"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
_ William Morris
, 19th century craftsman, designer, writer

Add your email address here & receive new posts from This American Home!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In Studio: Dorte Christjansen

I met Danish-born artist, Dorte Christjansen last year during the Long Beach Open Studio Tour which allows art-lovers to peek inside the work spaces of local artists -for free! Needless to say, it was an inspiring weekend! 

Recently, I went back to try and capture the magic of Dorte's studio and the home she shared with her late husband, sculptor Stephen Werlick, for This American Home.

 One of Dorte's signature works is a series of Mandalas, large (this one measures 32"x32"), intricate watercolor designs painted directly upon silk. Christjansen uses batik techniques to create layers of color and achieves a 3D effect by carefully cutting and raising small details.

Detail from "Orchidworld".

I think an artist's studio provides a glimpse into how they see the world and what inspires them. The passion and talent Dorte has for art is evident and palpable.

Stephen's foundry shoes, a memento from his time teaching sculpture at California State University Long Beach, still hang where he slung them over a hook in the studio.

Art and inspiration are everywhere.

Inspiration amongst the cleaning supplies. Beauty amidst the mundane. I think I'm going to jazz up my cleaning cabinet... 

Dorte says her subject matter is influenced by her surroundings: landscape, garden, botanical imagery and pets (her cats especially!).

Currently, batiks and watercolors are Dorte's medium of choice but she is also accomplished at sculpture, oil painting and drawing and taught watercolor and illustration at California State Fullerton.

A watercolor of bearded irises in progress...I like the way the unfinished picture allows you better comprehend the process. Absolutely gorgeous!
Feel inspired? I hope so...get out those brushes...


  1. Beautiful images that really capture a great space and creative spirit! I want to visit and know more! Thanks for sharing.

  2. You need to get over to Robin and Philip Smith's house. A gallery funhouse, that is also a cozy home just down the street.

  3. Great idea, Audrey! I think I'll give them a call!


Follow American Home here!

There was an error in this gadget