Artist, Michelle Dahl, began pursuing her art full-time as a second career in 2017 after retiring from elementary teaching. As a primarily self-taught artist, she has been learning through self- exploration, and by studying the current abstract and impressionistic works and teachings of American artists, Nicholas Wilton and Shelby Dillon as well as Canadian painter, Vera Kisseleva. She completed training in the Art2Life Creative Visionary Program, and became a member of the Art2Life Academy in 2020-2021.
It has been through this study and continuing practice that Michelle has expanded her knowledge of the two art forms she is mostly drawn to, representational art and Impressionism. She enjoys experimenting with ways to combine these two styles. She has been a member of the Rockford Art Guild and Raw Artists Milwaukee since 2018. This allows her opportunities for her artwork to be showcased in local community restaurants and galleries, such as Womanspace Art Gallery (July-September 2019), Katie's Cup Café and Bistro (March 2021 & 2022), and Nicholas Conservatory Art Show (April 2022); as well as her first international virtual exhibit in the M.A.D.S. Art Gallery, Milan, Italy July of 2021. Michelle has also participated in local community shows and events such as Klehm Arboretum Garden Fair and Art Show (June 2018, 2021, 2022), Rockin' For Rescue animal shelter fundraiser (2018, 2021), Fall Art Scene (2021) and Spring Art Scene (2022). She will be participating in Rockin' For Rescue and Fall Art Scene 2022, and is currently preparing to be in her first juried show in early 2023.
Michelle gains inspiration from all that nature provides. She can be found working on her acrylic and watercolor commissioned pet portraits, abstract florals and landscapes; as well as conducting art lessons for ages ten- adults, in her studio that is nestled in the quiet woods on her small farmette in Rockford, Illinois.
Picture this: a young girl sitting on her Father's knee, watching intently as his pencil glides across the paper, and then as if by magic, a sweet puppy's face appears before her eyes. That was my introduction to art, and it holds that magic for me still. I receive that same sense of wonderment by using tools such as trowels, awls, and sandpaper when painting on Birchwood panels for some of my acrylic backgrounds. The organic textural feel created by scraping, scratching, and sanding juxtaposed against the linear details of my subjects, creates a tension that people are drawn to. The same experienced is achieved in my watercolors combining the free-flowing, vibrant watercolors with the stark black lines of my pen and ink.
My Father used to say "every coin has two sides". This is true for my artwork. On one side of my creative coin are my detailed acrylic animal portraits. They are community-driven, purposeful and personalized to each client. Close observation is the process I use to bring them to life. My portraiture is the tool I use to bring awareness of shelter animals in need, the instrument of healing when memorializing a pet or the catalyst for joy to new pet owners. They are the path used to forge strong relationships with others.
The flip side of my art coin is my own nature-inspired acrylic and watercolor pieces. Though still leaning representational in style, they are more stylized. Inspired by the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Movements, I particularly am drawn to the sense of atmosphere, bold colors and near abstraction seen in Claude Monet's and Paul Cezanne's landscapes. My original landscapes, florals and animal paintings begin as a playful experiment of the synergistic interaction between acrylic and clay; watercolor and ink. It is during this process of purposeful play that my authentic self emerges.
Though a coin is two-sided, it is still one object. I use ephemeral moments as the common thread to unify my body of work. Though fleeting, these captured moments compel us to look deeper in the textural beauty around us. I refer to a Paul Cezanne quote to remind me to paint from emotion, and not only with my eyes; "Painting from nature is not copying the object; it is realizing one's sensations". My goal is for my viewers to emotionally connect with my art as they reminisce on their own fleeting memories.
Sunflower Studio, LLC