'Artist's to Watch' in Southwest Art Magazine!

I am excited and extremely honored to be featured in the August 2017 Southwest Art Magazine as 'Artist to Watch'; the Editor's Choice for Up and Coming Talent'.  

I was fortunate enough to have an interview with Kim Agricola of Southwest Art.  It is always healthy to review what motivates you to do creative work and Kim brought up interesting questions and thoughts... I hope that I have opportunity to meet her in person one day.   Thank you Kim for a job well done!

You can find the online version at http://www.southwestart.com/articles-interviews/emerging-artists/emerging-artists-michele-z-farrier or pick up a copy at your local newsstand. 

Buffalo Bill Whitney Museum Residency was Spectacular!

I was fortunate enough to be invited back to the Buffalo Bill Whitney Museum for another two week residency this year!  I had opportunity to paint in the museum amongst outstanding historic and contemporary works of art, studying by copying and visiting with museum visitors from all over the world.  I also got to spend a few days in the classroom, teaching students, which is always insightful.  I am honored and grateful for such an experience!

The first piece that I chose to study was Maynard Dixon's 'Medicine Robe'.  I do not have much experience painting portraits, but could not pass up an opportunity to really look closely at a Dixon painting!  I decided to paint parts of each painting rather than entire pieces, so I could then focus on specifics that were particularly educational to me.  In this case, I was interested in the focal area of the figure, where the shapes were strongly defined.  The brushstroke defining the light on the opening of the robe was exhilarating and BOLD!  The simplicity and effectiveness of these shapes is fabulous!  

 Maynard Dixon    'Medicine Robe'    and copy

Maynard Dixon    'Medicine Robe'    and copy

The next painting I copied was to study the shadows that were used in falling water.  There were many gorgeous paintings of the lower falls on the Yellowstone River, but I wanted to study how Thomas Moran had established so much depth in the falls.  It was subtle and effective.  The style of this painting is very different from my own work and I thought that it would be interesting for me to attempt to copy what he had accomplished.  I did not have time to let the painting dry in order to get some of the incredible textures that Moran had laid over a dry surface... but I certainly had a chance to study his style.  When copying a masterpiece, you become aware of so many intensional acts in composing and painting... it is so inspirational!

 Thomas Moran     'Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone'     and copy

Thomas Moran     'Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone'     and copy

At his point, I spent a few days teaching students age 7-14 in the museum classroom.  We worked on atmospheric perspective by layering tissue paper, form and texture of trees using cardboard as a printing tool, symmetry, cityscapes and even a little felting project to understand the unique qualities of sheep's wool.  The students were attentive and FUN!

Upon returning upstairs to the museum, I chose a Frank Tenney Johnson nocturnal painting to study.  I was intrigued to see what, exactly, the value range was in his nocturnal piece and was BLOWN AWAY with how dark the entire painting was!  When I looked through a red filter, there was very little definition other than the horses flank, front shoulder and left side of the head... and when I went to mix the color of these 'lighter' moonlit areas, I was astounded at how neutralized and dark they actually were!  So much to learn... and so little time!!!!  The museum was busy and I ended up short of time to finish this study, but am thrilled that I got to look at it as long as I did!  

 Frank Tenney Johnson     'Down the Moonlit Trail'     and copy   

Frank Tenney Johnson     'Down the Moonlit Trail'     and copy   

I often end up spending extra time at the museum painting because it is just too difficult to stop!  I always want more time!  But I also feel as if I need to 'pinch' myself to remind me that I really have had these incredible opportunities at the Buffalo Bill Whitney Museum!  The staff, students and visitors all make it relaxing and fun... but more than anything, I get to learn so much!

Thank you to everyone involved in helping me to return for these artist residencies.  I appreciate the efforts and support... every minute of it!

