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Artist finds joy in work despite obstacles

March 21, 2021
Elisabeth Sherwin -- ensherwin@gmail dot com

Christian Quintin, 63, (in 2021) of Santa Rosa, is a poet, painter and teacher.

"I always wanted to be a poet and wrote hundreds of poems in French before moving from Paris to San Francisco at the age of 23," he said in a recent interview. "Then I began to devote more time to fine art. "

The work featured in his small 2019 publication "Poemes" is written both in English and French. It represents work completed over the past 10 years.

"Most are love poems that I chose to illustrate with pen and ink drawings. Some were written in French. I felt that I was the best person to translate them not because my English was the best but simply because I could convey in my translation the same meaning and emotions even when changing the words," he said.

The original size of the ink drawings was 29x23 inches and each represented the work of seven to nine months. He would like people to look at his canvases the same way they might read poetry, and vice versa.

"I have not written poetry since the publication of this small book in 2019," he added.

But each day he goes to his studio in downtown Santa Rosa and works.

  Christian and Topaz [click on image to enlarge] 2020topazandchristianr50.jpg - 65571 Bytes
"I create each day, painting in oils, pastels, ink and graphite drawings. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have had the good fortune of selling a few drawings and paintings."

Quintin lived in Davis for several years (where one of his murals brightens the Davis Food Co-op) but missed being close to the sea. He grew up by the ocean in Brittany, France.

"When I decided to move from Davis put my finger on the map and it landed on Santa Rosa," he said. He moved in 2007, just in time for an economic collapse, a series of deadly fires and a pandemic.

Nonetheless, he is joyful.

"Life is good," he said. "I have a spacious and wonderful studio, a great relationship with a wonderful woman and and a beautiful German Shepherd dog, Topaz.

"I walk my dog, spend much time as I can outside in nature and by the ocean and create art each day," he added. "I am grateful."

Quintin has sold enough "surreal and symbolic" artwork to keep him afloat and continues to teach art at Santa Rosa Community College and gives private classes.

He recently finished a painting that reflects his feelings about 2020. It is called "Hope: A Year of Solitude," a 24x30 inch oil painting on French polyester canvas stretched over mahogany.

"I am not a planner at all," he said. "I have gone back to France twice since I moved to Santa Rosa and I love the French language and culture. I miss it. But I have a very good life here. My art is always improving and I am always working.

"It's a very good life," he added.

Entitled: Hope
2020Hope2.jpg - 72013 Bytes

Quintin says his favorite poem in the "Poemes" collection is the first one, "Sunlight":

I withered in your absence,
I sought your sunlight,
and longed for your sea.

But when I saw you,

Warm and round as a healing star,
Illuminating what felt dull and misplaced,

Opening every room with your light
as the sun dissolves into jewels;

I understood how your presence
wallpapers each plane with its sky.

I felt with my heart
for I had become blind,

Your sun in my eyes
as spring sprung to life.
Entitled: The Nest
2020TheNest3.jpeg - 89318 Bytes

-- Reach Elisabeth Sherwin at ensherwin@gmail.com

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