Michelle Louis

Middleton, Wisconsin

artist and naturalist

 

The opportunity  to live, work, and study in the tropics, from Mexico to the Bolivian Amazon, profoundly influences my perspective of life and abundance on Earth.

 

Michelle Louis – a nature lover!

  My work describes environment through conceptualized visual experiences of sensation and response. It is generally abstract, movement and process-oriented, and sometimes infused with references to geography and biology. I am constantly evaluating balance and tension. As in the natural world, the ebb and flow of the work moves in the moment, not as an effort to recreate a vision, but as individual marks that later become a story. Each action nudges the next as I work to integrate place, moment, and wonder.

 

 

Michelle's Studio

At what age did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember. My mother was an artist, so making art was as natural and constant as breathing. At university, my work matured and developed. It continues to evolve.
What is the earliest artwork you did that you can remember?
I remember drawing many pictures of my family, complete with our beloved dog, before I was old enough to go to school.
Which classical or contemporary artists have inspired you?

Paul Klee once said, “Art does not reproduce what we see; rather, it makes us see.” My interest lies in seeing and revealing simultaneous moment and eon, thought and action, order and entropy. I draw inspiration from nature, but also from artists such as Lee Krasner, Franz Kline, Joan Mitchell, and Grace Hartigan. I love Abstract Expressionism because it’s big and physical. The materials speak- dribble, scribble, scratch, slosh, slash. On either side- creating it or viewing it-  one must step outside of self to a place of fearlessness.

 

How would you describe your artistic style?
My work describes environment through conceptualized visual experiences of sensation and response. Exposing inherent energy, my artwork is abstract and movement-oriented. It emerges in the moment, not to recreate landscape, but as synergetic marks.
When did you first sell an artwork? How did you feel?
One summer when I was little, my sister and I sold small crayon drawings at a lemonade stand in front of our house. What a thrill to have cars stop to buy our pictures! These days, I can’t drive by a neighborhood lemonade stand without stopping… and it’s still an honor each time a collector purchases one of my pieces.
What's your workstyle?
I work on one piece at a time, sometimes, two. The flow of my art moves, not as an effort to recollect, but as individual marks- moments in time- that become a story. Each action nudges the next to capture energetic and emotional qualities while stimulating a sense of awareness and connectedness.
How do you get the inspiration for a new piece?
Facing a big, blank canvas I don’t usually begin with a sketch or  clear picture in my mind. Walking meditatively in nature as part of my daily art practice cultivates a rich palette of movement, color, and form ready for my brush..
Tell us a bit about your personal life ...
As a formally-trained artist and naturalist, I view art and nature as integral to self and community. I walk in wild places more than 1,200 miles each year. I’ve had the opportunity to work and live all over Latin America and used profits from my art sales to donate science and nature books in Spanish to schools and community libraries in Latin America. I’ve been married to the love of my life for more than 25 years. My two ever-curious and inspiring sons, now grown, were the best teachers I ever had.
Art does not reproduce what we see; rather, it makes us see.” – Paul Klee

A few pieces from Michelle’s gallery

Standing Water

Family Tree 11

Why they love Michelle’s art

K.N., Milwaukee

“I automatically took a long, deep breath when I looked at your painting. Ahhh. You captured what we seek.”

M.T., Denver

“Your work brightens our days. Thought-provoking. Simply beautiful.”

More about Michelle

Shows & Exhibitions

 

2017 – Water and Sky Exhibition – BG Gallery, Santa Monica, California

2017 – Abstract Sanctuary Exhibition – Verum Ultimum Gallery, Portland, Oregon

2016 – FEARLESS Exhibition – Courthouse Art Center, Woodstock, Illinois

 

Selected Juried Exhibitions and Artist Residencies

2016- National Parks Centennial Art Exhibition, Phipps Center for the Arts, Wisconsin (group)

Artist in Residence, Ice Age National Trail, Wisconsin, USA

 Artist in Residence, Ciudad Colón, Costa Rica, Open  Studio.

2015- Women’s Works International, Old Courthouse Art Center, Woodstock, Illinois (group)

Justified Art, Overture Center for the Arts, Madison, Wisconsin (group)

 Artist in Residence, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Open Studio

2014- Artist in Residence, Ciudad Colón, Costa Rica, Open Studio and Exhibition.

2013- Overture Center for the Arts, Madison, Wisconsin, USA (2-person)

Third International Festival of Art, Adugyama, Ghana, Africa (group)

2012- National Gallery of Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica (solo)

Exhibición y Festival Internaciónal del Arte, Sisid-Anejo, Ecuador (group)

Artist in Residence, Ciudad Colón, Costa Rica, Open Studio.

2011- Artist in Residence, Ciudad Colón, Costa Rica, Open Studio.

2010- Gallery on the Main, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin (4-person)

 Artist in Residence, Ciudad Colón, Costa Rica, Open Studio.

2006- CitiArtSpace, Madison Municipal Building, Madison, Wisconsin (solo)

2005- Wisconsin Biennial, Anderson Art Center, Kenosha, Wisconsin (group)

2004- Artist in Residence, Barcelona, Spain, Open Studio