Artist Profile: Michele Clarke

                  Funky, colorful art guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. That’s the kind of art I want to make.

                  I grew up in Lexington, Ky., and relocated to the Bowling Green area when I married my husband, Jordan. We live on Barren River Lake, have been married 24 years, and are recently empty nesters with both our sons, Preston and Sam, attending the University of Kentucky. Even though I miss our boys terribly, I’m so thankful for the extra “me” time to create and explore.

                  While I have always gravitated toward all things artsy and am a daughter of an artist, I didn’t study art in school beyond an eighth grade art class. Reflecting back, I’ve realized that class was my favorite class ever. My teacher was so cool as she would let us listen to music while we were drawing or painting.

                  These words of Pablo Picasso resonate with me – “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” I spent a good part of my life trying not to be an artist as I got my degree in psychology and my master’s in social work at the University of Kentucky. After years of working in social work, home health, counseling and insurance, I retired from an office job in 2016 and rediscovered my love affair with art and painting.

                  I’m a self-taught artist and have been trying to find my own little niche in this crazy art world, but honestly, I like the freedom of experimenting with diverse methods and styles. I have dabbled in acrylics and alcohol inks and use mediums such as gold leaf, glitter, metallics, crystals and resin. Acrylic pours and geode paintings exhibit my love for abstracts. I’ve learned that when painting abstracts I can’t plan the outcome, I just wait and see what transpires on canvas. While experimenting with a technique using a handheld torch, I accidently set one of my paintings on fire! Thankfully, I succeeded in not burning the house down, but my husband has made me promise not to do it again.

                  I strive to bring nature, animals and positive energy alive on the canvas; however, realism is not my painting style. We have photographs for that. My approach is more stylized and impressionistic. I’m inspired by color, emotions and energy.

                  The works of masters Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet give me boundless inspiration, as do contemporary artists Callen Schaub, Ruth Mayer and Lindsay Rapp. Van Gogh for his honesty and beauty of color as seen in Starry Night, and Monet whose life story resonates with me as he didn’t begin painting until in his 40s. Schaub uses paint can pendulums to create daring, captivating abstract art. Mayer, a world-renowned artist, still paints today at age 84, and Rapp paints ocean inspired art using my favorite color – blue. Another big influence on my art journey was the book The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron. In her book she states, “Creativity is God’s gift to us and using our creativity is our gift back to God.” My mantra is, “No one is you and that is your power.” I have no doubt that Our Great Creator formed us all with unique gifts and talents. My intent is to encourage and evoke feelings in others to live the life they were created to live.

                  Art has the power to change energy and mood, and so I paint not only because it gives me joy but also to inspire others to pursue their dreams. The color saturation in my work hopefully draws viewers in, allowing them to interact with the canvas by finding unexpected color with the ultimate hope that as they walk away they will see the world in a much more colorful light.

                  I participated in a Gallery Hop last year with my very first showing at Mind Over Body Studio in Lexington, Ky. My current work is on display in the Stonehaven Gallery at Barren River State Park and at Art on the Square in Scottsville, Ky. You can reach me by email at miccla34@hotmail.com, by phone at 270-618-1298, and you can view my art online at @micclart on Facebook and Instagram.

                  If you have a blank wall in your home and want to add some color and whimsy, go buy some ART!