From the balmy California sun to tropical Hawaii and then here to New Zealand’s Saint Heliers, Kristen Olson Stone has explored and painted her way throughout the Pacific rim. It all started back there, in the west of America, with Kristen’s emotional connection to her first art tutor. “My first art teacher was my grandmother, who lived in the Sierra foothills of Northern California. She was a wonderful artist and we were very close, with us taking our first three artist workshops together, which was a wonderful experience.
“She gifted me professional artist supplies and ‘how to’ art books for every birthday and holiday. She also encouraged me to paint and draw as much as possible and we shared a love of nature and wildlife. When I got to spend time with her she would take me out to hike and we sketched and painted along the way. I never needed any encouragement to paint, the desire to paint and draw well was always a part of me.” This early exposure to the art world and the exciting and endless possibilities was just the beginning. Kristen’s studies led her into art in a somewhat different and yet complimentary way, despite this early foundational time with her grandmother. “I have a BA in Geography from the University Of Maryland, which has been useful, giving me an in-depth understanding of the geology and geography of the landscapes that I love to visit and paint. After university, I attended art school. First at The Art Students League in New York with a full scholarship, then in Southern California where I attended The California Art Institute and Otis Parsons in Los Angeles. I also studied architectural rendering – this taught me perspective from the inside out! I learned the traditional methods of portraiture, figurative art, design, composition and impressionist landscape painting. Beyond art school I’ve taken a few professional artist workshops including those by Rose Frantzen, Don Putman, Neil Boyle and Michael Albrechtsen. I think that the best teacher is nature itself; nature provides all the answers if you are keenly observant and know the right questions to ask.” Kristen Olson Stone