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Christine’s pastel of choice

By James Bennett

It starts with a hardened pigment but translates into Christine Broersen's creations.

For the past 25 years, the award-winning Shepparton artist has used pastel as her medium when creating her paintings.

Her artwork has been on display in Melbourne, while recently she has been asked to provide paintings for Fortuna Villa in Bendigo.

The former oil painter once visited a friend's exhibition and became hooked for life after being impressed by how pastels can create amazing still-life paintings.

Any colour will do for Mrs Broersen but black background paper is her favourite. It allows her to hone in on her subject.

Mrs Broersen finds the black background allows her to create more drama within the painting.

If something is worth painting then Mrs Broersen will paint it. For example, when she attended a recent birthday party, she took three photos of children.

Not long after they were transformed into Chloe, Heidey and Dimples. All three paintings were entered in the popular Numurkah Art and Craft Exhibition.

“It was no pose, they (kids) were just playing on the sand,” she said.

Chloe didn't take long at all (to paint), she would have been finished within four days — and that's just casual work.

“Usually, I do still-life but I enjoy painting kids as well.”

All it took was a quick photo for 'Heidey' to become art. Picture: Megan Fisher.

In 2007, Mrs Broersen won first prize at the Australian Guild of Realist Artists for her still-life image Water Bottles.

“I only just entered AGRA and I won a highly commended the first time,” she said.

“The next time I entered I won first prize. I remember driving home on the way back, I kept nudging my husband saying ‘I just won AGRA!, I don't need to win anything ever again'.

“I didn't realise I had that much of an impact with my art. When you go to Melbourne, you're up against all other Australian members and overseas artists, so to win that was special.”

Mrs Broersen's artwork has been featured in exhibitions at Shepparton Art Museum, and she also sells her work.

In what should come as no surprise, the artwork in the Broersen household is predominantly local.

Whether it is Shepparton's Ross Paterson or Berrigan's Jan Barnett, the gaps are filled with art.

'Chloe' was one of three pieces of art entered by Christine Broersen in the Numurkah Art and Craft Exhibition.  

One of the paintings Mrs Broersen said she was creating for Fortuna Villa involved two vases and grapes.

She joked the trick was to paint the grapes first, before they shrivel.

“I play around with the whole thing, but it's important to get the grapes done before they change colour or shape,” Mrs Broersen said.

“People always ask me how long it takes to do one painting but I've never really timed it.

“Some are quicker than others. Some fall into place really easy or life might get in the way and I might take a week between painting.”

Christine Broersen joked painting grapes comes before inanimate objects, otherwise the fruit will shrivel. 

Although some might consider her work as drawing, Mrs Broersen says she is a pastel painter.

“You actually manipulate the colours the same way as a paint brush,” she said.

“I use my finger — some people cringe at that but in my view there are no rules. If it works, do it.”