Christel Baillie is a German-British fine artist specialising in portraiture painting
Known for most of her life as a professional violinist and teacher, Christel Baillie's emergence as a portrait artist came as something of a new beginning, although not a total surprise. She has been excited about drawing since childhood and her interest in capturing human essence on canvas has driven a life long passion for art. While studying violin at university in Cologne, she was briefly enrolled as an art student at Kunsthochschule Cologne. Vienna, with its rich culture of music and art, and where Christel Baillie completed her violin training, became a turning point for her exploration of European portraiture and its technique, which informs her work today.
The craft of Renaissance portraiture and 17th Century alla prima is Christel Baillie’s starting point. She employs a variety of techniques and materials that allow her to create subtlety and emotional meaning in her work. She is, for example, particularly interested in the properties of oil which allow light to break between translucent layers of different colors. This technique can produce infinite tonal gradations that emit a luminous quality, creating the depth and liveliness so instantly recognizable in the works of the Renaissance masters. Christel Baillie is currently exploring an adaptation of this technique in which translucent paints are layered over a foundational preparatory "under-drawing” in darker tones and figures are enlivened by additional layering of paint and contours over that foundation.
After first settling in England, where she pursued a freelance career in music and raised a family, Christel Baillie and her husband, the cellist Alexander Baillie, moved to Germany, where she began developing her interest in portraiture. Principally self taught, Christel Baillie acquired her technique through study and observation, regularly painting live models. She has attended a number of summer schools including The Slade School of Fine Art, London, The Florence Academy of Art, and the Flemish Classical Atelier, Bruges. She has for many summers exhibited at the Childwickbury Art Fair in England.
Her paintings hang privately in Edinburgh, New York City, Boston, London, Weimar, France and elsewhere. She is based in Bremen, where she has her own Atelier, and regularly travels for commissioned work.