Kristina grew up on Long Island and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in NY studying textile design. Her textile degree required a class in abstract painting. The professor strongly recommended she study painting realism. This charted a new course in Kristina’s artistic life.
Harold Stevenson who had studied at the Art Students League and with Norman Rockwell, along with his wife Alma Gallanos, also an artist, ran a private school of traditional realism painting on Long Island. While working in N.Y. Kristina attended his 3 hour classes 5 nights a week. She loved the challenge of painting the nude figure accurately. Back in the 1980’s her pastel nude was the only nude accepted in the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club annual juried exhibition at the National Arts Club in NY. Generally they did not accept nudes but they made an exception for her pastel!
Kristina spoke with Stevenson about her desire to transition into landscape painting. He was not a plein-air landscape painter but he recommended John F. Carlson’s bible for artists, Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting. Between her work matching colors in the textile industry, the values, drawing and edges learned with Harold Stevenson and Carlson’s book filling in the gap regarding aerial perspective, she has continued her love of painting, both outdoors and in the studio.
Kristina presently resides and paints the landscapes of East Tennessee and near-by highlands of North Carolina. What drives her choice of subject matter can vary from beautiful lighting, an emotional experience, or simply the esthetics of the moment. The painting titled “New Mother’s was the result of a disturbing visit to an acquaintance who was caring for a new baby and whose marriage was collapsing. The elements for the painting came to her quickly after a difficult visit. At a recent retrospective of her work, people admiring this painting saw nothing of the painful inspiration but felt it had a Madonna motif. On the other side of the spectrum the still life “Pink Elephants” was inspired by the beautiful surfaces of art glass, lusterware and the way light passes through sheer fabrics. No introspection with this one, just the challenge of representing the textures and lighting beautifully.
Kristina has exhibited in many juried shows at the National Arts Club and Salmagundi Club in New York and her work is in private and public collections including Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Provident Insurance and Wachovia Bank (now Wells Fargo).