My Story - Christine George

My Story




It started as early as I was conscious of it. A love for one of the most magnificent creatures God created - The Horse. I immediately wanted one; so constantly drawing them as a child was the only way at the time to have one. I was the last of 4 children growing up in the suburbs of Sunnyvale, California. The homes were built in apricot orchards and the lovely country of Los Altos Hills. My mother taught K-6 and always made sure I was supplied and supported with whatever I needed for creating images. At first it was pencils, then charcoal, to be able to really capture the shades in the muscle structure of the horse. There would be decoupage and acrylic on wood, oil on canvas, whatever I could get my hands on to craft. She would set me up at art fairs to sell my crafts. She spent all day with me supporting my art, and I would marvel at the way people admired the work and would buy it. Why I thought? I loved doing it, and that is all that mattered to me. So, I guess I knew early on I could do something with my life I loved and so would the people who viewed it. (The drawings on this page she saved from my 9-12 years and apparently I am 2.5 years old on wonder horsie, that I went through two of by the age of three years old.)


My father taught computer programming and instilled a disciplined work ethic from the Army of work before pleasure. So, as an kid rebelling against authority, I chose, what I loved for work so not to feel it to be work. I took every opportunity I could to get on, be near or even see a horse. My Uncle owned a 1000-acre ranch in Sonoma County. The George Ranch was a significant factor in my development and appreciation of the horse. I was able to learn how to ride, tack, care and be around horses. The freedom to jump on their backs bareback and ride the 1000-acre countryside free, and all the while I desired the life every day, still to this day. I would save all my allowance and rent horses on the weekends at Stevens Creek dam. My family was struggling through a divorce when I was 9, so money for horses or otherwise was scarce. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid came out and as we all fell in love with Robert Redford {OK some Paul Newman}. I felt the pull to Colorado or Utah, perhaps to study art, ride horses, and ski? In high school I did my own art because at school it was not at the level I aspired to. I thought college would provide me a greater challenge. I would ride my bike by the garage that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were at building these personal computers that they believed in. I would think, "How cool, they are following their dream, their garage as a studio, creating what's in their hearts they know to be the truth." My truth? Art and Horses. How? How do I support myself as an artist after watching both my parents struggle I thought?

I received a full scholarship to a State University. I chose Art Center College of Design in Pasadena CA because it was the best. I wanted to be among the best. I went to Long Beach State University on the scholarship for 6 months while applying to Art Center. Unfortunately, the Scholarship was not accepted at Art Center, so I put myself up for the fast track of 2.7 year Bachelor of Fine Arts. Originally enrolled as a Fine Art major I quickly realized I did not want to be told or paid to draw what companies dictated. It would not be coming from my heart. I realized school could provide me with a trade to make money to provide. My heart always wanted to paint horses, nature, other animals too. So I switched my major to Graphics and Packaging Design. I graduated with honors in 2.7 years with my BFA. Landor Associates in San Francisco, CA, the world's largest international design firm, hired me out of school.

There I worked on such large scale projects teams designing the "New Coke", Classic Coca-Cola, Dole, Stophers, Tree Top, Continental Airlines, etc. I won multiple Clio and Addy awards and branched off on my own to design and consult. Upon returning home to live and work in San Francisco, I wanted to get back to the horses. I visited my aunt and uncle often at the Ranch. Ironically, their generosity to our family financially with a gift from the selling off and down sizing of the ranch, helped put me through college. My uncle was ailing and I wanted to spend time in gratitude with him. He was very much like a grandfather to me. He gave me his thoroughbred to care for before he passed on. This was a gift that changed my life forever, finally, my own horse.




Many years passed as I rode, designed, and started a family. Being married and having children brought out my own childhood and deep yearning to express my emotions through painting again. The marriage was not successful, physically, spiritually and emotionally taxing. The marriage was dying at the same time my father and my horse were. My father passed on in my arms, as did the marriage and my best friend, my horse. The children and I left with only personal possessions to create a new life. I painted when I could to heal. Being able to paint horses, Pegasus, unicorns, anything to celebrate the spirit of the horse, to feel them through the paintings and source brought back peace and well being. I love painting because I am in the love of the creative force. Whatever created us is pouring through me the strongest when I paint, helping create with me. It is the best codependent relationship I have. I am in awe of the work that comes through me.




