When artist Sam Michelle discovered peonies, a gracious love-affair began. What had been a moment of floral appreciation would soon become a full-time “romance”, as described by the painter herself.
Based south-east of Melbourne, Sam Michelle is known for her stunningly vivid still-life paintings of flowers, nature and beautiful ceramics. Michelle has been full-time for over seven years now, using her masterful eye to capture (and preserve) the beauty of flowers in their everyday moments.
We asked her a couple of questions about her work and inspiration.
Q Tell us about your work. How did you get started?
I am an oil painter and work full time in my beautiful home studio located in Blind Bight (an hour south of Melbourne). I started painting in high school however it wasn’t until 7 years ago that I took the leap into painting full time. It was also around this time that I discovered peonies which I solely blame for my romance with flowers and love of still life painting.
Q How have flowers inspired you?
Flowers have a special ability to brighten up a room or mood. They can remind us of a loved one and evoke nostalgia. I particularly enjoy using flowers to create characters, I use their stems as legs and leaves as arms. Lately I have been inspired by the challenge of painting intricate detailed flowers, such as bearded iris and unique varieties of orchids.
Q What are your favourite flowers or flower memory?
My favourite flower memory is running around my Grandads garden as a child in New Zealand. He created his vast garden from scratch and it has the best tracks and hills to run around and explore. I was able to travel back to NZ recently and my Grandad and I had a lovely time chatting about his garden, how he designed it and his favourite flowers & NZ natives.
Q Do you have any other projects you would like to mention?
I am currently working on a collection which will include NZ landscapes I captured on my recent trip along with NZ native still life paintings. I have some inspiring images of Grandads garden and hope to translate these onto canvas.
Photos by Suzi Appel