Christina Snyder Doelling A modern abstract expressionist North Atlanta USA

February 1, 2018 by Laura Gomez


“Since creating abstract art is such an organic process, there is no set formula or amount of time before a painting reveals itself. The process itself dictates the end result. Appreciating an abstract painting is much more about feeling it, rather than analyzing it. This makes the experience subjective and different for everyone. My goal as an artist is straightforward: to create what I love and hope that people may love what I create”.

My home is North Atlanta. I grew up in Europe and was influenced at a young age by many different artists and painting styles, but I have always loved the freedom and creativity involved in abstract expressionism best. I am a graduate of The American School in London, England; Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY (BS degree in Studio Arts with Honors); and The Portfolio Center in Atlanta, GA (Art Direction).

Advertising was my corporate job for many years. I was an art director at J. Walter Thompson/San Francisco, BBDO South/Atlanta and Ames Scullin O’Haire/Atlanta, and have freelanced nationwide.

I have been a professionaly painter since 2002. My work is shown in about a dozen galleries all over the Southeast (the complete list is under the GALLERIES section), and is owned by hundreds of private and corporate collectors.

My canvas are premier-quality canvases with 1.5 – 2” wide stretchers are used. All canvases are gallery-wrapped (ie, the painting continues around the edges, so the sides are painted). This allows the paintings to be hung frameless.

Although my style continuously evolves, my paintings have an identifiable look. I apply lots of paint and build up texture and layers. Areas of intense activity are juxtaposed with areas of calmness. Many of my compositions are anchored with geometric shapes and lines which can create both balance and tension within a painting.

I use a variety of acrylic paints, with other water-based paints mixed in. Charcoal, pencil, and pastels are also used as drawing elements within and on top of the layers. Texture is an extremely important aspect of my work.

Why the ‘CSD SIGNATURE’… Three reasons: 1) Small, discreet signatures are much nicer. 2) “Christina Snyder Doelling” is just way too long to try to paint on a canvas. 3) My grandmother was also a painter and used her three initials in the same block style, so I think subconsciously it just seemed right for me to do the same.

‘Fun fact: Several of my paintings are in the movie “Love, Wedding, Marriage” with Mandy Moore and Kellan Lutz, which was filmed in New Orleans.’

Christina Snyder Doelling

Artist Interview:

Name: Christina Snyder Doelling
Age: Can I say 29? Maybe closer to 49.
Birthday: November

College: Graduated from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY with a BS in Studio Art (Highest Honors); and from The Portfolio Center in Atlanta, GA for Advertising.

Colours: Natural, earthy, muted, warm colors are my favorites. I also love greens; blues and turquoise; siennas and golds. Most of my paintings have lots of white acting as negative space. I also use charcoal, graphite and oil sticks throughout the layers. When I want a little bling, I dab in gold, silver, bronze and copper paints.

Books: Art, interior design, and mysteries.

Movies: Best on a Friday evening with my family, pizza, and a glass of wine.

Food: Anything other people make.

Quote: Hanging in my studio is: “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

For how long have you been in art? How did you start? I have loved colors and mark-making my entire life. When I was young, no piece of paper stayed blank for long! I drew constantly as a child, then learned to love painting in college, then worked as an art director in advertising for many years. In some ways I feel I have come full circle back to paints and canvases, where I am happiest and have the most freedom.

How would you define yourself as an artist? A modern abstract expressionist.

Would you tell us some things about yourself? Please include a few little known facts about you as well.
I was raised in Europe, and was surrounded by history, beauty, architecture, and art. It made a huge impact on me; that art and life should naturally co- exist. I see every new canvas as an opportunity to create something beautiful, fill an empty wall somewhere, and make someone happy.

Where do you find inspiration?
Mostly I seek color palette inspiration, and am always on the lookout for pleasing or surprising color combinations.


Blue and Greens colours

What are you trying to communicate with your art?
I simply do what I love, and hope that people may love what I do. If you study my work and understand the layering process; if you can see the varied methods that the paint and mixed media are applied; if you appreciate the juxtapositions of line, curves and forms; if your eye finds the compositional balance of active areas and calmer negative spaces appealing; and if you ultimately say “I like it”; then an emotional cord has been struck, and that is successful communication.

What art do you most identify with?
My heart is with abstracts but I appreciate any kind of art where I can see, feel or imagine the process. Fresh compositions, thick texture, interesting mark making, and great color combinations are what I identify with the most.

Why do you do, what you do?
I have to paint. It feels like there is a force inside of me that regularly needs to be released. If I go too long without painting, I get restless, almost as if the creativity is being bottled up. This sensation is growing as I get older. I don’t think it’s just a desire to work; I think it’s compositions and color ideas brewing and swirling inside, and I have to find a blank canvas to let them come out. Painting is mental, emotional, spiritual and physical. It’s all consuming in the moments.


Neutrals and White colours

What does “being creative” mean to you?
For me, it’s a mostly-subconscious process that I have recently come to recognize, and fully embrace. The more consciously I THINK and try to control the outcome, the more I’ll get jammed. When I have total freedom, with no boundaries or rules or requirements or expectations, then I can easily relax and slip right into the process I now understand to be unbridled creativity. When I work, I get almost trance-like. I am not aware of analyzing or making decisions; paintings just emerge. Whenever I try to overly plan, and think, for example “This one is going to be a soft, pale blue painting”; it’s like someone inside me laughs and takes over my body. I’ll step back a few hours later and have really cool painting that’s about the farthest thing possible from what I thought I was going to do. It keeps things interesting, and I have learned to trust the process. I look forward to being surprised with what will happen next. That not knowing exactly what I’ll be creating from one painting to the next, is my personal and very real definition of “being creative”.

