District Gallery will celebrate local artist Michaelle Peters Charlwood
Ryan Summerlin November 20, 2012
Park City-based artist Michaelle Peters Charlwood said her career in visual arts has come full circle.
She graduated from Weber State University with a degree in fine art and has managed to stay working in the art industry.
"It’s come full circle," Peters Charlwood said during an interview with The Park Record. "I’ve done everything from running art galleries to working as an art consultant."
Peters Charlwood had an interior design business in town as well.
These days, the artist spends her time "behind the easel" creating encaustic artwork.
"The technical definition of the word ‘encaustic’ means to ‘burn in,’" Peters Charlwood explained. "It is a combination of molten beeswax and resin and various pigments that are put together in different layers. It has been around for many centuries, since the Egyptians, and is a very durable medium."
Peters Charlwood will showcase her new work during an artist opening at the District Gallery, 751 Main St., on Friday, Nov. 23, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. And also on Friday, Nov. 30, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Admission is free.
The works will range in size from six-inches by 12-inches to three-feet by four-feet.
"I will display more than 25 new paintings that I have been working on for the past few months," Peters Charlwood said. "I’ve been busy.
Peters Charlwood, who cited Clyfford Still, Richard Diebenkorn and Frank Stella as some of her favorite artists said she usually finds ways to add foreign objects into her paintings.
"I use recycled sailing material from old sails, because I spent a lot of time in the Caribbean," she said. "In fact, my work is inspired by the sea and by the mountains."
Peters Charlwood was drawn to the encaustic style because of the impact it made on her when she first saw it.
"Nothing has hit me like it has," she said. "I would try a different medium and then lose interest after a while. And I think what caught on to me about encaustic painting is that it similar to all the work I have done in the past with European plasters and doing my decorative finishing at home.
"Working with the encaustic medium is a very constructive and laborious process," she said. "I find that I’m building a painting from the inside out, rather than putting material on a plane."
While she works, Peters Charlwood applies the mixture and scrapes it back numerous times.
"As I do that, I find that I’m revealing and concealing visual mysteries, and I find that fascinating," she said. "It’s an endless source of inspiration for me."
Peters Charlwood’s works display a combination of abstract and representational styles.
"For example, I will have works that suggest a sea or landscape, and then I’ll often add symbols of navigations or maps," she said. "I’ll also put in some of the constellations and calculations, so there is a broad mixture of all of that."
Memories have been the launching point for many of the pieces.
"They always creep in," she said. "I usually don’t have specific things in mind when I start, but there are always vague images. I remember colors well and I have a strong sensory memory. So, things that are sometimes hard to represent realistically like misty atmospheres make their way into my works."
As an artist, Peters Charlwood has found that many people have their own preconceptions about her profession.
"A lot of them think if you’re an artist, you don’t make a living," she laughed. "I found that when you introduce yourself as an artist, people feel sorry for you, you know? But if I say that I’m a successful artist, the whole conversation changes."
Still, the painter believes in doing what she loves to do.
"I think if you do that, the success will follow," she said. "Throughout my life, I’ve never really strayed too far from where my passion is, and I have been lucky to have that work out for me.
"Even when I was doing decorative finishing in houses and I would worry about things slowing down, the phone would ring," she said.
Peters Charlwood’s latest success story was being picked up by LaFave Gallery in Springdale.
"This is a phenomenal new gallery owned by Kathy LaFave that just opened up a few months ago," Peters Charlwood said. "I just put my head down and work hard and things tend to work out. I consider myself very lucky.
"Doing my own art is something that I’ve always wanted to do and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity," she said.
The District Gallery, 751 Main St., will host an artist opening for Michaelle Peters Charlwood on Friday, Nov. 23, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., and on Friday, Nov. 30, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.michaellepc.com or www.districtgallery.com.