Michele BonDurant, Painter

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Michele BonDurant was the first ARTIST OF THE WEEK on my facebook page “Dayton at Work and Play.”   I returned to her studio recently to see some of her new work and to take more photos.

Michele’s studio is on the third floor of her home.

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Walking through Michele’s home, I saw some of her artwork.

When Michele got her BFA from Wright State University, she was a successful sculptor.  That stopped as she raised a family.  Years later she was able to return to making art full time and she shifted to painting.   She took plein air painting classes with Jean Koeller.

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Climbing the stairs to Michele’s studio, you sometimes meet her two large dogs.

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When Michele first started painting in this studio, she found that the slanted walls didn’t give her enough space to hang her work.  She added the wall on the left, which also gave her some storage space.

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Michele’s early paintings were more representational.  This changed when she took a class from the well known painter Lois Dodd.  When Michele had completed the basic outline of a painting Lois Dodd told her she was done. Michele didn’t need to add all of the detail.  The painting already said what it had to say.

Michele has stayed with this approach to landscape ever since.  Her work has the major shapes, lines and colors she finds in nature, but without the smaller details that can muddy the message.

Here you can see some of Michele’s recent work.  The yellow house on the upper left can be seen out the studio window.

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Some of Michele’s artworks are paintings and some are collages.   Note the antique irons used to hold paper in place on her collages.

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This group of three works is interesting.  The small piece in the upper right is a painting.  Using that as a starting point, Michele did the collage piece on the lower right, with richer colors and straighter lines.  Now she is working on the painting on the left.

All her work begins from observation. Some are finished immediately “plein air”. Others are finished in the studio. Collages are done from the plein air paintings.

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In Michele’s words, ” As I paint with colors and shapes, I observe as a starting point, then I experiment, pushing what I see to a higher intensity. My painting flows between the process of observation and interpretation. I’ve been using this process to render landscapes, as a way to explore, strengthen, and simplify the abstract quality of nature. Collage has taken a role in my exploration.  It allows me to simplify forms to use fundamental information to create the image.  It helps me to see and find the duality of the abstract and representational aspects of painting.”

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