Awesome Experience at the Santa Fe Plein Air Festival

I was honored to be invited to the 2016 Santa Fe Plein Air Festival put on by the Plein Air Painters of New Mexico.  The level of work from the 55 invited artists was humbling and inspirational.  If you are in Santa Fe between June 9 and July 4, please visit the lovely InArt Gallery for a treat of a show!  Everything in the gallery was painted by the 55 invited artists in 4 days... impressive!

 'Looking toward Shade'  Oil.  8x10.  InArt Gallery.

'Looking toward Shade'  Oil.  8x10.  InArt Gallery.

 Shadow layout of Chimayo building

Shadow layout of Chimayo building

Each of the four painting days we had opportunity to join our colleagues at specific locations.  The first day was at the pueblo of Chimayo where a pilgrimage was taking place.  I got some great photos of the pilgrims coming from a variety of pueblos but choose to paint these two buildings while there.  It was a warm day and shade was a true luxury!

The second day was a fun adventure that I experienced with my newly acquired friend Cheryl.  We headed past Ghost Ranch and continued on to a dirt road that followed the Chama River to a monastery.  We did not make it to the end of the road, but came across amazing cliffs to paint... irresistible in fact!   

 'Morning Light' Oil.  9x12.  InArt Gallery.

'Morning Light' Oil.  9x12.  InArt Gallery.

The afternoon brought tremendous storm cells that lasted throughout the evening.  The skies were amazing!

 'Afternoon Build Up'  Oil.  11x14. InArt Gallery. 

'Afternoon Build Up'  Oil.  11x14. InArt Gallery. 

The Third Day we were lucky enough to go Los Luceros historic ranch.  It is a working ranch that is owned by the state of New Mexico and is on the Rio Grande River.  I have never seen such monumental cottonwood trees... the bosque!  I decided to work toward simplicity this day as the amount of green and underbrush was overwhelming to me!  a fellow painter, Tom was set up and painting in my view, which gave great perspective to the scale and temperature of the day.  I hope to develop this painting at some point.  Thanks for modeling Tom!     

 Study of plein air painter at Los Luceros.  Oil.  9x12.

Study of plein air painter at Los Luceros.  Oil.  9x12.

The final painting day I choose to go back to Monestary Road where I revisited cliffs.  The sky was a bit hazy and was reflected in my painting, although the grandeur is hard to beat! 

 Cliff Study.  Oil.  11x14.

Cliff Study.  Oil.  11x14.

The following days were spent hanging the shows, socializing and recovering.  It is an experience that I will cherish forever.  The show is incredible and inspirational... go see it if you have a chance!  InArt Gallery 219 Delgado Street, Santa Fe, NM... you will not be disappointed! 

Thank you to Plein Air Painters New Mexico and InArt Gallery!  You guys are AWESOME!!!!

Maynard Dixon Country Visit was FUN!

This year I planned ahead and 'stopped in' to Maynard Dixon Country ahead of the events so that I had time to paint!  It was great as the scenery is stunning.  But, better yet, I had many painting questions lined up for the spectacular opening at the Thunderbird Gallery in Mount Carmel, Utah!  I could hardly wait to see how the invited artists took on the challenges of painting these views... and was I thrilled to learn from all of their work and get to ENJOY every painting... not to mention the artists themselves!  It was, indeed, like a candy store!

Maynard Dixon Country Day 4
Maynard Dixon Country Day 4

 

The temperatures were hot which was a new challenge for someone who lives in high elevation mountains.  I even got to use my umbrella... which I definitely need a better set up for!

Maynard Dixon Country
Maynard Dixon Country

The evening light and cast shadows on the cliffs is nothing short of breathtaking!

Maynard Dixon Country  Study
Maynard Dixon Country Study

There was one day that was a bit smoky so I decided to avoid a longer vista. I found this house nearby in Orderville.  I was intrigued with the contrast of the dramatic red sandstone backdrop for this charming little Victorian home.  I thought about what it must have been like to arrive here and build this home so long ago!

Maynard Dixon Country
Maynard Dixon Country

Some days I just plain ducked into shade wherever I could!

