Monday, July 25

Trust the Magic

I created a body of work based on the idea to trust yourself even if you or maybe more so if you fail. It sounds like melodrama to me too ok. But there it is. We are all our own penny dreadfuls. Thats just life. Or maybe what I mean is that you can define failure anyway you really want to right? So maybe for me failing is something as innocuous as not paying attention hard enough, or pushing an idea far enough or settling for making basic bitch. Ok, actually what I am saying is that I created a body of work from a place of being vulnerable and tired and confused and saying to myself "I trust you Michelle, we are going to figure this shit out."

Nerd Corner: Its like when Harry Potter made his giant Dementor defeating patronus in the Prisoner of Azkaban because he had already seen himself do it so he knew he could do it. Siiiiiiiiiick

The Knower and The Known, 40x40

I decided last year that I was going to make things happen, get the globe spinning and damn it all to hell. Its happening. I love this going fast, not really knowing how its going to end up, seat of my pants business. I think having Alia has made me an even bigger risk taker than I was before. Its like well here we are, if you have an idea of a life you want you better make it with your own two hands. I have her life to think about now too. I won't be the best mom if I am not the best version of myself now will I.


I was just minding my own business one night when my hubby handed me the Five Minute Journal
Its a journal that takes only five minutes, is for am projecting and pm reflecting and goes with me everywhere b/c I don't wan't to miss a day. There are quotes and one of them by Meister there touched something in me. Some of my friends have reported feeling happier and more centered since starting their own five minute journal. I certainly feel much happier and braver, and I have noticed a trend in my daily affirmations. I write them from the gut every morning.

Its seems that my subconcious mind really wants me to be a present, powerful and joyful person. These words repeat themselves again and again. So then the taking action part begins and I am having a really good effing time. 

You can see pieces in this series here. Along with my new website, boy that has been a labor of love let me tell you. I am not good at making technical stuff happen. Let this blog stand in testament to my technical inertia for I am still using blogspot. Surely she is mad they whispered. Yup. Crazy like 2005 baby.


Friday, June 17

Minimal Silk Paintings

Life has been a little bit hectic lately. And as a result I am craving muted colors, and lots of negative space. This is where my new silk pieces come in. (I will be putting this series of silk and linen pieces online when I launch my new store in a few weeks). 

These are the kinds of pieces that I want to hang in my own home, like today. I love the tactile quality of them, even the transparency of the fabric, and the slight bunching on the sides, to highlight the luminous quality that the threads have. There is a touch of gold paint, and smudges and stains and a few deliberate and graphic pencil marks. I would love to see these sold as a pair and live together in a chic home surrounded by calm and love.

Wednesday, June 15

Just bragging about my new website (looks at fingernails)

I just can't wait to show you my new website! New logo! New paintings! Also, a new secret project/collaboration I have been working on that is for your west cost peeps. I am simultaneously brimming with excitement, and so in my head + distracted that I slipped on my front stairs this morning and yanked my neck all out of alignment. I was on my way to the gym, and I need to go there regular like to keep the ol back slightly less ol. 

Features that I am excited about: you can sort paintings by medium, substrate. Elegant design and quickly get prices emailed to you right then and there, and coming soon special limited edition prints.

After I have a fancy pants person make the necessary modifications to make it perfect then it will go live and only people signed up to my newsletter will get special treatment.

Sunday, June 5

Art Deco

I didn't always love art deco, even growing up visiting south beach a lot, I never appreciated what I was looking at. A few months ago in Havana I was arrested by the beauty of the art deco buildings, they seemed to look all the more elegant for being neglected. (Its also about accessorizing well, I mean those palm trees are just the thing right?)

Switching gears to gaze upon this elegant mansion. I feel like Poirot is going to waddle out and politely demure to swim with the other guests, using that opportunity to study them and come to miraculous conclusions that we only find out about in the very end. But. Look at those sexy curves.

