Michelle McDowell Smith

The Muse (2018)
acrylic paint and collage on canvas
48 x 60 in.

My current body of work, which is titled “of land and sky, whimsical and free,” is softly surreal with a storybook sensibility. The work is hopeful and aspirational but also a truthful reflection of disappointment, loneliness, and the loss of innocence. The pieces stand as a testament that we can hold firmly to the wonder and magnificence of life, while also recognizing that sadness and incompleteness are inevitable. My portrayal of disappointment and the acceptance of it seeks to shed light on paths we can take to reconciliation and healing.

This piece was created on canvas with layers of acrylic paint and other materials, including handcrafted papers, sewing patterns, maps, old letters, vintage book pages, and more. I have a multistep progression involving sketching, collaging, glazing, painting, and then repeating. I am very deliberate with what I choose to collage and where it is placed on the canvas. Every collage element is worked into the piece with acrylic paint to add color, to create depth, and to blend it seamlessly to the whole.

artist’s website

© Michelle McDowell Smith