Eventually, Featherstone moved into the field of advertising and worked at several large agencies in San Diego. After becoming a production manager, she began organizing and producing projects for such clients as the San Diego Padres and Jazzercize.
Eventually she started her own company, Featherstone Communications, specializing in the biotechnology field.
“I especially found it rewarding to work with companies on the cutting edge of finding a cure for cancer and other diseases,” she said.
The award-winning artist earned a first place ribbon for her photograph “The Wedding Bed” at Arts Council Menifee’s juried art show last November.
Featherstone’s “Paint Like the Masters” series will focus on Claude Monet for the month of June and Henri Matisse in July. Two sessions each month will cover acrylic painting techniques, principles of art and painting styles and provide students with a completed painting as well as some art history facts.
The classes, designed to promote health and wellness through the arts, are free to the public thanks to grant funding from Valley Health System’s “Community Health Investment Program” that can be used to pay for art supplies and stipends to instructors for programs that promote fitness, wellness and a healthy lifestyle.
“We are very pleased that Ms. Featherstone will be teaching art classes as part of our new free program,” Zimmerman said.
For information about Featherstone’s future shows or painting classes, call 951-746-8026 or email email@example.com.