 I love these rugs, one is like the intro to a scary movie and the other is search beams lights and hypnotized spider rings. Beautiful colors right? I want to put a silver metalic leather something on that, and a sofa in a tight geo pattern in like indigo or something. Super trippy right?

The only thing missing from the photo down here is a vase with dahlias in it, black ones.

Round shapes with interesting angles. 

There are so many of these elements in my paintings. Round, swooping movement, simple repetition, arches in thick and exaggerated scale, geometric elements and bold colors. This piece has a lot of art deco influence, so does this one.

Wednesday, May 25

Works currently available at Stellers Gallery Ponte Vedra

Stellers gallery always seems to want my brightest pieces, and some dramatic ones as well. They currently have some very special pool style pieces, or waterscapes.

Leap Day 48x48 a drippy, water logged pool painting.

This piece is called I Stole the Keys to the Sky, and it lived in my home for a while. I miss it! 36x48 inches acrylic, and soft pastel on canvas.

Many people have asked me "what happened to your dotty style of painting" the answer is nothing, its right here! I moved away from my dot style because I was seeing it everywhere and it felt strange, so instead I explored other ideas and some very powerful paintings came from that exploration. However, I should never have felt like I couldn't paint in my signature style and stopping was the wrong move on my part. Now I am happily allowing myself to just flow, and these paintings come out of me so naturally and effortlessly. Lets Keep Going is 60x72 inches.

Lets Stay Friends is 48x72 inches, a totally happy and relaxed pool painting or waterscape.

Lie to Me is 36x48 inches

Coba, 48x48 inches

Tuesday, May 24

Sea Contemporary Art Space

Lets make things nice and easy, and lets just look at all of the work that is available for purchase at Sea Contemporary Art Space in Rosemary Beach Florida shall we? I have been working with them for two years now, and they have several pieces that I consider to be some of my best work. With the exception of Ionian, shown in situ in the frame down there, none of these pieces were created for the Topography of a Swim show, those are all pool paintings fyi.

I used to post all of my paintings in my store but I spent today making a sleek new page for my Galleries and stores. Check it out!

From now on when I participate in a show, or send work to a gallery Ill make a post about it here. Nice and neat right? I hope so.

Absente, 30x33 inches oil and soft pastel on raw linen.

Ionian (inspired by Greece) is 36x72 inches, mixed media on canvas. Framed in a stunning white floater frame, wired and ready to go!

Two pieces, Autumn Moon and Blue Moon both 36x36 inches, offered framed in maple and black. Ask the gallery for more images.

Sonata, 23x37 inches, also framed in maple (frame not shown)

Juno 48x48 inches is oil, acrylic, oil pastel and soft pastel on canvas. This piece reminds me of a carnival.

Valley of the Kings 40x40 inches ink, acrylic and soft pastel on canvas.

Love to Love You, I can't remember if this piece is still available, but it has been one of my favorites. Its what I call a "stacking shapes" piece, or in my mind a still life but I love mixing acrylic paint and dusky soft pastel together.

Good Afternoon is a nimble composition on raw linen 30x33 inches.

Don't Panic, this one is also 30x33 inches on raw linen. Ink, acrylic and soft pastel.

Monday, May 23

Topography of a Swim + Rosemary Beach + Karina Bania is my soul sister

So excited to tell you all about my new show "The Topography of a Swim" at @seacontemporary in collaboration with the incomparable @karinabania Opening on May 19th. I'll be there, and so will Karina (can't wait!!) #michellearmas #rosemarybeachfl #poolpaintings
"The imprints that Armas’ acrylic washes leave on the psyche are long-lasting. Utterly atmospheric, this series conveys a sense of ephemerality, as if air or water, has been momentarily captured and held between the frame. In a pursuit of spatial possibilities, swaths and plumes emphasize the literal expanse of the picture plane while suggesting infinite, explorable spaces behind it.

