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Five Easy Pieces Michelle Watson talks us through five favourite pieces...

Five Easy Pieces

Michelle Watson talks us through five favourite pieces...

by LamontPaul, Founder & Publisher
first published: June, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

On being inspired

The painter, Michelle Watson, launches our new recurring column, Five Easy Pieces, where an artist leads us through five favorite pieces of their own art. The title a provocative misnomer. There's nothing easy about the creative process behind these pieces. The rigour in the storytelling and the embrace of menopausal change — dissected recently too in Miranda July's remarkable novel, 'All Fours', are part of Michelle's series of images. In Michelle Watson's telling it is a profoundly beautiful story. Michelle depicts women on a grand scale. Her award winning paintings have been displayed all over the world. Until June 25th you can see Michelle's her solo show 'Shadows at Dusk' at the Courtyard Gallery, Aldeburgh Suffolk; from the 25th-28th of July Michelle's work will be at Flux 2024 206 Marylebone Road, London. Now, over to Michelle...

 

BEING INSPIRED
International women’s day celebrates women all over the world, having their achievements recognised, and inspiring others to achieve their dreams.

When I was young, women role models were few and far between. Like many others, I idolised Suzi Quatro, a great role model for young girls at the time, and remains so to this day. However, observing the growing rise of professional women over the years and seeing them realise their talents, has given me the confidence to pursue my artistic career.

In 2009, I graduated with a Fine Arts degree having studied whilst my five children were at school. After exhibiting locally, I ambitiously submitted a painting for consideration for the Threadneedle Prize, not expecting anything, however making it through to preselection! This felt like a significant leap and gave me the confidence boost I really needed to look for more opportunities. 

Pegnant[painting #1, Pregnant] 

I met the model for my painting 'Pregnant', as a fellow creative over a shop counter. After agreeing to model for me her subsequent pregnancy opened up a rich opportunity to tell a far greater story using oil paints. I wanted the painting to depict pregnancy, not just the aesthetic but also the sheer weight you carry and the huge responsibility, hence the angle of the viewers perspective and the model’s own hands supporting the bump. I then delved into the scars that many women face post pregnancy and the hormonal displacement felt by many mothers. 

Following my research into hormonal imbalance, I was led to climacteric change, more widely known as the menopause; It was like puberty in reverse! I wanted the viewer to be engaged immediately with the emotions endured. So, I went big!

Hues fo Change[painting #2, Hues of Change] 

I found that an integral part of painting at life size, is ensuring the age is defined through the outline of the female form, therefore implicating that she could be menopausal. I used a limited colour palette, inspired by the colours of bruised skin, to emphasize her shape and condition. As the physical and the psychological mindset of the menopausal woman can both be affected. 

As we endeavour to turn back the ageing process, our hands are usually a clear definition of the times that have passed. 

Hand and Back[painting #3, Hand and Back] 

Juxtaposing the hand alongside the body gave a direct comparison of the skin condition between the two. Although at this time, I felt as though I was dividing my work into two different styles and the subject matter had become disjointed. 

The idea of merging the two previous artworks came about whilst I was jotting down ideas in my sketchbook. Using a heavily diluted ink I created a faint shadow on the raw canvas of a mature female figure, which I could then refine using oil paints, the two mediums combining and becoming one image. 

The scarring and symptoms experienced due to life’s hormonal journey would become the inspiration for the brushstrokes used upon the canvas. The raw canvas’ texture and neutral colour gives a mid-tone foundation to my female forms as well as representing the skin itself.

Shadows[painting #4, Season 1] 

I was fortunate to make the final of the Art Gemini Prize with ‘Season 1’ 2023. Over the last few weeks my artwork has been featured in artist talk magazine and in the Suffolk magazine. [www.artisttalkmagazine.com. Issue 30, March 2024. And suffolkmagazine.co/uk March 2024]. The article: ‘Take 4 Women’, in the Suffolk magazine, talks of four women and their individual talents, hoping to inspire other women, written for international women’s day. I’m so proud to be alongside these outstanding ladies and can only hope that our stories give other people the courage to commit to their dream.

Presently, I am working towards my second solo exhibition, titled Shadows at Dusk and opening in June 2024. 

Michelle[painting #5, Shadows] 

Using the techniques, I have learnt over the years, I hope to highlight the beauty and emotion in what is generally considered an unattractive time in a women’s life, from within my artwork.

Michelle's artwork is on display In Aldeburgh until June 25th and in London in July (25th-28th).


essential information
www.michellewatson.art
Instagram: michellewatsonart

LamontPaul
Founder & Publisher

Publisher, Lamontpaul founded outsideleft with Alarcon in 2004 and is hanging on, saying, "I don't know how to stop this, exactly."

Lamontpaul portrait by John Kilduff painted during an episode of John's TV Show, Let's Paint TV


about LamontPaul »»

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