This design was inspired by artist Mishelle Tourtillott, and is #2 in our Little Stitchy Collection of free hand embroidery patterns. And if you would like to learn more about our featured artist, be sure to check out her interview below, under our Artist Spotlight section.
• Mishelle Tourtillott •
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Mishelle Tourtillott and I live in Vancouver, WA with my daughter and husband and our two cats, “Dudley” and “Cloud”. Our oldest daughter is now in college in Michigan. I own a pet sitting business for the last 4 years. In between pet sitting or slow times I am at my easel painting.
2. What made you want to become an artist?
I’ve always loved creating art. When I was a child I loved creating collages. I always took art classes in school and enjoyed all of it! As a nature enthusiasts and hiker, I’m always finding many things that inspire me to paint!
3. How did you learn to paint?
I am mostly self-taught. I take workshops when I can. I also went to college for graphic design and computer graphics and found I enjoyed the painting classes more than the design classes.
4. What inspires you most/where do your ideas come from?
I found since living in the NW that bodies of water have intrigued me. Many of my paintings with water have wildlife in them too. I also have a deep fascination with birds in their natural habitat.
5. Show us your three favorite paintings and why you like them:
I don’t really have a favorite painting. Many of my paintings have a story behind them. Each one is unique in it’s own way. I choose these 3 paintings because they are fairly recent and I loved the colors of each one.
This one has been sold to a private collector. “Sunset At Cannon Beach” was a favorite of mine because the last night I was in Cannon Beach this sunset happened. It was so beautiful I wanted to capture it on canvas. Also my mom, sister and my two daughters were there with me. It was a special week!
This painting above is available. http://artbymishelle.fineartstudioonline.com/works/894925/koi-in-lilly-pad-pond/
I had a lot of fun with this painting. It’s an acrylic wash on watercolor paper. There are many layers to it and the colors just worked out the way I wanted them too! I had the inspiration from one of my client’s ponds to do this one as well as from an artist that does this type of medium that I wanted to try out. I learned a lot from this design and I hope to do several more in this same technique.
This one is titled “Follow The Leader” I had a lot of fun with this mixed media painting. I used to scuba dive and the angel fish or “Moorish Idol” were always fun to watch. This is also one of my first oil paintings. I did add other mediums to it too.
6. Tell us about the first thing you can remember painting?
It wasn’t really a painting but a “sand painting”. I created it in Jr. high in a art class with a teacher that was really fun. She brought sand in from the Florida beaches. There were so many different colors. We made paintings from it. I don’t have the painting anymore but I remember it being a geometric design.
7. How would you describe your creative process?
It really depends on the medium and the scale of the painting. With many of my larger paintings, I tend to take time planning it a day or two before. I usually use between 3 – 5 photos that I’ve taken to create the composition. Once it’s drawn out on the surface I lay out the paints I want to use. I prefer to work in the mornings. It’s my favorite time of day to paint and when I can have some long periods of quiet.
8. What are your favorite materials or medium?
My mood has a lot to do with that. I love oils, acrylics and watercolors. For my spontaneous paintings I enjoy the watercolors a lot and tend to work in that medium a little more because it’s so easy to have everything out and accessible all the time. The cleanup is easier too and you can get to work right away with it where with the acrylics and oils I need to either stretch a canvas or choose one at the store and have my floors covered for messes. There’s just more prep work with other mediums.
9. What is your favorite color? Does it influence your work?
Hmmm, I love greens, blues, and purples! Either one of them or all of them are in a painting.
10. What advice or tips would you give to someone who is new to painting?
Have fun and don’t get uptight about making mistakes, some mistakes often end up being happy ones! There’s always another piece of paper or paint over it if you can! Your mistakes help you learn and grow! Paint everyday if you can! It’s great therapy!
11. When you paint, what is the one thing you cannot do without?
Good quality paints are important to me and I love music with a lot of energy to paint to!
12. What is your favorite subject to paint and/or style to paint in?
Already spoke about what I enjoy painting in #4 but as for style I always tend to revert to tight detail more realistic work but I really do love impressionistic painting, it might be why I enjoy painting water and clouds!
13. Do you have a favorite book on painting that you would recommend?
For beginners I recommend The Artist Way by Julia Cameron, Finding Your Visual Voice by Dakota Mitchell, and Art Escapes by Dory Kanter.
14. Who has been most influential in your craft?
Dreama Tolle Perry and Susan Sarback have fantastic color combinations in their paintings and I love Robert Bateman’s wildlife art and his devotion to wildlife habitats and endangered species. (I got to meet him twice!)
15. Do you enjoy collecting anything?
I like to collect good art. I only have prints of a few artist.
16. Aside from painting, what else do you enjoy?
I love to kayak, hike, horseback, travel and spend time with family and friends.
17. Where do you sell your paintings?
I have had my paintings at the 360 Gallery, stores around Vancouver, WA and in Colorado. (and in her Etsy shop as linked to above)
18. Has your work been featured in the media?
I’ve been featured in Rocky Mtn. Spirit holiday magazine and North Light holiday magazine as well as the business section in the Reporter Harold newspaper in Fort Collins, CO for a aviary that showed one of my murals.
19. Do you teach painting or have you wrote any books on the subject?
I’ve volunteered for my daughters school in the Art Discovery Program several times over the years.
20. Who is your favorite artist/designer/craftsman and why?
Boy, I can’t think of just one artist, designer, or craftsman, there are so many talented people out there that it’s hard for me to have a favorite. If you ever watch Oregon Art Beat you’ll know why! I love that show!
21. Tell us about your work space.
I use my living room as my workspace. It’s huge and perfect for when I paint on a large scale with my acrylic washes and canvas work. It would be nice to have a closed door in the room to keep the noise out and have hardwood floors for easy clean up, but for now, I can’t complain.
Thank you so much Mishelle for your interview and for being a part of our Artist Spotlight! And also for inspiring an embroidery design for our Little Stitchy Collection.