The movement of the artist’s acrylic washes and its spectrum of saturation to transparency are part of the works’ subject matter. These expanses of pigment are visual evidence of the liquid flow of paint – how it drips, pools, stains and runs to the edge. Even the absorptiveness or resistance of the surface, how the acrylic pools are held by the canvas, becomes a component of the picture.  

Armas works from instinct, producing an extraordinary output that is both vital and ever-changing. It is in this new series that the artist’s treatment of color on the two-dimensional picture plane is brought to its most nuanced effect. Palpable but subtle, this definitive new collection places Armas among the most striking of contemporary art’s colorists." 

Isn't that dress so pretty? It's from my favorite lady Elizabeth Suzann, just in case you wanna copy me. I met Karina in person for the first time at the roof top bar of the Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach. We had just driven in and I was so eager to meet her in person, and of course I knew her the moment I clapped eyeballs on her. We just started chatting and laughing and we never stopped. Her very sweet, outgoing husband and O hung out together and compared notes on having artist wives. I am glad O has someone to commiserate with!

I know you are going to ask, so let me just tell you that Karina's beautiful earrings are Annie Costello Brown, and her jumpsuit is from here

I was so inspired seeing our paintings together, I knew that it was going to be so beautiful and magnetic to have my pool paintings and Karina's amazing, spare works hanging together but I couldn't have imagined just how arresting it was to fill the gallery with these pieces and then sit back and experience it all. For the last year, or more I have been craving something more with my work, and am making plans to move away from my standard order of business and try something different for me. I was floundering so much and waiting for a sign, waiting for that aha moment when I thought hey why don't I just create what I want? So I contacted Jennifer at Sea Contemporary Art Space and I proposed the idea for this show. Jennifer curated our pieces, and pulled out our best work, as she always does, and then perfectly placed each piece to draw the viewers eye around and around. I almost cried from joy when I waked into the space, and then on top of all of that I got to spend the evening with Karina, a woman I knew deep down in my soul that I would connect with in a meaningful way. We spent the weekend, we two couples, enjoying each other's company and I had that feeling like I was living a moment I would remember; a moment I would talk about in my future and it would fill me with fondness and warmth. The older I get, the more people I meet, the greater demands on my time, I see how rare that feeling truly is and how special it is as well.

The rest of the time in Rosemary with O was just soothing, and calm and peaceful. We had lingering breakfasts and swam in the sun-soaked placid green waters of the gulf. We saw stingrays and beautiful bits of coral and algae and dug our toes in the sand (so cozy). We sat on the shore as the sun went down and talked about our plans for this year and beyond (we have a lot going on, and its very exciting and also scary). My mom and dad took care of our sweet Aliboo while we were away and we missed her so much, but I knew that I wanted to have time to spend with Karina and her husband and we made the right choice. 

My mom sent me this photo of Aliboo eating watermelon "sandia" in the tub and it just stayed with me the whole time, in my heart. Her sweet face. Heart Eyes!

Drinking, and swimming and shopping and looking at art and eating nice seafood and chatting with people and sleeping in. Not too shabby.

Wednesday, March 16

Interview with Wild Humm

Hey lovers. Wanna hear what I have to say about art? Check this out. Thanks Bianca for interviewing me!

Thursday, March 10

20% off Sale on Paintings for SRPING BABY!

48 hours only. Lots of new stuff in the store. And don't worry if you aren't in the market for a new painting b/c a print sale is on the horizon as well. Enter "spring20" to get 20% off but code expires in two days.

There is a tryptic in this style of 24x24 sized pieces. They would look so cool all framed together in a row as one piece, or you could break up this family. Thats not terrible.

There are also three new linen pieces in 30"x33" size. Nice and small enough to be able to fit in almost any room, but large enough to make a statement!

These two are soul mates. Just saying. 

Also we have Mrs. Bluesky. A dotty, sea glass colored explosion of subtle love. Right? I think of a spa when I see this guy, ahem I mean lady.

