MEET OUR FEATURED ARTIST
From Michelle McDowell Smith:
“Of Land and Sky ~ Whimsical and Free, which began in 2014, is the title of my current body of work. I imagined creating art that was softly surreal with a storybook sensibility. I wanted it to feel hopeful and aspirational, yet also include themes reflecting on disappointment, loneliness, and the loss of innocence. I continue to try to elevate the sense of wonder, romance, and optimism to which we aspire while accepting the sadness and incompleteness we sometimes succumb to. I feel that the buoyant and promising themes are felt more intensely because of these somber elements coexisting in the work".
“I most often work on canvas, but occasionally on wood or gesso board. My initial sketches tend to be loose and simple, but as I am a thorough planner, they eventually become much more extensive.
Once sketched onto the canvas, I gather collage materials – vintage prints, hand-crafted papers, sewing patterns, maps, old letters and postcards, vintage book pages, and more. I am deliberate with what I choose to collage and where it is placed on the canvas. These meaningful details give a sense of nostalgia and help tell the story of the piece. I collage and seal this ephemera onto the canvas, creating almost a silhouette of the subjects who will appear in the work.
I began painting. At this point, nothing escapes my brush. I paint into every collage element, creating animals or other subjects full of emotion over the papers, bringing the piece to life. I add or alter the color. I create depth. I eliminate some details and keep others, blending everything seamlessly into the whole. Finally, I finish the piece with a protective gloss varnish. Upon completion, each piece is digitally captured. That allows me to create giclée quality reproductions printed on archival canvas and fine art papers”.