All Calm on West Falmouth Harbor
Artist Christie Velesig is using her talents to bring moments of peace and calm to the crazy world we live in.
Imagine a world where the waters are always calm, the boats are freshly painted and the world around you is at peace. While this might seem like a fantasy for some, one look at Christie Velesig’s peaceful paintings will instantly transport any viewer to a quieter place. The Mashpee based artist has been providing art lovers with moments of calm for years through her charming series of wooden boats on peaceful waters, with whimsical names and eye-catching colors.
After admiring artists for years, Velesig began painting in 1980, but exploring art hadn’t always been an option. Attending parochial elementary school and a high school that didn’t foster the arts, it wasn’t until Velesig started at the University of Louisville that she met a woman on her dorm floor who was an artist. Fascinated, Velesig would watch the artist work and it became the catalyst for a lifelong passion. After graduating, Velesig got married and moved to the Cape, attending Cape Cod Community College, where she attended every single art course available to students. And 10 years later, she began teaching there. Velesig has been able to share her passion for painting by teaching at not only Cape Cod Community College, but also at the Cahoon Museum of American Art, the Falmouth Artist Guild, the Cape Cod Guild of Fine Art, Chatham Creative Arts Center, and Woodruff Gallery, as well as hosting plein air and still life workshops across New England.
Velesig describes her work as “painterly realistic.” “Sometimes people tell me ‘Oh your paintings almost look like a photograph,’ because they’re realistic, but when you look closely, they really are painterly,” she says. But it’s been a journey to her current style and subjects. She began painting in a pointillist watercolor style which transitioned into traditional watercolor. She now works mainly in oils. “When I first started painting, I was painting everything; landscapes, portraits, I did pretty much anything and everything, I just loved it,” she recalls. “I believe it was in 2002 that I discovered some boats down by Ropes Beach that were just gorgeous and I would go very early in the morning. I loved the calm reflections in the water and started painting those, only in oil, and just took off.” But Velesig quickly realized there are challenges that arise when an artist’s subjects can float away. “One time I went to paint at West Falmouth Harbor, I had my painting half-finished, and the people got into the boat and drove away,” she laughs. “After that, I decided I would go out and take a lot of photos and at least have those as a back-up and paint from that.”
Velesig’s subjects of choice are the boats she finds floating in the water, though other motifs spring up occasionally. Without fail, whatever the subject, Velesig’s work imparts a classic Cape aura that brings peace to all who view them. But she’ll always come back to her boats. “I just love the wooden boats. I do commissions of fiberglass ones when people want it but for my own personal enjoyment, I love wooden boats. I name the boats myself; I do a lot of commissions and some of the names people come up with are interesting. I often will paint two boats with matching names, so maybe one is named ‘Making Waves’ and the other is ‘Don’t Rock the Boat.’”
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