Crista S. Forest Photo by Larey McDaniel

About The Artist

Crista is a full-time self-taught wildlife artist, having always loved to draw, color, and paint animals from a very early age. She's always cared deeply about animals, both domestic and wild. A life-long member of such organizations as the National Wildlife Federation, protection of our environment, and the preservation of endangered species, has always been a concern to her. It's only natural then, that Crista is drawn to animals and nature for her art subjects.

As well has having sold many of her original paintings to happy collectors, many of Crista's artwork images have also been successfully published as fine art prints and licensed on various products. She's also illustrated three children's books about wildlife.

While beauty alone is a compelling reason to paint wildlife, Crista also tries to capture the playful, cute, affectionate, or curious nature of the animals she paints. It helps connect the viewer to the subject when they get a sense of the animal's personality and can relate to its emotions and behaviors. By creating an emotional connection for the viewer Crista hopes her artwork will create concern and compassion for our natural world and its wild inhabitants, and help stimulate conservation efforts.

Having grown up in the suburbs outside Los Angeles, CA, Crista later moved to Washington state where she feels more at home surrounded by the natural beauty and wildlife of the Pacific Northwest. She currently lives in Woodinville, WA, a suburb outside Seattle, with her husband and their Labrador retriever, Hannah.

Painting Style, Medium, & Techniqes

Crista's painting style is generally traditional realism. In her early career her style was almost hyper-realism, painting every hair of the animal's fur, and her paintings were sometimes mistaken for photographs. In more recent years she has shifted somewhat. While still considered realistic painting, she has loosened up a bit, focusing less on miniscule details and more on composition, color harmony, and the overal appeal of the image.

Crista began painting with traditoinal oils in her teens and has been using oil paints ever since. Due to health concerns related to solvents and toxic paint colors, she later switched to water mixable oil paints and selects only non-toxic paint colors. so you don't have to worry about unpleasant odors in your home when purchasing one of her original paintings.

Very recently, Crista has also started painting digitally, using computer tools and software such as Photoshop CS5, ArtRage, and a Wacom Cintiq monitor table. She still paints these digital images by hand, one brush stroke at a time, just like a traditional oil painting. There are no photograph elements, or photo manipulation, in her digital art. So if you purchase a print made from one of her digital images you can rest assured that it was created from a 100% original painting and not a photograph.

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