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Conversations with Michelle Andres

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Andres.

Hi Michelle, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I was born a natural creative. Raised by a family with little understanding of art’s value, I confounded them and was encouraged to seek a “sensible career path.” For many years I managed teams and helped executives with workplace behavior and strategy challenges. I have a BA in Psychology and an MS in Organization Development and Workplace Behavior. I studied at the Institute of Mosaic Art in Oakland, CA, doing murals, public installations, and smaller fine art pieces. It was heavy but rewarding work. For relief, I would create mosaic art. It was so cathartic to come home and break things into small pieces, rearranging them in beautiful compositions.

One cold February morning, I ventured to warmer quarters and began working in collage. It was so toasty, and my fingers didn’t bleed! My first collage came with me to Sedona, AZ, where we lived for many years, and my work unfolded. I have done contemporary abstract painting, mixed media work, and oil painting.

On a typical day, I work alone in my studio, with music blasting and mounds of gooey oil paint. It’s just a delightful way to spend a day. In my paintings, I examine the intimate relationship between the natural elements of our rivers, rural expanses, solitary buildings, and parklands. I focus on line, light, color, and texture. The landscape is observed and recorded in a flattened fashion. Several layers of paint chronicle the history of the picture, often with little attempt to hide the path.

Currently, I have work represented with Wilde Meyer Galleries in Scottsdale and Tucson, Arena Galleries, which have several Napa Valley locations in California, and Fire and Rain Gallery in Folsom, CA. I also have a studio in downtown Sacramento open to the public during events and by appointment.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Has it been a smooth road? Well, when I began, there was no road! I was born an artist but was encouraged to pursue a “sensible career.” About 10 years ago, I became a corporate refugee, thankfully for me. In creating the next phase of my life, I discovered the road! It’s such a gift that we humans can reinvent ourselves. I think it may be necessary from time to time. The road hasn’t been particularly bumpy, but it has been extended and sometimes challenging to see. It’s also been filled with detours, incredible “explores,” moments of asking for directions, and joyful discoveries! Most painters create a lot of work before finding their voice and style. I’ve finally settled in and am seeing not only myself but what feels like work reflecting a part of the human condition that craves peace and restful moments.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
For me, the natural world resets the rhythm in my soul. I’m inspired by the land, the light, the stillness. Throughout our days, we find and cherish moments when we breathe. I strive to create paintings to give us those moments. My current work explores our intimate relationship with the natural elements of our rivers and parklands and the dwellings I find on rural excursions. Working through layers of gooey oil paint, attentive to line, light, texture, and color, I explore my world and our world. The landscape is observed and recorded in a flattened fashion. Some work has a lot of paint layers; other pieces have fewer. Pieces of paint tell little stories, like the account of the land. Working towards ‘simplification with interest’ is the goal. Details are scrubbed from work, and I present a final, redacted visual composition. This creates space for individual interpretation. There’s no reason to tell the entire story as I urge viewers to remember their own. I start with joy and hope and desire for my work to bring that same spirit to others. We all could use more moments of taking deep breaths and being grateful for all the good before us.

What makes you happy?
There are so many moments that bring treasure to everyday life. There’s much to be grateful for. I think focusing on these things makes me happy. My ginormous 10-month-old puppy gives me daily thrills! I find happiness with our kids, quiet moments, unexpected beautiful offerings, knowing glances shared with strangers – these things make me happy. I’m finding I’m happier when I’m away from my computer and phone. For my work, a walk-in nature is when I can observe the soft light, the quiet, and the beauty of imperfect things. It brings me peace and inspiration. Time in my studio with the music playing absolutely lights me up!


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Contact Info:

Image Credits
All images are taken by me

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