Growing up in Roanoke, Virginia, Celie was immersed in the arts encouraged by her artistic mother who collected abstract art. In high school, Celie worked with Peter Wreden creating metal sculpture, and thanks to a generous donation of equipment was able to study sculpture at Mary Baldwin. “After college, I became certified in interior design, and always kept my hand in some form of creativity.”
Not one to rest on her laurels, Celie taught art at St. Catherine’s School's summer program, Cat's Cap, for many years, then created hand built ceramics and even had a business with her neighbor. It was only after meeting artist Christaphora Robeers that Celie was inspired to create fauvist artworks. “Christaphora lit the fire for me. I am never not thinking about what to paint next, once I get an idea in my head I look around my house and in nature to decide how to create it. I never know where the creative process will lead.”
Celie finds artistic inspiration in the work of masters such as Henri Matisse, and the Fauvist movement. “I am so inspired by their work, the juxtaposition of colors creates such an emotional response. Once you find something you like, you keep working until you are happy and proud.” Celie has channeled her inspiration into mixed media paintings often focused on home settings, landscapes, and botanicals. “Flowers are so joyous and with so many different varieties, as an expressionist painter, I can take that and run with it.”
Always searching for joy, Celie lives by her own motto “I may not be aging gracefully, but I am aging gratefully. I always hope I am giving something to someone else.” Even despite the pandemic Celie found new inspirations and artistic fellowship in 2020. “My friend Deane Valentine Bowers, a folk artist out of Charleston, created the Together While Apart movement. She sent everyone two 6” cardboard squares and asked us to paint on them what we felt.” Deane put together the squares to create a large quilt-like artwork, which is now traveling the country.
A Fine Art painter, Celie’s work reflects her colorful appreciation of the world around her. She is influenced by her background which includes years of metal sculpture, print making, design and hand building clay. She attributes her love of color and Expressionism to the Fauvist movement. She has studied under numerous instructors and credits Christaphora Robeers with helping her find her true artistic voice. Her education includes a B.A. in Studio Art and a post-graduate certification in Design.
A member of the James River Art League, Celie’s work hangs in private collections along the East Coast. Her exhibits include the Tuckahoe Public Library, Cedarfield Senior Living Center, Virginia Eye Institute, juried shows at Crossroads Art Center and two solo shows at the Gallery at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Richmond. Additionally, her paintings hang at Massey Cancer Center at VCU and the Wonder Tower at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.
Her evolving creative journey finds her working mainly in acrylic, collage and other mixed media. She enjoys the relationships of colors and the moods they create and derives satisfaction when her botanicals, abstracts and landscapes evoke joy in her viewers.