I have not had opportunity to work with these studies yet, but learned so much from working in this environment prior to seeing the show... what an opportunity!

The weekend was all that I hoped it would be with a symposium started by Hal Cannon reciting poetry and singing in his storyteller style followed by a presentation by Jill Carver and Ralph Oberg.  Guest artist Robert Goldman was there along with the many invited artists who's skill and sensitivities are mind boggling!  The Thunderbird Gallery Show and wet paint show were both spectacular!  Add a little socializing, great food and music and you know you have arrived in heaven!

Susan and Paul Bingham are to be acknowledged in this and other Thunderbird Foundation events.  They are passionate, organized and FUN!  Thumbs up to them!

The Whitney Museum is an Amazing Place!

I was fortunate enough to have another artist residency at the Whitney Museum again this year.  http://centerofthewest.org/2015/07/27/in-out/  It is part of an incredible group of museums at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming... What an opportunity!

I spent my week in the museum copying paintings.  I have not done that since art school and was excited to work with paintings that had figures in them.  I started working on a copy of a Russell painting that I was drawn to due to it's color intensity.  Every time I have gone to the Whitney I look for it immediately.  It had added intrigue to me because the figures were not necessarily the focus of the painting - hence they were more simplified and abstracted.  It was such a treat to take time to really study the colors, composition and focal development of the painting. I was captivated by the sophistication of movement through this piece and learned a lot studying it.  The other thrill was mixing colors to match the intensity and hue.  I spent a fair bit of time trying to match colors but quickly caught on to a style and palette of mixing.  All in all I was pleased with the outcome and the amount that I learned.

Artist Residency at the Whitney
Artist Residency at the Whitney
Copy of a Remington
Copy of a Remington

The second piece that I copied was a N C Wyeth.  The Whitney has a few of his works displayed right now that are FULL of action.  I do not have a lot of experience in painting figures and was thrilled to have opportunity to spend time with his work!  This piece had me working with atmospheric perspective and figures in motion.  I was working smaller than the original so I took the details only to a certain point, but was pleased.  It is amazing to spend a lot of time with any given piece of art and try to figure out what the artist was thinking while they worked... I was mesmerized!

I was visiting with museum goers while painting which also helped me to define what it was that I was doing as they were curious to know.  The combination of visiting and studying was perfect for me as I welcomed the distraction for a mental break!

Copy of a NC Wyeth
Copy of a NC Wyeth

The first week of the residency I spent teaching in their classroom.  I had two classes daily and WE HAD FUN!!!  We had lots of helpers and fantastic students... Yes, I am spoiled!!!

Teaching at the Whitney
Teaching at the Whitney

Painting was the highlight of the experience as resident artist, but I also had opportunity to share what I was learning with the guests at the museum.  I was thrilled to be able to communicate how exciting the week was for me.  The staff was helpful, comfortable and super supportive; the environment is stellar and my only complaint was that time went too quickly!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West for making this experience available to me.  I also would like the share a great big thank you to the Wyoming Arts Council for making this artist residency possible!

The Whitney Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West is an amazing place.  To be a part of it for a few days is an experience that will affect my art permanently.  I am humbled and grateful.”

'Just a Place' and 'January Thaw' both juried into the PAAC National Juried Fine Art Exhibition and Sale!

I am thrilled to announce that 'Just a Place' and 'January Thaw' were both juried into the Plein Air Artists Colorado's 19th Annual National Juried Fine Art Exhibition!  The show will be at Mary Williams Fine Arts in Boulder, CO, August 1-30, 2015.  I feel honored to have art represented in this venue with so many talented artists!  I have special thanks in my heart to all individuals involved with the organization, jurying and execution of this show!  Thank you!

Just a Place
Just a Place
January Thaw
January Thaw

 

It is insightful to me that both pieces were done in the field with strong focus and immediate enthusiasm for the subject.  As a plein air painter, I often drive around casually searching for a 'spark' in my soul in response to what I am seeing.  At times I have an idea of what I am looking for, but most often I just pull off the road and meander around with a sketchbook.  Almost always, something strikes me as interesting... but sometimes, I cannot stop the truck soon enough...I am hooked from the first second!   Both of these paintings were situations like this.

