Emily Christensen McPhie was born in Utah in 1978 into the highly-artistic Christensen family. As a child, she toured the museums of the United States and Europe with her family. At each museum, Emily and her brothers and sisters were told they could choose a postcard as a souvenir, and young Emily's postcard collection quickly filled with early American portraits and Degas' studies of young dancers. The influence of these museum trips is apparent in Emily's portfolio of paintings. Emily currently resides in Chandler, Arizona with her husband Gavin and daughters Cordelia Lavender, Clover Iona and Ezra Petunia. "Motherhood has brought out some pretty strong emotions and ideas," says McPhie. "Translating those thoughts and emotions into images gives me clarity, and I find I want to document them before my perception changes." Her daughters show every sign of following in their mother's footsteps. "Half my studio is theirs," she laughs. "They have their table and their easel and all their supplies. I find that they're in here even when I'm not. They just love it - they're very creative." Emily's original paintings are sold by Terzian Galleries in Park City, Utah, as well as on her website, www.emilymcphie.com.
Emily McPhie’s portraits of women and children offer a window into her artistic education. The solemn, sweet little girl in Birdcage, for example, would look perfectly at home with a collection of early American paintings. “Birds often represent the soul or spirit in my paintings,” says the artist. The birdcage itself is empty, but if we look closely we can find the bird printed on the little girl’s dress—has her soul broken free just as the bird? Birdcage invites us to look deeper into our own hearts and imaginations to find the answer.
While the innocence and simplicity of childhood may be something to fondly remember, life’s daily realities are often far more complicated for adults. The little girl in Crocodile demonstrates that it is possible to peacefully coexist alongside our worries and fears, that we can live life to its fullest even if we can’t control every moment.
“This painting is about right and wrong,” says Emily McPhie. “Not just knowing the difference, but making the right decision and having the conviction and confidence to stick to it. The figure in pink is very sure of herself and her choice; but she’s also struck a balance—she’s not all in red and she’s not all in white. She understands that the right decision is also about finding balance in all things and following it, and that there may not even be one right decision. To quote J.R.R. Tolkien, ‘All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given us.’”
There are few sureties in this life, it is said, but one of them is that every little girl will someday grow up. From her first tooth to her first date, the milestones in every child’s life seem to come more quickly with each passing day. Every parent can remember the first time they took the training wheels off their child’s bicycle and watched their little one ride away, feeling a mixture of pride and apprehension.
The beautiful autumn scene in Emily McPhie’s newest Fine Art Limited Edition One If by Land tells such a story. Fall has come to the path through the park and as the little girl rides by, the heavy leaves fall from their trees. It is a time of change, a time of remembering the treasures of the past and of looking forward to the future.
Emily McPhie’s dreamy paintings are touched with the tenderness of young motherhood. Her portraits of women and children convey universal messages of love, determination and hope
"Life, as they say, is not about the destination, but the journey," says artist Emily McPhie. "It´s about whimsy, about having fun with life and where it takes you." Both the twirling little girl and the smiling painted elephant in McPhie´s debut limited edition print seem to embrace the adventure of a walk with no destination.
Emily McPhie may be a newcomer to the Greenwich Workshop family of artists, but she is no stranger to artistic families-both her father, James C. Christensen, and her sister, Cassandra Barney, are celebrated artists with The Greenwich Workshop.
Emily received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Brigham Young University with an emphasis in painting. She lives in Chandler, Arizona with her husband Gavin and their three daughters. "Motherhood has brought out some pretty strong emotions and ideas," says McPhie. "Translating those thoughts and emotions into images gives me clarity, and I find I want to document them before my perception changes." McPhie is definitely an artist to watch, and Pirouettes and Pachyderms will make a wonderful start to your collection.