About the Artist

Christina Rice’s work has been shown in galleries, juried shows and festivals throughout the country. Her detailed portraits are often mistaken for photos but are really done in charcoal, graphite, color pencil and pastel. She works in mixed media using paint, fabric, hand-made papers, beads, hair, & objects that contribute texture & brilliant color, concentrating on one color per piece.   Heavily influenced by the pre-Raphaelites, late 19th/early 20th century fairy tale illustrators and artists such as Klimt, Hiroshige, Henri Rousseau, Rauschenberg, and Erte, her pieces center on mythology and historical characters. She seeks to beautify ordinary reality and express it as an enduring myth.  The result is a highly-textured collection of visually elaborate, detailed work.


I've been fascinated with faces as long as I can remember. The smallest detail can make a huge difference in capturing someone's likeness and personality.  The placement of an eyelash can entirely change what a portrait expresses about a person.  

My portraits are characterized by high detail and dramatic contrast. I work in dry media like charcoal, graphite and pastel because these materials blend easily and produce a subtle gradient that facilitates detail. I also explore painting and mixed media collage.

For portraiture, I like to work from photographs, with finishing details done from life sittings if I need more visual information than the photograph provides. The details are time-consuming; most of my pieces have between 60 - 100 hours each, and take months to produce.

My father, also an artist, started teaching me art as child. I always looked forward to Saturday mornings because we’d play with paints and colors. Eventually, I traded art for writing, majored in English, got a job & didn’t get back to visual creativity until one day in 1987. I had a Sunday morning to myself and “Treasure of Sierra Madre” was on TV & I wanted something to do while watching it; I found a model’s photo in a magazine and began to draw. So now I usually have a movie in the background while I work; it provides the necessary distraction for my left brain. I can look away from the drawing, watch the movie & then when I look back, I view the drawing with fresh eyes & see what needs changing. I mostly work in my home studio, but occasionally sketch in various locations; it’s nice to get public input on a work in progress.

My favorite artists include Gustav Klimt, Ando Hiroshige, Henri Rousseau, Erte, William Waterhouse, some of the pre-Raphaelites, some of the late 19th/early 20th century fairy tale illustrators like Edmund Dulac, Elenore Abbott and John Bauer. Perhaps what attracts me to these artists is their use of brilliant color, concentrating on one color per painting, their mythic themes or their ability to beautify ordinary reality and turn it into a romantic myth.  I also like Robert Rauschenberg for the crispness of monochromatic photography and its hyper-realist detail combined with more abstract elements. Among artists who do hyper-realist charcoal portraits, I admire the works of Margaret Baumgaertner, J.D. Hillberry, Emanuele Dascanio, and Armin Mersmann.

My work has been shown in galleries, shops and art festivals in the United States.