For 'January Thaw', I saw snow curling off of this roof every time I drove to town and the temperature got above freezing.  I observed it many times, always curious about how I would paint that crease of snow.  Then, one day, the sun struck through the trees lighting it up as if by spotlight and I had to paint... THEN!  (Groceries are not always that important!)  I had two good hours before I was in the shade and feeling uncomfortably cold - which was just enough time!  I knew that time was of essence and got my notan studies down quickly.  It was a day of complete focus and satisfaction!

'Just a Place' was initiated by the fact that a cold wind was blowing and I was desperate to get out of it.  I hiked around a few locations before spotting the sun hitting this concrete wall... out of the wind!  When I started sketching shadow and light, I realized that many angles were coming together in a gorgeous composition.  I recently took a week workshop with Jill Carver where she stressed multiple times the importance of seriously problem solving ideas with mini sketches prior to painting... like doing MANY studies before committing to a painting.  This concept really came to fruition for 'Just a Place'.  By the time I had done multiple notan studies, I knew exactly what I was focusing on and how I was planning on achieving it.  Snow was not even completely melted at this point so colors were neutralized and subtle.  I had so much fun painting this!

All in all... you never know what will hit your soul with good focus... but when you find it... it is AWESOME!

The opening reception will be at Mary Williams Fine Arts in Boulder, CO on July 30th, 5-8pm.  I hope to see you there!

Spring has Sprung and there is Action!

Spring has Sprung and there is action everywhere!

Shift Change
Shift Change
Cottonwood Stand
Cottonwood Stand

 

These two pieces, 'Shift Change' and 'Cottonwood Stand', have both sold in the last couple of weeks!  Both are done in pastel.  I am thrilled that they have found happy homes - one in Queretero, Mexico, the other in San Antonio, Texas.  Thank you to those who have purchased these pieces!  I would like to put forth a special thank you to Guchiebird's in Driggs, Idaho for showing my work.

I am heading out today for Texas to take a workshop with Jill Carver.  I am super excited.  Her sense of form is very strong... but her execution is fluid and loose.  I think that I have much to learn from her... not to mention getting to interact with a group of incredible artists while there!  Keep posted for my experience while in Texas.

What a nice send off I have gotten over the last couple of weeks!

You Know That Winter Has Been Mild When...

...  you get out plein air painting in January and February!

Corner of the Track In Process
Corner of the Track In Process
Early Spring in the Tetons
Early Spring in the Tetons
January Thaw
January Thaw
Corner of the Track
Corner of the Track

 

I have been thrilled to get out and work on my 2014 theme of SIMPLIFICATION.  How can it be SO difficult to 'keep it simple'?  As you can see from the pieces above, I have kept my subject matter to a manageable number of shapes, focusing on basic shapes in light and shadow only.  This is accomplished by changing color temperatures within these shapes rather than extreme value changes... gee, it sounds easy enough!

I have a feeling that this is going to be my 2015 theme as well!  After all, practice makes perfect, right?

Keep posted as I will be attending workshops, making an appearance at the CLICK Visual Artists Conference, teaching workshops and THRILLED to be invited back to do a residency at the Whitney Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming... not to mention painting!

Art Residency at Buffalo Bill Center of the West was Incredible!

I had a wonderful time as a resident artist at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum in Cody, Wyoming... how often does someone get to paint in front of a couple of large Rungius paintings?... Not to mention the paintings and sculptures of Russell, Remington and Bierstadt that surrounded me!

MZF residency Buffalo Bill Center of the West
MZF residency Buffalo Bill Center of the West

 

I learned a lot, felt tremendous support, met hundred of interesting people and managed to get a few paintings well on their way!

I am feeling so grateful for the opportunity!