Art Exhibit: Paintings of Chequamegon Bay Shorelines by Michelle Williams

June 14 – September 5, 2018

Chequamegon Bay shorelines inspire area artist Michelle K. Williams. Drummond Public Library presents her sparkling new work in a one person show opening Thursday, June 14 at 3 p.m. The show, Shorelines, comprises twenty pastel and oil paintings featuring our beautiful fresh water sea, Lake Superior. The Opening will run from 3 to 5 p.m. and feature a special artist presentation and discussion at 4 p.m. Refreshments will be served. The public is encouraged to attend.

Williams was born north of Chicago and received a BA in art and education from University of Wisconsin/Parkside and a BFA in art and MFA in painting from University of North Dakota. Education continued over the years through courses and workshops from national and international artists. Oils is her preferred medium, although she also works in watercolor, acrylics and woodcuts. She has taught drawing, painting and art history. Michelle is a newcomer to pastels, which make up the bulk of this show.

She has shown in group and individual shows in North Dakota, New Mexico, Arizona and Wisconsin and won numerous awards including Best of Show and First Place. Her main body of work comprises landscapes of the areas of the country where she has lived, including North Dakota, Arizona, New Mexico and Montana. Inspiration for her paintings is drawn from the land. As an artist, Williams cultivates a sense of place and a deep kinship with the area she lives in.

”I enjoy working in series, which allows a more extensive exploration of the subject at hand. The picturesque boathouses, which comprise the bulk of the work in this show, are located just east of the oredock in Ashland, Wisconsin. This series depicts changes in the structures over the number of years I’ve been passing through or visiting Ashland. Romantically derelict for a long while, half of them are recently refurbished and even sport satellite dishes and electrical hookups. Other paintings in the show are based on plein air studies of a lake near Lac du Flambeau,” explains Williams.

While the work in this show was completed in pastels in the studio this past winter, Michelle actually prefers working in oils “en plein air” (outdoors) in the warmer seasons. “In fact, most of my paintings started as or are the results of plein air oil studies, painted on site. I appreciate the economy and efficiency of plein air work and find the challenge of working with as few accoutrements as possible an irresistible challenge. Consequently, I carry the lightest, barest bones equipment and the fewest colors possible, especially when a hike is involved.”
Plein air dictates that the subject be painted quickly, before the light changes, sometimes in a mere 90 minutes. This suits her inherent impatience and is eminently practical. Her trained eye and years of experience colors her ability to judge in very little time whether a painting will make it or not. If not, then she can quickly move on to the next.
Williams still maintains her sense of awe while painting. “It’s always a miracle just how many colors and values and how much atmosphere and nuance seven tubes of color plus white can create. Every painting is alchemy—making something from seemingly nothing.”

With the return of warm weather, Michelle Williams will return to plein air work. She has plans for a series revolving around fish and the people who have caught them. Summer will also find Williams taking workshops to further hone her skills. She is will be an enthusiastic student in watercolor and in- you guessed it- plein air oils, with her beloved north country shorelines as the subject.

Share the joy and direct color of Michelle Williams’ work at the Drummond Public Library on view through September 5. The public is invited to stop by during regular library hours to enjoy the show. The Drummond Public Library is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 to 5; Saturday hours are 9 to 1 p.m. The Drummond Public Library has a dedicated space created to hold art shows. One of the library’s missions is to bring art to the community. Ever changing art at the library gives patrons and area guests a special reason for their visit.
— Mimi Crandall