Elroy Christenson


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Brief Biography- 2012

I was born in Gary, Indiana but raised in Texas. This is where this photo of my mother, Violet Christenson, and her father, the Dallas commercial artist Forrest Kirkland, were painting about 1926. Artistic skill does run in my family for several generations but has never guaranteed success. Having lived in various Texas towns such as Cranfills Gap, Odessa and Grand Prairie I left to go off to the San Francisco Art Institute at about the age of twenty-one with my first wife. I worked in the commercial art field for a couple of major designers and the Emporium department store. I eventually received my BFA in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute. Shortly after graduating and marrying my second wife we left for the Peace Corps. The next two years were memorable ones living in the small village of Chintilapudi in Guntur District of south Andrea Pradesh, India. After building a couple of schools and drinking much coffee and tea I enrolled in graduate school at the University of Washington where I received my MFA in painting. Although I taught painting, I consider myself a sculptor.  
Mom and Grandpa

I started teaching while in graduate school but didn't know if I would like it or would be any good at it. After teaching at the University of Washington, I taught part-time at Chief Sealth Community School, Shoreline Community College and North Seattle Community College. I started NSCC in the Fall of 1971, only one year after the school was opened. I have since then taught figure drawing, painting, 2D and 3D design, watercolor, Baroque to Modern art history, intro to art, interdisciplinary Humanities including the Medieval and Renaissance, Asian art history and couple of coordinated studies including Revolutions and Reactions, as well as, Censorship and conflicts. I'm the retired advisor to the NSCC Art Group that funds the Art Gallery.

Elroy sketching
Elroy doing watercolors

For about seventeen years I lived on 10 acres on the Snohomish River between Everett and Snohomish. This is where I raised my three kids, five Charlotte/Simmental cross beef cattle, two horses, 25 chickens, 3 pigs, five cats, and a dog. It was an experiment in "back to the earth" culture that was most important for my children. Here I had a studio first in the huge barn and later for eight years in the old Swan's Trail Church. When it was sold from under me life brought all kinds of changes and my move back to north Seattle.

The new life style brought new challenges and much more travel. Besides my teaching duties I also like to travel. I received a Fulbright in 1990 for the Study of Culture and Art of India. It felt like going home. Three years later I received another Fulbright Grant to study the Culture of Indonesia. The trip back from these places took me to Nepal, Thailand, China and Japan.   In 2001 I was a faculty member on Semester-at-Sea when my wife, myself and step-daughter took three months to sail around the world on the S. S. Universe Explorer. My friend and fellow teacher, Scott Bernhard and I have taken several groups to France where we enjoy the sights, sounds and, of course, the food and wine.   We have put together several tours through different regions and plan to do more in the future. You can see our latest tour on the web page - S and E Tours LLC

My life now is settled with my new wife, Cheryl, and our combined families of six mostly adult children. New directions for us include travel, stone carving, computers, and continuation of other art forms. In 2006 I participated in an Oxford Roundtable on Science and Art.    I'm also on the advisory board for the Northgate Community Center and past Exhibition Coordinator for the Northgate Summer Festival.  In Fall of 2007 I was very fortunately awarded the Seattle Community College District's Life Long Learning Award given to one full-time faculty member from the entire district each year. Life so far has been very good to me.  I'm presently retired but always looking for other projects and activities.  You can find out more about other aspect of my life on the separate links below.  Like I said at the beginning this is really more than anyone really needs to know. 

Home Page || Complete Art Index ||  Artist's statement || Courses Taught || Genealogy
My travels || France Sketches

All works right reserved and may not be reproduced in any form without the artist's permission. copyright 1975 - 2012 Elroy Christenson.
email contact to: elroy@next1000.com