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Christy Olsen

Fine Artist and Adult Art Instructor

About the Artist

Christy Olsen was inspired to create at an early age. She was born in Memphis, Tennessee as a third generation painter. Growing up in a family of artists, she played under her mother’s easel where she acquired a colossal passion for drawing. Her own artistic skills were developed from a unique combination of formal education, self-directed practice, experimentation, and tutelage under several contemporary masters.
At a time when representational art was not offered in the fine arts curriculum at most universities, Christy chose to earn a Bachelor's of Art (B.A.) degree in Art History instead, studying the Old Masters in the classroom. She is heavily influenced by the Impressionists of the late 19th and early 20th century, especially the ones who studied in Florence, including Mary Cassatt, Dennis Bunker-Miller, Edmund Tarbell and Giovanni Boldini. 

Christy captures mood, light & atmosphere in oil or the pastel medium. Regardless of the subject matter, whether it's figure, animals, landscape or still life, her work includes visible brushwork or the distinct marks from her impressions or perceptions.

Artist's Statement

"In the age of information with accelerated communications, our fast-paced lives are filled with nuisances, deadlines, bureaucracy, and higher demands than ever before in history. We are constantly bombarded with news, noise, nonsense, spam, junk mail and a magnitude of information. In response, we must learn to tune out or multi-task. Stress, anxiety & sleep deprivation are typical or common in America today.
My work is a reaction to our new overly stimulated society. I believe the human brain needs some downtime or time to reflect. Painting brings me moments of respite and is a meditative process for me. I focus on the quality of light, atmosphere, tones or unique shapes in any subject matter including figure, animals, still-life, landscape, or scenes from my travels, using oil or pastel. "
-- Christy Olsen


Christy Olsen's earliest professional experience consisted of technical drawing, prior to computer aided design software and architectural blueprints. Her representational drawing skills were honed in Tucson, Arizona at The Drawing Studio (TDS) where she eventually was offered a teaching position. She studied painting in professional workshops and was mentored by several contemporary artists, including Dawn Emerson, Joni Falk, Suchitra Bhosle and Stephanie Birdsall.

​Her work has been exhibited in multiple selected solo shows, galleries and group shows across the United States. Notorious exhibitions include the Ironwood Gallery at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Porter Hall Gallery within the Tucson Botanical Gardens, 'The Best and Brightest' in the Scottsdale Artist’s School Gallery and the Florence Quater Gallery at the Southwest University of Visual Arts. 

Today her work hangs in private collections across the United States and has also been published in several prominent magazines including Southwest Art, Edible Baja Arizona and Zócalo Magazine. In 2013, she was interviewed and featured in the editorial article, "The Drive Behind, Soft, Soothing and Serene Fine Art" published by the Sonoran Art Network magazine. 

Among the many accolades her work has received, she was selected multiple times as a finalist in the Richeson 75 Still Life & Floral annual art competition and selected multiple times as a finalist in the NOAPS International Juried Exhibition. 

Olsen has an enthusiastic approach to learning and continues to improve her skills. She currently teaches studio art classes at the Art Verve Academy and is an active member of the local art community. ​


1989 - 1992, B. A. Art History, University of Tennessee Knoxville
1992 - 1995, B. A. Anthropology, University of Tennessee Knoxville
2000 - 2004, A. S. Computer Science, Pima Community College

2010 - 2011, Studio Art Teacher's Certification, The Drawing Studio
1998, April 18, Passed CBEST & Received Teaching Credentials in California 
1996 - 1998, Design/Drafting Certification, San Diego City College

Studio Art Practice

Study with Other Artists
2018 private study & private critiques, Dawn Emerson, private studio in Redmond, Oregon
2016 private critiques, Dawn Emerson, private studio in Tucson, Arizona
2015 private study, Suchitra Bhosle, private studio in Sacramento, California
2014 private critiques, Dawn Emerson, private studio in Tucson, Arizona
2014 private critiques, Rebecca Olson, open studio in Tucson, Arizona
2012 private critiques, Lisa Larrabee, private studio in Tucson, Arizona
2012 private study, Sandra Perlow, Artist-in-Residence, Assisi, Italy province of Umbria
2011 private study, Stephanie Birdsall, private studio in Tucson, Arizona