I moved on to teach at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where I was Assistant Director of the Graphic Design department for 10 years teaching Graphics and Packaging design. I gave students such opportunities as submitting designs for the International Space Station Logo for NASA, a Congressionally commissioned logo for the Centennial of Flight, 1-800 Suicide, kid'n Cars, and Mentoring Millions to name a few. The work took me to Washington DC where my San Francisco United States Park Police mounted unit friends hooked me up with the DC USPP. It was through the trainer that I was introduced to my current husband Sergeant Louis J. Torche. The children and I moved to the Washington DC area and I remarried. For the first 2 1/2 years I was Administrative Chair of Design for Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington DC. I painted on the side, and was involved in Faces of the Fallen project that landed one of my 8 solder portraits in the permanent collection of the Pentagon. From there, I moved on to work full time, on Christine George Design. I wrote 2 online courses for the San Francisco Academy of Art University while pursuing my life long dream of equine art and designing.

The east coast provided a great venue for horses and I quickly picked up my camera's and headed out the door. I see the camera as my tool to capture images from. I try to capture what it is that I see in my minds eye to paint. The camera can never capture that, so painting to me is the ultimate creative expression, making the image exactly what I want them to be. I retired after a decade of photographing as one of the Official Kentucky Derby Track Photographers for Churchill Downs after we got our Triple Crown winner. The east coast was good for the horse business but not my heart, it was left in San Francisco. The ocean, the mountains, the beaches, the beauty of northern California life style, clean dry air, blue sky's, good fresh food. Being an outdoor person I just could not acclimate to east coast indoor living of AC and outdoors of, humidity, and cold. So we all moved back to California and set roots in Napa Valley 20 minutes away from the George Ranch.




In Napa, I continue to design, photograph, and paint. Winning Best of Napa Award 2015 for small business. I"m back teaching packaging design 3 and Masters Thesis at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where both kids are graduates from in 2013, becoming their own amazing artists. who works at and  who graduated Interior Designer and works for Sergeant Torche transferred to the USPP SF Presideo Unit as the K9 Sergeant and has since retired moving on to CAL Maritime Police Department. We bought Bolita a beautiful 1/2 Arabian 1/2 Quarter horse Grey Mare and got back in the saddle again. She now blesses a wonderful little girl and family. I then trained another mare, Sierra, a Rocky Mountain who also is blessing a family. I now have a baby 4 year old Rocky Mountain Palomino gelding who is sweet, gentle, and a gaited easy ride named Jackson. We are riding, camping, and trail buddies. 


©ChristineGeorge com29416


I have exhibited in galleries, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, all over the country from California to New York. As the world changes, so should the way we buy art. I love it when people buy directly from me. It makes the piece more special for both of us and I love meeting them as I let a part of my soul go. Please come to my open studios the last two weekends in September in Napa. Thanks for taking the time to read this and go explore the site if you haven't done so already, lot's of cool things to buy and see. Thanks for joining up as we say in the horse world!

And if you still want more, the following paragraph of my story, is about my first horse, I received from my Uncle James Peter George, going home to spirit :

It was the call I had been waiting for, but the call I never wanted. My horse, JP was down and having a hard time breathing. I knew this was it. He chose a beautiful August Saturday like I asked him to so we could all be there in 1994. Just the Wednesday before we had cantered around the dressage ring and took my then 5 year old son and 2 1/2 year old daughter for a 40 minute trail ride on their tandem saddle through the creek and up the banks. I knew that day as we walked back to the stall, he put his head in my arms, as if to say, thank you, I love you and it will be soon. I just held his head as we walked back, I just didn't want to let go. My best friend for years, in the family his whole life. JP was 30, I had only lived four more years than that, he had a great life, but now, he's gone, and it hurts beyond knowing. All my life I have drawn and loved horses. It is now that I celebrate the true spirit of the horse. With my 100% Greek ancestry I painted JP as a Pegasus. He came to me the day before he went to say, I'm going. Knowing JP was free now to fly in the heavens it gave me great pleasure to capture and feel him through my paintings. As I celebrate him and others, I feel the horses ultimate spirit, power, and beauty. I hope you feel this too when you view my work. The strength, courage and power of Horses, they are our true teachers of spirit!

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