arts & culture

{favourite five: artist michelle armas}

by

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Beauty without colour seems somehow to belong to another world.

Colour affects emotions, design, art, and trends; it dictates our fashion, changes our mood and it epitomizes so many, many things without the need for words. Ruby red lipstick can be worn to signify ardent love and desire; pink blush conjures romantic rendezvous, and a bouquet of yellow daffodils can be given to symbolize friendship . . .

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. . . lavender candles in a powder room can symbolize femininity, grace and elegance; a black evening gown that flows in the moonlight can represent sophistication and style, and the colour of a string of heirloom pearls worn on a wedding day is said to represent marriage.

Colour has its own language and painters are its masters.

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Michelle Armas, an Atlanta-based artist, doesn’t simply paint with colours, she fuses colours with thoughts, blending magic to canvas — each whimsical brushstroke takes your mind away to almost a heightened state of being and awareness, as you follow the light she creates through colour in paintings that have the power to light up a room.

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By profession a graphic designer & illustrator, Michelle began painting to break away from the structure of work, but she says that ”the longer I paint, the more structured and narrative my work becomes.” Like many artists, Michelle’s design education began before she entered the classroom, making arts and crafts with her father at home, everything from clothes for her dolls to oil portraits.

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Through her blog, Michelle offers a glimpse into the mind of an artist, and the motivations behind some of her loveliest works. This week, we sat down with her to talk about:

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{the top five things that inspire her work:}

1. Day dreaming.
I pretty much fantasize about beautiful things all day long, and then I think oh wow, wouldn’t a lavender and dark green something be the best . . . off to paint!

2. Fashion.
The prints! The proportions! The drama! I am recently drawn to spare, modern clothes in the perfect shade of black, blue or grey, and it is making me want to do paintings with less color, and softer compositions and lots of nice clean space.

3. Travel.
I love to see what other people are wearing, how stores in different cities do window displays, the light and the sky and the ocean in places that are not land-locked Atlanta . . . even the trees, the colors of leaves. I am going to California soon, and I am super excited to look at some cool new plants!

4. Food.
I just made an almond yogurt cake with blue berries and peaches on the top, and when I took the layer of parchment off, the colors were so stunning! I love the color of cooked blueberries, and that purple blue next to the soft orange of the peach was super cool.

5. The Ottoman Empire.
Yup, those people knew how to do a mosaic, and how to use color. Wow, one, maybe two colors, in the most amazing, stunning, geometric splendor you have ever seen. I am researching right now to start painting a bunch of portraits, and I can’t stop adding details that I have seen in mosaics.

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p r e v i o u s f a v o u r i t e f i v e s :

* jewelry designers: megan & moira flynn
* actress & writer: shiva rose
* jeweler: camille eddera
* artist: kimia kline
* actress & fashion muse: chloë sevigny
* floral stylist, part 1: denise porcaro
* floral stylist, part 2: denise porcaro
* fashion photographer & illustrator: garance doré
* interior designer & architect: nina freudenberger

* entrepreneurs: rent the runway
* designer: rachel ashwell
* interior designer: tricia foley
* photographer: romina shama
* food editor & author: donna hay

~ laily

{images: paintings by michelle armas, all other images from once wed: one & two}

Laily Samadi
Contributor, New York City

Laily lives in New York City, although her mind often wanders across the Atlantic. A lover of modern design, letterpress stationary, and simple yet elegant couture, Laily believes that happiness can be found within bundles of ranunculus or garden roses. As a visual person, she overlooks a film’s plot for aesthetic and cinematography. She divides her attention between two men: her husband and her puppy, Bear.
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