Member Spotlight

Chris Shinseki

I was born in San Jose, Ca. to John and Margaret Shinseki. I am the eldest sibling and have 4 brothers and one sister. We grew up in Mountain View, Ca. My father was a gardener and my mom was a homemaker. As a young child, I enjoyed drawing and crafting. In Jr. High school, I designed a school newspaper headline banner, which was selected. I took a couple of art classes in high school. They consisted of calligraphy, drawing with charcoal, pencil, ink, etc..

1973, I was hired by the City of Palo as a Firefighter. One of the most proud moments of my life, it helped shape me as a man, father, and friend. I retired after 37 years as a firefighter and 25 years as a paramedic.

My wife asked if I could paint her a pumpkin to decorate our “fall” house. Digging up some old supplies, I gave it a try. I found I enjoyed the challenge of painting and the positive reaction from my wife. She thought I had talent and that painting might be a great retirement activity along with golf, yoga, gardening, cooking.

I searched online help for watercolor painting, since I had no instruction on how to begin. Most thankfully I found Susan and her painting community. This has been an unexpected and joyous journey.

What does painting do for you?

I find it difficult to describe what painting has done for me. Joy, trepidation…peace, anxiety…

I guess I’m learning things about myself. Sharing my work has challenged my comfort zone, but I’m getting better. The community’s open sharing has inspired me to be more giving.

A favorite quote:

“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing”

– Georgia O’Keeffe

How does community play a role in your creative practice?

The community is an assembly of friends. Even if we haven’t met in person, we share so much of our journey of painting. This sharing helps us all grow.


Geographic location:

Fremont, California, USA


Other (Creative) Outlets:

Gardening, Golf, doing crafts (Halloween props)

Grow Creatively While Painting