In 2009, I sold my business of nine years in the gift basket business. Yet, I didn’t really have a plan as to what I wanted to do at 50 years old. I was kind of lost. I had gone to art school to become a sign artist back in the early 80’s, and when sign painting became obsolete with vinyl, I had to recreate myself. I find myself having to rebuild my life once more, yet I felt more like retiring. After a few months of boredom, I signed up for an oil painting class at the local community center.
When I arrived, I noticed everyone had a story as to why they were there, and many were retired and just wanting some recreation. I guess, I was no different. I was shown what supplies to purchase, how to start a painting, what techniques to use, and so on. I really didn’t have a clue how to begin. Mostly everyone selected a landscape as there subject, but I always chose an animal or some obscure object. I never resonated with landscape paintings.
I realized quickly, that I could paint. I was in shock. I had no idea that I had any talent in art except for lettering trucks and sign painting. I went on to take the advance class which included some glazing techniques, and more one on one instruction. The classes were once a week for six weeks. I painted at home as much as I could. I couldn’t stop.
As I progressed in my newly found talent, I noticed the top of my head would pulsate. Sometimes the throbbing would be strong and disruptive. Pulsating is the best way to describe it because it felt like a heartbeat on the very top of my head, encapsulating my entire skull. This continued for about two years. Sometimes it felt stronger than other times, and usually it was more energetic while I was painting. I had a sense I was getting a download from the universe.
I was always attracted to closeups of my subject matter. Maybe it has to do with being in the sign industry and my experience with painting billboards. Landscapes were never part of the plan, I couldn’t even relate to it. Portraits were my favorite subject, but I was not satisfied with the direction I was going with it. My paintings seemed uninteresting and typical. I kept thinking I need to add another layer, something extraordinary, creating movement and a looser stroke. After two weeks of meditating on this, I came up with the tissue paper idea. One morning as I awoke, a light bulb went on… and so it began.
For two years I experimented with the technique, including burning about twelve canvases in my firepit. My earlier paintings had less dimension, and as it advanced, the paintings became sculptures adding more and more layers. Now, a typical painting can protrude about two to three inches from the canvas. I’m still perfecting my method and every painting allows me to push the envelope.
I am extremely grateful for my talent and feel connected to the angelic world since my download of inspiration and creativity. Since then, I meditate regularly and ask for guidance on how to proceed with certain art projects. I will continue to paint for many years to come and you can expect new paintings in the future inspired by the heavens.
Michelle Larsen Fine Art, Prescott, Arizona, 3D Sculpted Mixed Media Tissue Paper Paintings