Any shows, galleries, or publications where our readers can find your work?
I am represented by the following fine art galleries in the USA. (More detailed contact info can be found on my website,
Huff Harrington Fine Art, Atlanta, GA • Ann Jackson Gallery, Roswell, GA • Atrium Art Gallery, Charleston, SC • Bev’s Fine Art, Raleigh, NC • Gallery VI, Winston- Salem, NC • Darnell & Co, Charlotte, NC • Four Corners Gallery, Birmingham, AL • Stellers Gallery, Jacksonville, FL • Gallery Misto, Belleair Bluffs, FL • Sher Gallery, Hallandale, FL • St. Tropez Home, Naples, FL

How do you cultivate a collector base?
Mostly through my galleries, which are wonderful and have great clients.

Which is your most cherished piece?
I did a 60×48” painting of my son as a baby on the beach. It’s very personal and I will never sell that. If you had an exclusive collective exhibition with other artists work, who would you choose? We all dream about meeting famous, past artists. But thanks to Instagram, I have become a huge fan of several amazing, modern artists. I would be most honored to exhibit with International talent such as Bobbie Burgers, Tibor Nagy, David Mankin, Sharon Paster, Carola Kastman, and Marc Hanson. I adore their work!

What do you see as the strengths of your pieces, visually or conceptually?
I strive for my work to be fresh, strong, and unique; yet my paintings also have the ability to beautifully compliment real living spaces without overpowering them.


Blue and Greens II

What aspect of your work do you pay particular attention to?
Of most importance to me is the process, and never doing the exact same things twice. All of my paintings are built with a foundation of layering colors and building up texture with various brushes, palette knives, and mixed media. I love bottom layers peeking through. I create marks with charcoal, oil sticks, graphite, pastel; then keep layering and editing, until the finished painting reveals itself.

What role does the artist have in society?
Historically, as a recorder and documentarian. More currently, to bring people joy.

What are your most treasured memories?
Nothing can top marrying my husband, and the birth of my son. (Although trips to Italy are right up there too!)

What for you is the most enjoyable part of your art?
Being deep in the zone, and realizing that something magical might be happening. Also, when I find out that a particular painting found “it’s person” and that person has given it a wonderful home.

What famous artists have influenced you, and how?
Richard Diebenkorn. I studied his work while I was earning my Studio Art degree and I am amazing that, 30 years later, I am still totally in love with everything about his work and style.

What other interests do you have outside of art?
My family. Volunteering at my son’s school. Tennis. Traveling. Organizing anything that doesn’t move.

Some short questions now:

More Colours: Warm and soothing.

Textures: Yes, definitely!

Define your art: Large contemporary abstracts.

Describe your style: Modern, chic, always evolving.

Define yourself: Easy going, with a perfectionist streak.

Prizes/ Art Fairs: I have never done competitions.

Museums: I would be most happy to be locked in at the Jeu de Paume, the Vatican Museums, and The British Museum. Closer to home, I’m very impressed with the Hunter, Museum of American Art in Tennesse; their art collection is small but mighty!

Cities: I’m an Old-World City Girl at heart: London, Paris, Florence and Rome are my favorites.

Travels: We are slowly trying to show our son the US. It’s a huge country and is taking time!

Artists: …. are good people, with big hearts, open minds, and unbridled passion.

Music: Ed Sheeren is my latest obsession. But ask me again in 6 months.

Cars: Large enough to haul a stack of 48×72” canvases.

Mobile App: Instagram @christinadoelling.

How would your life change if you were no longer allowed to create art?
I’d immediately find another creative outlet. I have already worked as an art director in advertising, so I would probably switch to interior design or become a stylist. I’m that guest who scans your living room and rearranges things in my head.

What do you think about the art community and market?
It’s an exciting time with the online, digital world, and to be able to quickly discover so many International artists and share work. However, it will always be important to be able see the colors and textures up close, in person, before purchasing. I hope customers continue to understand what is so special about owning original art, versus buying cheap reproductions and giclees online. Bricks and mortar galleries are wise to expand their services and marketing to remind people of this, and help educate about quality and uniqueness.


Warmest colours

Which of your projects has given you the most satisfaction?
When I was just starting out, a friend connected me with a new, start-up company. They were looking for colorful, abstract paintings to be customized for their lobby, conference rooms, and partners’ offices. It was a huge job that gave me a boost of confidence. My style has evolved and become a thousand times more polished since then, but that project helped me take the leap into officially becoming “a professional” artist.

What else are you working on at the moment? Next projects?
I am finishing up some paintings for some local clients, then am looking forward to attacking the next batch of blank canvases waiting for me in my studio.

Share something you would like the world to know about you?
I was chosen and featured as an “Emerging Artist” in 2006 by Art & Antiques Magazine, which was a tremendous honor.

‘Klassik Magazine International’ is more than an international publishing; it’s a global digital plattform, an international communication platform through it the people can be hugely influenced by their content as social media influencer and social mediation. It is an amazing experience in which you can dive in, and get lost for hours.

With it’s informative articles and gorgeous photography, you can browse and learn about international art, high fashion, amazing architecture, distinctive food, and exotic travel destinations. With each new click, something culturally intriguing and visually arresting pops up, and you can feel your mind expanding’

~ Thank you! Christina Snyder Doelling
Modern Abstract Expressionist artist, background Art director at J. Walter Thompson/San Francisco, BBDO South/Atlanta and Ames Scullin O’Haire/Atlanta, USA