“Far Away” Oil, 36×18, Castle Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN. Winner of an Excellence Award sponsored by Gamblin Artist Oil Colors at the 2016 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit.
The dreamlike quality of “Far Away” by artist Michelle Murray is at once that which attracts our attention. We are put at ease by the pleasant expression on the subject’s face, and soothed by the warm light coming from behind her. It is easy for us to imagine a story, and for the artist, it is about the story.
“Tranquil” Oil, 14×11, Picture This Gallery, Alberta, Canada
“Warm Autumn Wind” Oil, 48×24, Castle Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN
Michelle Murray became interested in art as a child while watching her grandfather paint during his retirement years. And it is a family affair, for her great, great grandfather was an artist as well, having painted the church ceiling in Serra San Bruno, Italy. Michelle discovered her talent and passion for art at 14, while sketching from life with a friend. She went on to study with a classically trained Dutch artist during her final year in high school, an experience she calls “a total immersion in art and technique”. She has since studied with many of today’s master artists; Robert Coombs, who offered helpful critiques and insights into galleries, and Dan Gerhartz, a generous teacher who offered everything he knew about art to his students.
“Feather Boa and Tea” Oil, 24×18, Private Collection
Michelle gravitates toward painting figures, as she feels the figures offer a chance for story telling. She first learned to handle the issue of light by painting the still life, and now uses that knowledge of light and form on her figures. Given her passion for painting the figure, it is not surprising that her inspiration comes from masters such as Sorolla, Sargent, Bouguereau, Cecelia Beaux, Rockwell, Pino, and some of today’s masters such as Weistling, Gerhartz, Situ and Schmid.
A day in the studio begins with a prayer. For her paintings, she has done preliminary work by choosing the setting, the clothing for the model and the story she wants to tell. She will do a life study, after which she will do a thumbnail sketch in the studio to decide on her composition. Her painting starts with a sketch on the canvas, she then works from the focal point outward, keeping some areas thin and transparent, and light areas thick and opaque. She enjoys using Richeson’s Shiva Titanium white for it’s handling properties, giving her that thick opaque light.
“First Blooms” Oil, 20×20 Private Collection
When asked about her greatest accomplishment, Michelle acknowledges her marriage and family. She humbly omits the fact that she is not only an accomplished artist, but also President of the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society!
Growing and learning is a lifelong pursuit of the artist, and Michelle is grateful for all her experiences that have contributed to that goal. Even the occasional rejection, as she states” I think back to the first time I didn’t get accepted into a National competition, I am thankful for that experience because it inspired me to keep growing and learning. To me, that’s what makes this journey so fun, we are always learning and being challenged.”
Castle Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN, USA
Legacy Gallery, Bozeman, MT, USA – Guest Artist
Picture This Gallery, Sherwood Park, Alberta, Cananda
Village Arts Company, Nashville, TN, USA
To view more of Michelle’s work, visit her website at http://www.michellemurrayart.com
To view more of the 2016 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit, visit http://www.noaps.org and see images on Instagram at Natoilandacrylicsociety.