Michelle Davies

“There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t say a quiet thank you to him”.

Artist

October 2021

How did you get to where you are now, creatively speaking.

I came to it later in life after being brought up by parents to believe that painting was not a realistic way to earn a living. I painted away quietly in my arty hole until I was introduced to a sculptor called Tony Southwell, who has sadly passed away, he gave me a good kick of confidence to get out there. He crowbarred me into studying fine art and I have never looked back. It’s the only job that I have ever had that I’ve never been bored with. There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t say a quiet thank you to him.

You have a very strong style, what are your influences and how have these inspired.

I feel I am caught between the realms of expressionist and impressionistic art. Artists like the German expressionist Anselm Kiefer, Emile Nolde and colourist David Hockney are my go to artists. Artists that have a strong honest visual style and who are not afraid to be who they are as artists. Anself kiefer’s moving works have a real sense that human experience and memory have a base to any kind of work you paint and have a frankness that I always want to emulate in my own practice. Emile Nolde for his brushwork and expressive choice of colours. John piper’s depictions of war, bombed churches have a haunting quality and have always moved me. David Hockney’s preoccupation with light and joyful use of colour just sing to my style of painting. That’s to name a few who’s works stop me in my tracks.

What makes you feel inspired?

I like strong shapes, texture, colours and contrasts to create drama and mood. The concept is in my head and when I paint it becomes a reality. I am not afraid to look what’s inside my head and try to paint it.

“When you look at old artists and their lack of resources it reminds you to get your big girl pants on and just get on with it”.

What barriers have you had to overcome to pursue your art?

Lack of of studio space but I have learnt not to use that as an excuse, when you look at old artists and their lack of resources it reminds you to get your big girl pants on and just get on with it.

Have you ever experienced artistic block and if so how did you get through it?

I definitely have had a period where my procrastination & confidence held me back. A real turning point was when my ex-husband took his own life, I suddenly felt an overwhelming poignant awareness that there felt too little time to express myself with a paintbrush. and I also found painting a real refuge.

What frustrates you about the art world?

It feels like there is a  real contradiction to having to sell artwork but hating the process of selling and putting yourself out there. I think that is why I  prefer to just paint and let people find me if they want to purchase my work.

What keeps you motivated?

An awareness that time is running out. I feel like a whole person when I paint. The initial spark of seeing an image in my head, then the process of and the elusive one stroke when it just feels magic. Translating what’s in my head with vivid luscious colours and the emotional response I find in a space or place that drives in me an immediacy of wanting to paint it.

What is exciting you right now?

Every day holds new possibilities. A shaft of light, a tilt of a hand or a poem that hums in my head. The day I don’t find excitement in life is the day I have no pulse.

What is the greatest compliment someone could pay your work?

When they say they need it (my work). That something emotional and instinctive resonated with them and it kept their thoughts coming back to my piece of work. I would rather my work be marmite than have no response at all, but when I hand over a piece of work and joy comes over the client’s face, that makes me burst with happiness.

Do you have a favourite piece of work?

I am torn between two that probably best visually describe me as an artist, but i will choose the one below.

Michelle Davies

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