For Michelle Carnes, the creation of art is a transcendental undertaking. Her work is a testament of a true dedication to being witness to the world around her.
Michelle’s earliest artistic experiences were formed by her life growing up in the Ukrainian Village in the City of Chicago. Her perceptions were rooted in the sights and sounds of her culture, with the vibrance of an inner-city backdrop. She was consumed with drawing at a very young age, and was determined to learn. At the age of 11, she convinced her mother to take her to the Art Institute of Chicago for the Saturday morning anatomy and figure drawing class. Her passion for art was recognized by her teacher. She was asked to assist with model preparations, and to paint a personal commissioned work. It was her first job and she was hooked. While visiting the Institute’s museum, she saw the original work of Pierre Auguste Renoir, On The Terrace. “That day it just clicked. I had a clear revelation that communicating through art was essential. That single moment will forever remain with me – I realized the potential of my personal power – my artistic voice.”
Her studies in art took her westward, where she continued exploring color, composition and design, graduating from the Art Institute of Colorado. While working as an award-winning graphic arts professional, she discovered the works of Sergei Bongart and Nicolai Fechin – masters of Russian Impressionism. For her it was a surreal feeling. The style was deeply familiar – the way her grandmother used to arrange flowers, and how her childhood drawings of neighborhood characters were mirrored in the masters’ works. Her passion to return to her roots was ignited, and she was invited to study under colorist Don Sahli, Sergei Bongart’s last apprentice. Under Sahli she studied Russian Impressionism and painting en plein air, and immersed herself in the discipline. Her devotion for painting was fierce. She continued to refine her craft at The Art Students League of Denver under Mark Daily, and the Watts Atelier in California with Jeffrey Watts. “Their influences are felt in my work, but in the end, it’s my own,” she says.
Michelle’s work has been praised for its unique ability to capture the energy of the subject. Inspired by the light and colors of painting from life, about life, she expresses her observations in an immediate and bold voice. She keeps herself open to surprises, not relying solely on the skills she has worked out over the years. Her constant exploration gives way to new creative inspirations that carry her forward.
Michelle’s art career has spanned more than 2 decades. She has been a guest on NBC News, interviewed on KUVO Jazz Radio and has won the 2007 Southwest Art Magazine Evergreen Plein Air Juror’s Pick Award. She was awarded and recognized for her 2011 Burning Man Rites of Passage multi-faceted art installation, which also was featured in the Black Rock City magazine. Her one woman shows “Heart and Soul of Denver” and “Celebrations” were both sold out. She created the live painting feature in the “Ser la Muse” cabaret which was recognized in The Press Democrat, and North Bay Bohemian publications. She was the creator and former owner of CounterCulture Art Haus Gallery in Sebastopol, CA, has sold her original works in galleries in Chicago, Denver and the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as in private international collections. She was invited by Richard Schmid for a personal art review and to show in his Rist Canyon Fine Art Auction. Her original works and live painting shows have transformed spaces in public venues including 2013 Sundance Film Festival, 2013 South by Southwest, The Intersection at Google and entertainment venues in the Bay Area, including SOMO Village, an award-winning ONE Planet redevelopment. She has permanent corporate installations in Qdoba Restaurants nationwide, and Red Touch Media internationally. She is currently showing in the Bay Area and is a juried artist member of Oil Painters of America and Sonoma County Art Trails. Michelle lives in beautiful West Sonoma County, California.
www.michellecarnes.com | email@example.com | 707.820.1064