Professional Workshops Attended
2018 Feb 14-16, Dawn Emerson, Tubac School of Fine Arts LLC, Tubac, Arizona
2018 Jan 8-12, Dawn Emerson, Tucson Pastel Society Workshop, Tucson, Arizona
2017 Mar 2 - 4, Christine Debrosky, Tucson Pastel Society Workshop, Tucson, Arizona
2016 May 20-22, Suchitra Bhosle, Workshop, Bide-A-While Artist Retreat & Studio, Houston, Texas
2016 Mar 24-26, Dawn Emerson, Tucson Pastel Society Workshop, Tucson, Arizona
2015 Dec 12-17, Derek Penix, Scottsdale Artist's School Workshop, Scottsdale, Arizona 
2015 Jun 4, Luana Luconi Winner, IAPS, Albuquerque, New Mexico
2015 Jun 3, William Schneider, IAPS, Albuquerque, New Mexico
2015 Feb 6-8, Suchitra Bhosle, Workshop, Anderson Mill Garden Club, Austin, Texas
2014 Dec 15-17, David Riedel, Scottsdale Artist's School Workshop, Scottsdale, Arizona
2014 Apr 21-25, Elizabeth Robbins, Scottsdale Artist's School Workshop, Scottsdale, Arizona
2014 Mar 28-30, Dawn Emerson, The Drawing Studio Workshop, Tucson, Arizona
2014 Mar 10-14, Richard Mckinley, Tucson Pastel Society Workshop, Tucson, Arizona
2013 Oct 8-100, Joni Falk, Scottsdale Artist's School Workshop, Scottsdale, Arizona
2013 Jun 8, Desmond O'Hagen, IAPS, Albuquerque, New Mexico
2013 Jun 6, Margaret Dyer, IAPS, Albuquerque, New Mexico
2013 May 7-9, Joni Falk, Scottsdale Artist's School Workshop, Scottsdale, Arizona
2012 Mar 9-11, Doug Dawson, The Art Institute, Tucson, Arizona
2012 May 2-6, Gregg Kreutz, Scottsdale Artist's School Workshop, Scottsdale, Arizona
2011 Aug 16-18, Liz Kenyon, Scottsdale Artist's School Workshop, Scottsdale, Arizona
2011 May 31-Jun 2, Desmond O'Hagen, IAPS, Albuquerque, New Mexico
2011 Apr 18-22, Jeff Legg, Scottsdale Artist's School Workshop, Scottsdale, Arizona

Professional Demonstrations Attended
2015 Sep 12, Tim Rees, Scottsdale Artist's School, Scottsdale, Arizona
2015 Jun 5, Dawn Emerson, IAPS, Albuquerque, New Mexico
2015 Apr 21, Jeffrey Watts, Scottsdale Artist's School, Scottsdale, Arizona
2014 Nov 15, Carolyn Robles, Tucson Pastel Society, Tucson, Arizona
2014 Feb 19, Lee McVey, Tucson Pastel Society, Tucson, Arizona
2014 Jan 15, Mano Sotelo, Tucson Pastel Society, Tucson, Arizona
2014 Jan 5, Casey Baugh, Scottsdale Artist's School, Scottsdale, Arizona
2013 Oct 27, Daniel Keys, Scottsdale Artist's School, Scottsdale, Arizona
2013 Oct 9, Linda Dobkin, Scottsdale Artist's School, Scottsdale, Arizona
2013 Sep 21, Lisa Larrabee, Pima Community College, Tucson, Arizona
2013 Jun 9, William Schneider, IAPS, Albuquerque, New Mexico
2013 Jun 7, Carole Katchen, IAPS, Albuquerque, New Mexico
2012 Nov 4, Judy Crowe, AWA, Tucson, Arizona

2013 Harley Brown Scholarship, Scottsdale Artist's School

2013 Diploma of Excellence, Drawing Academy

Professional Visual Art Demonstrations

2016 Aug. 11, Tucson Modern Quilt Guild, Tucson, Arizona, "The Language of Color"
2015 Oct. 3, Southern Arizona Arts Guild (SAAG), Tucson, Arizona, "A New Approach to Color"
2015 Sep. 16, Tucson Pastel Society (TPS), Tucson, Arizona, "Bringing Color Harmony into Your Paintings"
2014 Sep. 13, Pastel Society of New Mexico (PSNM), Albuquerque Museum of Art, "A Systems Approach to Painting"​

Professional Instructor Led Workshops

2019 Instructor, "Tuscany Art Workshop and Tour (9 days, 8 nights)", sponsored by the Art Verve Academy, Tucson, Arizona

2017 Instructor, "Tuscany Art Workshop and Tour (9 days, 8 nights)", sponsored by the Art Verve Academy, Tucson, Arizona


American Women Artist's (AWA) (Associate Member)
National Oil & Acrylic Painter's Society (NOAPS) (Associate Member)
Tucson Pastel Society (TPS) (Member)
Art Verve Academy (Instructor)

Professional Visual Art Instruction for Adults

For experience, see the Instruction page.

"In my humble option, I believe the human mind needs some time reflect that is why I make art, it renews my perspective.”  

--Christy Olsen