About Charissa

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Charissa (pronounced Kah-ree-sa, as in rhymes with Teresa or Lisa) is a sacred artist, writer, yogi, teacher, and Ordained Deacon (clergy) of the United Methodist Church.  Charissa serves as the artistic missionary, director, and founder of Grace Works Studio.  Charissa is available to facilitate retreats, lead workshops, lead contemplative worship opportunities, and serve as a conference speaker.  Charissa uses artistic expression to help people connect with God, self, and each other in creative ways.  Charissa also uses art to help connect with at risk communities. Additionally, Charissa teaches yoga in the community and at conferences and retreat settings.  

Charissa is a painter and sculptor.  Her favorite mediums are  encaustics and oils.  She also loves to do installations and to sculpt paper.

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Fusing a layer on the Tree of Life Sculpture

Charissa’s actual process of creating art is one that is both spiritual and prayerful.  As a sacred artist, she believes that we are created in the image of a creating God.  Therefore, whenever we create, we have the opportunity to connect with that Creative Source, and tap into that abiding presence and love that flows through each of us.  

My artistic aesthetic is vibrant, whimsical, and intentionally wonky.  For me, creating art is an interpretive act, and when I create I want to give the viewer an opportunity to enter another world or environment.  Lewis Carroll once wrote, “Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.” When faced with things like war, natural disaster, politics, poverty, sickness, oppression, and prejudice, reality can be both challenging and at times overwhelming. The arts can offer brief respites from said reality, allegorical commentaries on said reality, and extend moments of healing amidst the brokenness of life.  

I have a love of dynamic colors and various textures and textiles.  Whether it is flora or figure, landscapes or constructing still lifes from which to paint, I am inspired by and enjoy exploring the wonders of nature, the human form, and genres that have a fantasy motif embodied in writings such as Alice in Wonderland, the Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter, and the reinterpretations of classic fairy tales. 

Visually, I especially love the juxtaposition of structure alongside more organic materials.  I embrace and enjoy painting, soft sculpting (i.e., paper, clay, etc.), and experimenting with mixed media and installations.  I let media take me where it wants to go.  In other words, I start with the ideas and let the ideas inspire the medium.  

The Eastern aesthetics embodied in concepts like Wabi-sabi and Kintsugi, especially those of welcoming and contemplating imperfections and brokenness and of embracing process as important as product resonate with me.  There is deep beauty in brokenness and wonkiness, and the actual practice of creating has healing properties.  

My artistic style also echoes elements of folk art, which are evident in my use of line, color, and texture.  I connect and empathize with peoples who are oppressed.  Over the course of my life, I have been exposed to many different cultures and ways of life.  These varied experiences shape my outlook on the world and how I interpret what I see.  I also like movement and paying attention to negative space.

I am influenced by the way Mark Messersmith and Vincent Van Gogh use color, texture, light, and line.  I am inspired by Alice Neel and Richard Diebenkorn’s renderings of the figure and Peter Paul Rubens’ way of capturing the eyes.  I resonate with folk artists like Art Rosenbaum and with many of the post-impressionist, avant-garde artists in Les Nabis.  I appreciate Melissa Miller’s use of color and whimsy in her landscapes.  

Charissa was born and raised in Florida.  Growing up in Tallahassee helped shape Charissa into who she is today.  Charissa graduated from Florida State University in 2000 earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Studio Art focusing in painting and sculpting with a minor in Spanish.  She attended 2 years of seminary at Duke Divinity School and then completed her seminary career at Asbury Theological Seminary in Orlando earning a Masters of Divinity in 2005.   Charissa was ordained as a Deacon (a Clergyperson) in the United Methodist Church in 2011.  

Charissa served as a United Methodist Pastor in congregational ministry for over 6½ years.  She now integrates her passion for art and her passion for love of God and love of neighbor into the ministry of Grace Works Studio.  Charissa serves as Deacon in Residence at John Wesley United Methodist Church in Tallahassee, Florida. 

Charissa also teaches in humanities classes and religion classes at Tallahassee Community College. 

Charissa lives with her husband, Chris, and their dogs Molly (a  old buff colored Cockapoo) and, Maggie (an ebony colored Labradoodle) in Tallahassee, FL.  They love to cook, to eat good food, to travel, and spend time on the beach.  Charissa is grounded by her disciplines of art and yoga. 


                                Chris & Charissa





 All paintings, drawings, Ideas, and wording on this webpage are copyrighted by the artist.  
© 2010 Charissa Jaeger-Sanders.  All Rights Reserved.  You are welcome to use the ideas and suggestions found on this website, for no fee, as long as you give credit to Grace Works Studio.  However, if you Find this Website helpful, please consider giving a donation to Grace Works Studio to help continue its ministry.