Hi there and welcome to this week’s Artist Of The Week
Michelle has got to that age where you just don’t remember how old you are any more (she’s 47 [Sorry Michelle, couldn’t resist – T x]). With three kids, two diagnosed with autism and her youngest on the spectrum, life is quite challenging for Michelle to say the very least.
Michelle is a pupil support worker in a primary school in Armadale, West Lothian, having moved to Scotland 16 years ago. Originally from Stockport, Michelle’s Dad was born in the Peak District and had a passion for landscapes. He worked in a mill in Hayfield until it closed down and he became a policeman in Manchester which put the mockers on his artistic ambitions. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”6488″ img_size=”medium” add_caption=”yes”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Michelle has a passion for painting landscapes which she got from her dad. She couldn’t find what she needed to satisfy her artistic urge when she lived in Manchester so when her husband got a job in Edinburgh Michelle was delighted. Now living in the heart f Scotland, Michelle and her family also have a caravan on the Solway coast (which would explain the hundreds of pictures of Dumfries & Galloway in Michelle’s portfolio!).
You can browse Michelle’s beautiful paintings in her Local Art & Craft shop, A View To Paint, by clicking here.
So, I grabbed my customary cup of tea and sat down to chat with the wonderful Michelle over the magic of the internet.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]
What did you do before you discovered your talent as an artist
I’ve always been artistic. My dad and grandad always encouraged me and I always loved going up into the hills with them to paint. I did a fine art degree in Coventry although I really wanted to go to one of the Scottish art schools as I had a passion for Scotland even then. I was interviewed at Coventry by an American landscape artist who offered me a place. We hit it off and I loved his style and his personality so I ignored the pull of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen and took the place at Coventry. He then promptly went back to America and was replaced by a post-modernist who hated me and the feeling was mutual. They wanted me to paint more abstract stuff but I stuck to my guns and painted landscapes. I do sometimes wonder what my life and career would have been like if I’d followed my heart to Scotland. I loved Coventry but it’s not exactly overflowing with landscapes for me to paint!
After college, I’ve done all sorts of jobs before I eventually became a support worker. I worked in ASDA and as an employment law consultant. I even worked in a fork lift truck factory which was amazing fun.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”6489″ img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”6491″ img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]
What inspired you to become an artist?
My dad and grandad, definitely. My dad gave me the opportunity to follow a passion that he wasn’t able to. He gave me the confidence to go to art college. Also, my GCSE art teacher was wonderful and so supoortive. He was one of those teachers that really captures your imagination as a youngster. I’d love to get involved with art therapy but my parents couldn’t afford to send me to London to do a Master’s Degree after college so I don’t really have the right qualifications apart from boundless enthusiasm for art and my own personal experience with my own kids’ needs.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]
What’s life like as an artist in your area?
Not great but when the weather’s rubbish and you’re in lockdown, what else is there to do?
To be serious, it’s difficult to find somewhere to showcase your work. It’s too far from Edinburgh to capitalise on the artistic crowd. I would never call Armadale, Linlithgow and Livingstone “Art Central.”
There is an art shop nearby but they take a horrendous amount of commission. I had a bad experience with someone offering to sell some of my paintings and then “losing” them which knocked my confidence a bit but I’m trying to get back into it. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”6490″ img_size=”medium” label=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]
Who is your favourite artist?
Contemporary, it would be Andy Goldsworthy. I love his sculptures and the fact that they’re about nature and go back to being nature.
I’m an old fashioned romantic at heart so Constable, Turner. Caravaggio and El Greco too. I love drama and the effects of sunlight and dark skies. Favourite painting would actually be a sketch by Constable called Weymouth Bay.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”6492″ img_size=”medium” add_caption=”yes”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
Is your family artistic?
My eldest daughter is, she has my flair but apart from that……. no. My youngest likes to draw but hasn’t got the confidence and my middle one really can’t draw more than a stick man. He hasn’t got an artistic bone in his body, he’s a techno freak like his dad.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
What advice would you give to beginners?
Paint what you love, follow your heart and keep painting. If you love something with a passion it comes out, it doesn’t matter if it’s any good as long as you love it.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
Would you be interested in LA&C’s mentoring scheme?
Yes, absolutely. I’d love to be able to teach someone else to paint and if someone could help me with getting myself out there that would be amazing.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
So there you are!
Thank you so much to Michelle for sharing her story. It was a really fun chat, interrupted on both ends by forgotten shopping lists and rowdy dogs. I’m looking forward to a visit on my next trip to Scotland once lockdown is over.
or click here to join our fabulous Facebook community group and say hi!
Well, that’s all for this week. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it, and thanks to every one of you for making the Local Art & Craft UK community what it is.
See you soon