Charlene balances a symbiotic relationship between art, illustration, and art education; each passion influences and strengthens the other.
“I grew up in the prairies of Canada. My childhood was filled with boxes, stationary supplies, and…industrial printing machines. My parents owned a family-run print shop. I spent many days amongst the floor-to-ceiling shelves of paper. My mother was the best artist I knew and my dad made the tools and scraps of the print shop available to me––it was a dream setting for making, drawing, and imagining.
Art classes were not yet feasible in my middle or high school, but the teachers in the small campus knew my passion for drawing and built creative options into any project that would allow for it. During my senior year my parents arranged for private drawing lessons with the best teacher I could have hoped for. She taught me how to see. I still value and connect with her to this day.
My post secondary studies began in graphic design––a logical choice, given the family business. After graduation I worked in the advertising industry, honing my skills to the level of shrewd meticulousness within fast-paced advertising agencies, the provincial museum, and design boutiques.
That chapter of work came to a close after a two-month backpacking adventure through South East Asia, where my husband and I stumbled upon teaching positions at an international school in Bangkok. Enthusiastically, I shifted my creative momentum to art education, all the while continuing to illustrate and paint.
The half-year contract turned into 16 years abroad, in which time I taught art, illustrated and painted in Thailand, Switzerland, London, and now Qatar. Along the way I also earned my BFA and MEd. Had I stayed in Canada, I can only imagine that I would have found my way to this highly artistic balance that I live and love now.” – Charlene
Masters in Education (Hons), 2010
Bachelor of Fine Art (Hons), 2007
Diploma in Advanced Graphic Design (Hons), 2000
Diploma in Graphic Design (Hons), 1999
Private Art Lessons with Artist, 1995-1998
Collaborations within Qatar include working with:
MIA, UCL, Qatar Museums Family Programmes, Akkadia Press, Medina Publishing, and numerous international schools in Doha.
Picture Books illustrated:
The Path Towards The Island (Shaikha Al Zeyara, Qatar Museums Publishing)The Blue The Old Man and his Donkey (Julia Johnson, Medina Publishing)
Jackal (Francis Gillespie, in collaboration with the MIA, Medina Publishing)
Several Picture Book Passion Projects
Various group, duo, and solo exhibitions held in Switzerland, London, and Qatar
from 2009 to the present.
Charlene engages in and organises colloaborative and purposeful exhibitions,
with the intention of making art accessible to a diverse spectrum of viewers.
Charlene has built friendships and gains perspective from connections within:
The Association of Illustrators, and
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators