We’re thrilled to be showcasing Christiana Hodges’ work at Addison West. And what better way to kick things off than with a blog post! We sat down with Chris at her home last week to ask her some questions about her work, her creative process, and life in general. We’re so excited to share her incredible work and passion for the orchard and her art.
So Chris, you come from a really creative family. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Making art was always a central part of living when I was growing up. My earliest memories are of living in New York City in a “loft” and art was something that was explored and always in process within our living space. My father used the cavernous studio to build his sculptures and my sister and I created elaborate cardboard house cities that stretched across the floor. We were witnesses to the creation of art as both personal creative expression and as a serious career path. My mother was an elementary school teacher and made time to teach us to paint, design our own clothes and costumes, create sculptures out of papier mache and cook our own food. On weekends we visited art galleries in our neighborhood, and I remember wandering the quiet rooms and thinking about the pieces and experiencing the artist’s forms. Later, my stepdad encouraged opening our minds to art and using all kinds of things, even what some would call trash! The exploration of art and exposure to artists was a constant in those years and very much remains so today.
How has your own creativity expressed itself over the years?
I’ve always really loved all kinds of art. Right now, I’m loving exploring painting the orchard. It’s has been a favorite muse of mine for the last 30 years. I’m also an avid knitter, sewer, and gardener. My brain always goes back to designing. Landscapes…. Garments… Fabrics… Paintings.
We love your landscape series because of their unique format and feel. How did this series evolve for you?
My recent landscape series paintings evolved from a half a lifetime of walking the paths and roads of our farm. I love to try to record in paint the movement and color and tension between the wild and cultivated.
What is your approach to painting? Or your process?
I usually paint loosely from a memory or a photo from a walk around the farm. And I’ll often start several paintings at once, layering colors that I’ve noticed in the landscape and then building on the shapes. I’m often working on translating the light and shadows amidst the colors. And my paintings can often have four or five layers before I’m happy with the result.
When you’re not painting you have a very full-time job running a farm and apple business. How do you think your day-to-day work connects to your art?
Well, I always need to spend time in our office. But we also live in the orchard. So I’m usually able to get out for a walk or run at the beginning or the end of the day. When I do, I’m always noticing the light and colors. Or watching the wind move through the hedgerows and orchard plantings. All of those moments fuel ideas and inspiration for my paintings.
Do you have any hopes and dreams for 2021 around your work, and maybe life in general, that you’d like to share?
I’m starting a series of ‘bloom’ paintings which I’m excited about. Usually at this time of year I haven’t had enough time to paint this stage of the orchard, but for various reasons I have more time this year and I’m looking forward to sketching and painting out among the bees! I’m also continuing to work on my annual commemorative ‘Harvest’ poster for Sunrise Orchards which I hope to share with visitors to our farm and our website sometime in late summer.
Well, we really can think of no better way to think about 2021 besides BLOOMING! We love that and can’t wait to see more. Thank you SO much!