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Michaela Laurie lives and works in country New South Wales just south of Canberra, Australia’s nation’s capital city. She has lived at ‘Wren’s Nest’ since 2002 with her husband and children. The essence of her surroundings remains as it was when they moved there. It is a landscape and environment where she has become acutely aware of comings and goings of animals and birds, the change of seasons and the beauty of light in each day.
The landscape of this unique place has pervaded her soul. It is a land of expansive skies and rugged mountains overbrimming with elements of natural beauty which are formed by a very harsh climate. Michaela sees this landscape of hills, rocky outcrops and weathered gum trees everyday from her home and as she drives in her car. The trees, each with a distinct personality, are distinctly silhouetted against huge ever changing skies. These views never cease to draw her to them. As the sun rises or sets, these same hills, rocks and trees become silhouettes. Their interior makeup disappears to create a dramatic scene. The sky becomes a luminous pool of colour at day break and night fall. Magic is played out and colours begin their hypnotic dance. These are reflective times to be delighted in.
Michaela brings this magic into her interpretation of the landscape which is somewhat fantastical. She brings to the viewer a world of calm moody stillness with elements appearing from her imagination and her childhood. These manmade elements invite the viewer to enter the landscape and imagine walking through and interacting with it. These ideas and themes are brought to her landscapes, islands in the bay, bonsai and still life.
Michaela is fascinated by the layering of line and colour to create a sense of place. Her art practice technique involves scribbling with pen and ink and then “painting’ with coloured pencils onto watercolour paper or watercolour board. Her technique allows for layers of rich colour to be built up and movement to be suggested. She is drawn to the immediacy of working with coloured pencils. Pencils allow for a huge variety of mark making possibilities and their waxy consistency allows blending, layering and glazing of beautiful rich colour much like oil painting. The combination of pen and ink and coloured pencil creates a very 3 dimensional image.
In 2016 Michaela was selected to hang in the Salon des Refuses Exhibition at the National Trust’s S.H.Ervin Gallery in Sydney, Australia as one of 24 out of over 700 Wynne Prize Entries. This exhibition also travelled to the Mornington Peninsular Regional Gallery in Victoria. In 2017 she was awarded Honourable Mention at the Chelsea International Art Competition in New York and won 1st place for Miniature Art at The Royal Canberra Show in Australia.