For Lana Michelin, painting is about trying to evoke emotion and create a certain mood.
Her sunlight-dappled, acrylic piece, Emma, Cool Water Study, did just that for jurors choosing works to be showcased for the Alberta Community Art Clubs Association’s 33rd Annual Alberta Wide Show.
Michelin, the Red Deer Advocate’s arts and entertainment reporter, won two Alberta Wide Show awards for Emma, Cool Water Study, including the show’s overall distinction, the Presidents Award.
The painting was inspired by a photo taken of Michelin’s 10-year-old daughter, Emma, standing in front of a lake in the Hinton area.
“It was an interesting photo because she was backlit and the water was so smooth and there was a calm presence in the atmosphere. I wanted to try to convey that,” said Michelin.
The ACACA even asked to purchase the piece they were so taken with it.
But Michelin joked that she couldn’t sell her girl.
Jurors took notice of how Michelin’s subject blended into the landscape and the contemplative look on her face because it “takes you beyond the picture and you start wondering what she’s thinking,” she said.
The piece also took home the Hildur Sherbeck Award.
It will be on display at the Alberta Wide Show at the Red Deer and District Museum and Art Gallery until August 12, along with another one of Michelin’s paintings. It will then move to the Visual Arts Association Gallery in Edmonton to be displayed with other winning pieces.
Her piece Sentinels that’s also in the province-wide show features a scene of “wind-blown, gnarled West Coast trees” with mist in the background.
“I was surprised and humbled . . . It’s an honour and very encouraging to receive an award. Hearing the critique is very encouraging too because it gives you a push down the right path,” said Michelin, who takes a weekly studio class with fellow local artist Susan Woolgar.
Michelin said she’s been painting and drawing for as long as she can remember, including a wall mural in the student lounge of her high school and multiple theatre posters.
But it was really only within the last four years that the busy, full-time reporter and mother of two has had time to devote more attention to painting.
“The ACACA show is a wonderful opportunity for artists like me who have full-time jobs, or who work on their own, or are based in small communities to connect with other artists,” said Michelin.
“It’s also a great opportunity for personal growth with the feedback from professional artists.”
Growing as an artist has enriched her capabilities in the workplace as well, said Michelin, who writes primarily about arts and entertainment.
“The more I learn about art and do it, the better I can write about others creating art. I understand it more and can draw on my own experience.”
And as for daughter Emma’s thoughts on her award-winning portrait?
“She’s very happy with it,” said Michelin.
“She’s says she’s famous now, a star.”