Mixed Media: The Children's Art of Vermont Artist Christine Mix

Third Installment in a Series Honoring Renowned Artists and Illustrators

Third installment in a series honoring renowned artists and illustrators.
WESTON, VERMONT – Welcome to the wonderful and whimsical children’s art world of Christine Mix. An illustrator, painter, designer and author, the Dayton, Ohio-native, who now resides in scenic Weston, Vermont, has cultivated a unique niche in the competitive world of commercial illustration.

Article by Joe Milliken * Photos courtesy of Christine Mix

Growing up in Connecticut during the mid-70s, Chris was compelled to create art from an early age, and indulged in a variety of mediums and activities including drawing, painting, creating with clay and writing poems and stories. “I loved to draw early on, I did a few paint-by-number paintings and my parents hired a local artist to give me lessons,” Mix recently told SRO.

“As a young girl, I was most influenced by comics, cartoons and animated specials on television. Some of my favorites were Warner Bros, Hanna Barbara, Bugs Bunny cartoons, Disney, Charles Schultz and the Charlie Brown comics, How The Grinch Stole Christmas and the Raskin/Bass Productions animated-claymation Christmas specials. Those holiday specials were my favorites and a huge inspiration to me growing up.”

Chris’ interest in art continued to grow and after high school, she received a painting scholarship and studied at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida. During her college experience, which also included studies at Coker College (Hartsville, SC) and the University of South Florida, Christine continued to expand her horizons while studying painting, sculpture, photography, cinematography and theater arts, a diverse curriculum that would serve her well in the future.

“It was just after I graduated from the University of South Florida in 1988, with a B.A. in Fine Arts in Fine Arts and another in Mass Communications, that I painted my first children’s illustration in watercolor, titled Spike & Wordo’s Magical Wish (pictured). Hence, Spike the Dragon was born and I realized I had found my niche in art and my future!

“After graduation, I worked at Honeywell as an audio-visual tech/photographer/videographer, before relocating (in Florida) to work in theater as a scenic painter by day and lighting and spot light technician at night. During that time, I also worked on my own illustrations and stories, submitted to children's publishers, joined the Society of Children's Illustrators and Writers, and started working freelance with local decorators and designers. I also worked on decorating holiday displays at Bloomingdales in Palm Beach.”

Over time, however, and although she enjoyed her time in Florida, Chris missed the northeast and wanted to return to New England. “I was really missing New England and also realized I needed to be closer to New York City and the children’s publishing industry. In the late 90s I had the opportunity to move to Vermont and I grabbed it, and it has turned out to be a great move.

“Before I left Florida, I had a bad case of tendinitis in my hands and lost the use of them for almost a year. My doctor had seen my illustrations and said ‘No more painting the big things and standing on ladders. I want to see you work on those lovely little children’s illustrations that you love so much. It’s safer and that that’s what you need to be doing anyway.’ So, I took her advice. Since moving to Vermont, I've painted a few murals and some furniture here and there, but, I have found tremendous support and a market for my illustrations in publishing, galleries, art shows, and I also have my own etsy.com store.”

Mix’s illustrations and watercolor paintings have been exhibited in several galleries including the Book Culture/Book Expo America in New York City, the Chaffee Art Center in Rutland, Vermont, the Southern Vermont Center in Manchester, Vermont, the Cluster Arts Center in Londonderry, Vermont and the Poe Park Museum in Bronx, New York, just to name a few.

Currently, most of Chris’ art focuses on children’s illustrations and her own writing, and a possible picture or graphic novel series featuring her aforementioned character Spike the Dragon. “It’s a story I’ve been working on for a long time and after many helpful critiques and revisions – I belong to a great critique group and two children’s publishing associations - it is now starting to spark some interest.”

She also recently hosted a three-day children's "illustration camp" in which the kids were introduced to the music of The Beatles and the art of The Yellow Submarine, along with other rock legends from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Chris helped children create their own album or book cover art, along with drawing their own cartoons of their favorite songs and musicians.

Mix is currently setting up exhibits for the fall, including a showing at the West Townshend Country Store (Vermont) where she will offer her original watercolor paintings, prints, cards and illustrated pillow covers. “One of the fun parts of being an artist, is having the opportunity to encourage both younger and older generations to follow their artistic dreams and goals, and I am happy to say that I am listed on the Vermont Art Council’s “Teaching Artists Roster” for cartoon/illustration and drawing residencies.”

For more information (and visuals) about the wonderful art world of Christine Mix, as well as her upcoming local exhibits, please visit her website at www.christinemixart.com.