Christine Read is an artist living and working in the Northern Rivers region in NSW, Australia. She works in acrylics, oils,  pencil and also enjoys the old craft of hand silk screen printing and sells tea towels printed with Australiana designs. She has a studio set in a picturesque rural area close to the village of Lennox Head and in easy reach of Byron Bay, Mullumbimby, Ballina and the Tweed Valley. The home studio can be visited by appointment but you can see her work at the Lennox Arts Collective Gallery 2/72 Ballina St Lennox Head, which is open every day 10am – 3pm. She has been  represented by Agora Gallery, New York and her work can also be seen at Breathing Colours Gallery, Balmain, NSW.

Prior to full retirement in 2016,  Dr Christine Read, was for more than twenty years a family doctor in Manly, NSW and later a sexual health physician and Medical Director of Family Planning, NSW. She comments on the transition;

‘Art was at the centre of my life as a child and adolescence and I always had a dream that I could become a full time artist. The interesting thing is that my life of medicine has really led me on to teaching art and leading art retreats as I use the communication skills I learned at the bedside and the education skills I learned as a medical educator. I have a sense of leading people on a holistic creative journey that improves their approach to their lives and has therefore extended my role in helping with emotional, physical and mental health in the art studio.’

Christine holds weekly art classes on Wednesday mornings and art workshops on Saturdays once a month on a particular subject at Lennox Arts Collective (2/72 Ballina Rd Lennox Head NSW).

She also runs workshops for other art groups on request and organises and runs art retreats both locally and internationally.

Christine accepts commissions;  a much loved subject is seascape and she has painted these specifically for waiting areas and homes to both beautify the space and to instill a sense of tranquility. To see more artwork view the Galleries.

Travel is a passion and Christine combines this with visits to art galleries, exhibitions, workshops with other artists as well as visiting museums and places of interest. These adventures and experiences can be found in her blog posts. In 2017 she decided to turn this interest into a way for other people to enjoy travel, art and culture, so developed a program of visiting overseas countries on ‘art retreats’ or ‘art adventures’. The first was to France and included Paris and Provence in 2017 and was a huge success. In 2018 she is leading art retreats to London and Cornwall in the UK and again to Paris and Provence. 

You might like to read a profile of Christine  published in the local Lennox Wave Magazine in May 2014: ‘The Art of Christine Read’

Exhibition Photo for Lennox Wave Magazine We know you are a qualified doctor. Have you been practicing medicine in the area? What field of medicine do/did you specialise in? Are you still practicing?

I have been in medical practice in Lismore for the past 4 years, working part time as I am semi retired – allowing me to spend more time on my art interests! I currently work in Lismore at Women’s Health Matters, which is for the mature woman – menopause and other midlife issues and also at Lismore Family Planning, where we see young women. My specialty is reproductive and sexual health and I am registered as a Sexual Health Physician.

When did you move to Lennox Head? And where are you from? My husband and I moved to Lennox in 2010 from Manly in Sydney, so we are ‘sea changers’ – basically exchanging one seaside area for another and we absolutely love it here. One of the reasons was also because the Northern Rivers is such a creative area and we used to come here nearly every year for holidays (my husband is a keen surfer too).

When did you become interested in art? That is forever! I did art for the Higher School Certificate and really intended to have a career in some form of visual art. As  a teenager I had a small business silk screening fabrics and selling them. My parents and teachers encouraged me into medicine as it was thought that I would have a more secure career.

Did you study art?I did not attend art school but have always drawn and painted – I guess that I am more or less self taught, but have attended numerous workshops and enjoy being part of an art class. For 2-3 years I went to Ffocus Arts in Mosman (Sydney) and studied with Robbie Hodges and since being in Lennox I have done workshops and classes with Turiya Bruce, Zom Osborne and Melissa Wright and currently paint with Mark Waller in the Lennox Artspace.

What do you love to paint the most? What inspires you to paint?I love colour and I love the sense of being ‘present’ in the work. I enjoy most subject matter, but most frequently paint landscapes, seascapes and still life. The beautiful scenery and plant life as well as the enormous skies that are present in the Northern Rivers are potent inspirations but I also love smaller objects and flowers and am much inspired by artists like Margaret Olley, William Robinson and the American, famous for his knitting, but also a wonderful artist, Kaffe Fassett.
I also find painting to be something that takes me into another ‘space’ where I can absolutely enjoy creativity and contentment.