Monday, February 29

High School Me

I was the editor of my yearbook in High School, and I was recently asked to do an interview for this year's edition. You know, in case you are dying to see another interview with me :)

This piece isn't from High School, but it was experimental for me back in 2012! 

1. How has Harrison contributed to your success?
Being on yearbook at Harrison was probably the biggest influence on me because I am still working in the arts. I have a masters degree in branding and graphic design and I learned about graphic design at Harrison. Overall though going through High school, no matter what specific influences it has on your future career can be a transformative experience, as it was for me. I learned a lot about who I was by making a lot of mistakes and forcing myself to be someone I didn't even know I didn't want to be. I didn't trust my intuition and it got me into trouble, I didn't believe that I was worthy of true friendship and I suffered through many frenemies and icky boyfriends. In general I think the high school years are for experimenting with who you want to be, and my memories of feeling out of place at that time remind me of the importance of being true to myself. I feel like that lesson is more important than any skill I learned because I learned to have the confidence to trust myself and I know that is the real key to happiness and success. 

2. Looking back, as a high school student, did you think you would be where you are now?
No. When I was in high school I thought I was going to have some high powered job where I get wear nice suits, and say things like "Becky get me last nights stats and send Leonardo some flowers". I can see now how silly that was because I overworked myself at that age, and I think I was pretty unhappy about it but I fed into that culture of overachieving. I didn't believe that if I just made art, and focused on honing my creative muscle that I would make a living in art (which is what I always really wanted, but seemed like an impossible dream). I would tell everyone in High school now to think about who you really are, and let that lead you toward your future. I am much happier working in my sunny studio with my friends or alone all day than I would have been in a job that requires punctuality or conforming to long hours or having a boss. I am my own boss and always will have been. 

3. Looking back at high school, who specifically would you say impacted you the most? 
There were so many insightful, inspiring and thoughtful adults and teachers who guided me at that time of my life. My yearbook editors gave me leadership responsibilities and creative license. They trusted my ideas and then held me accountable for them, what a gift. My orchestra teacher believed in me and encouraged me to try out for programs that would help me hone my cello playing, and then when I set aside playing in the orchestra to devote myself to the year book, she was happy for me. My math teacher would take me to school very early with her in the mornings so she could explain the complex ideas to me in a way that I could grasp. My Spanish teacher allowed us to be creative and humorous and didn't punish me for having disruptive laughing fits in class (I was sleep deprived from working on yearbook after all). She was like our den mother and I always felt happy to be around her. I still remember my Social Studies lessons, and the history I learned in those classes mostly because I love History (you get to use your imagination! Awesome!) but also because she was really passionate about us learning and so happy when we succeeded. Harrison was, and I am sure still is, a laboratory of great inspiration and I was a lucky girl to get to go there.

4. What does your job entail?
I am an artist. I create works large and small for designers and also for private collectors. I work with galleries and stores and I also sell work on my own website. I create work specific for each space or partner I work with and also create work that is a response to current trends and styles. I designed my brand, and my website, control all social media and public relations and I also work with companies around the world to license my work for household items, clothing and mass produced artwork. I decide what partners I want to work with and pursue them and create opportunities for myself. I also run my business to make a large profit so that I can maintain a roomy, bright studio and host events, donate money to charity and experiment as much as I want with  new ideas, mediums or tools. Currently I am designing some brass sculptures that will interact with my paintings, and designing rugs and a new series of almost all white paintings. 

5. What about your job inspires you?
Its relentless and so much bigger than me. I am just a part of a huge wave of artists, all striving to survive, and our culture is constantly evolving and changing except for the fact that I must hone my creative muscle and intuition. In other words, is a huge responsibility to be required to be quiet enough in my mind to find the gems of inspiration that drive my success. I have learned that if I project positive energy and effort into my paintings, and into the relationships I make through my work then good things come back to me ten fold. I have seen it happen again and again and its so inspiring to be a part of it. 

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