Hello! My name is Michele May, and I am an artist living in Pine Beach, New Jersey with my husband and two sons (follow me on Instagram and Facebook!). I am thrilled to be a Guest Doodlewasher!!!
According to my mom, drawing was my favorite thing to do when I was a child. I preferred my collection of art supplies and paper over any toy. At school, my essays, book reports and papers often were accompanied by my hand drawn illustrations.
My path, however, diverged after graduation. I found myself immersed in a non-art career for many years, followed by raising a family of busy kids. Although I had some opportunity during those years to exercise my creativity with projects at work and with my boys, I really had little time for my own art. But a day did not go by when I didn’t think about it.
In 2011, I learned about “The Sketchbook Project” and reluctantly signed up to participate in it by ordering one of their sketchbooks, filling it with drawings, and shipping it off to be included in a huge collection of artists’ sketchbooks, from around the world, all permanently housed at the Brooklyn Art Library. My skills were rusty and I had that little, nagging voice in my head saying, “What do you think you’re doing? You’re not a real artist.” But…I pushed myself and did it anyway. It felt wonderful to draw again!
My motivation to keep on drawing somehow tapered off after that, and slowed to a trickle. I didn’t know why that happened, exactly, until I read Danny Gregory’s “Everyday Matters” about the value of drawing every day. I realized that I didn’t have to live up to someone else’s definition of artist…I can create my own! Danny’s moving story and resolve to keep drawing inspired me in early 2014, to enroll in classes and become part of the online community of artists that he cofounded with Koosje Koene, called Sketchbook Skool. I have been drawing every day since!
Being part of communities of other artists online keeps me inspired and encouraged to continue honing my skills and learn new ones. Most of my recent work is done in sketchbooks in a style that consists of line drawings and watercolor washes, which are aptly described on this site as “Doodlewashes”.
I enjoy using Lamy Safari fountain pens filled with assorted DeAtramentis or Noodlers inks, Sakura Pigma Micron pens, an assortment of Daniel Smith, Schmincke and Winsor & Newton watercolor paints, Winsor & Newton gouache, Prismacolor pencils and good ol’ number 2 pencils.
I keep many sketchbooks of different sizes and papers going at the same time. My favorites to work in are Moleskine, watercolor and sketch; Stillman and Birn, zeta; and Strathmore, mixed media journals. I also work in a few of my own hand bound sketchbooks.
My art journey may have started a long time ago, and has had some false starts and abrupt stops, but I know in my heart that I will keep it going from now on. I would like to further explore portraiture, life drawing, pastels and traditional watercolor painting, and maybe even return to oil painting. Thank you to Charlie O’Shields for inviting me to be a part of the Doodlewash community of artists. It’s an honor!
Lovely paintings and a very inspiring story.
Thank you Michael!
Thank you Jodi!
Yay Michele, I’m so excited to see you featured on Doodlewash! It’s so fun to see people I follow and interact with pop up as a feature and then get to learn more about them. I couldn’t agree more with what you said here- “Being part of communities of other artists online keeps me inspired and encouraged to continue honing my skills and learn new ones.” Wishing you the best 🙂
Thank you Jessica. It is a wonderful thing when the world shrinks a little bit more. Glad our paths on this art journey of ours merged!!! =)
I love the postcards. (K)
Thank you Memadtwo! Those little drawings were part of an exchange with other artists. I got as much enjoyment out of giving them away, as I did making them…and I received 6 precious little artworks in return.
Beautiful work! So much dimension and color.
Thank you so much Compassandcamera!
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Art is obviously deep in your heart, so I’m glad you found your way back after some stops and starts – which also means I can enjoy your lovely work on Instagram. Headed there now!
Thank you so much creatingincolors!!! =)
Michelle, your story is inspiring to read. I love your philosophy. Your enthusiasm shows in your artwork, which is fun, expressive, and enchanting. Lucky for us Charlie invited you to participate in Doodlewash.
Thank you Sharon. That is very nice of you to say! =)
Your art has always moved me, the story brings memories and some tears….there is so much of you in each drawing….amazing!
Thank you Mark…for this sweet comment…and for years of support and love!!! It means the world to me! <3
Lovely work, Michelle, I use very similar art supplies as you, so I found it all very inspiring! Have followed you on Instagram.
Thank you so much! I don’t have a big stockpile of supplies…the few I have mentioned have never failed me! Thanks for the follow, too!
Thanks for the inspiration, Michele!
Thank you for stopping by Shawne! So sweet of you! =)
I love that about creating my own definition of ‘artist’. I’m going to have to find that book! Thanks for sharing!
“Everyday Matters” is one of many inspiring books by Danny Gregory. I would also recommend another of Danny’s, “Creative License”. Thanks Casey…=)
Thank you Eileen! =)
Michele. I love your work–especially that beautiful fall leaf–all of that beautiful glorious color. I love to paint with bright colors as well. I just followed you on facebook. Hope to see you on mine: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieGlackenWatercolors
Thank you Annie…so nice of you to say!!! Your work is awesome and I love your enthusiasm for painting!!! Thanks for the follow too. Followed you as well. =)
[…] an adventure for sure, kind of just have to let it do what it wants to do. Guest Doodlewasher, Michele May described it as a balance between control and chaos, which is an apt description of using […]
I love you line work and use of bright color.