My name is Christine McKechnie and I was born 1943, and trained at Southampton and Kingston Schools of Art in the early sixties.
I started making collages in 1968 and my early work in this medium employed bold decorative papers, including foil among many others. I now use almost exclusively, hand-painted Ingres and cartridge paper. This is cut, applied and layered, employing many hundreds of pieces to produce unique pictures.
These are mostly Suffolk landscapes, pieces depicting my garden or inspired by places I have visited on holiday.and I was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy Summer Show in the eighties and nineties; in 1983 I won a special award for my work with paper. My pictures feature in many private and some public collections. An article about my work in ‘Leisure Painter’ led to a commission for a book on the art of paper collage from Search Press Ltd.
Since then I have become a regular contributor to both ‘The Artist’ and ‘Leisure Painter’. I have demonstrated collage on Granada television, and carried out projects with children in primary schools following my attendance at an ‘Artist in Education’ course given by Essex County Council. I have carried out a successful village sign for the nearby village of Worlingworth, and a lottery funded community maze and scarecrow project with the villagers of Worlingworth and Southolt where I live.
I always use Artists' Watercolours for painting my papers, and permanent white gouache when I need to create an opaque colour, but please ensure that water colour paintings of any kind are never hung in a strong light. I stick my papers, using heavy-duty wallpaper paste, to '6 sheet' acid-free mounting board 'balanced' with brown wrapping paper. So far and I have been using this system for more than 30 years it has never given me problems. I always seal my pictures against dust and insects by mounting them, backing them with hardbard, and framing them behind glass.
One of the qualities of my pictures apart from being that of an extremely elaborate watercolour, is their texture and sense of depth coming from the build up of papers, from the large first sheets blocking in the composition, to smaller pieces outlining the form to the tiniest pieces showing detail; the result of my technique and materials used.
I live in a pink thatched cottage in Southolt, a tiny village in a remote part of North East Suffolk, 4 miles from the town of Eye and 5 miles from the village of Debenham, where my husband has based his architectural practice. The cottage overlooks fields, and I have a long garden parallell to the road which is a source of back ache but constant delight - at the end of this my husband has built me a studio which is introvert enough to enable me to concentrate on my work.