Michelle Dunaway’s figurative paintings often depict people in an introspective moment. “One of the things that fascinates me the most” says Dunaway, “ Is that we all have unique histories and life experiences, but within we all share the same emotional journeys as human beings. These inner journeys connect us as people across time, place or culture, it unites us. I’m interested in exploring these connections in my paintings.”
Michelle has been drawing people since the young age of 2, fascinated with facial expressions and hands from such a early age. Raised in beautiful Alaska , Dunaway spent time as a young artist hiking and exploring the stunning landscape, always feeling a deep connection there spiritually. Looking out upon the landscape she would see figures there in her imagination that she wanted to paint. “When I was a young girl, I would wonder about the generations of people that might have stood in this very spot, that looked at the same landscape, that felt the same things I felt while being there.” Dunaway says. “What moves me the most in life and art are those fleeting moments where a whole universe can exist because of a realization, insight or inspiration. It is simple yet profound at once and occurs unexpectedly many times when alone out in the landscape or in a seemingly ordinary moment. These are the moments that captivate me and I find I have to paint”
It’s the theme that runs through Dunaway’s paintings…the emotion of the subjects, their inner journeys across diverse cultural backgrounds. When Dunaway traveled to Paris for the first time a few years ago she found herself asking the same questions she did in the wilderness in Alaska or in the high desert of New Mexico where she currently resides and has her studio. “ Who walked these same paths? what did they feel, think and dream about? How are we connected to each other as human beings on our individual journeys? ”
Dunaway is greatly inspired by the paintings of the old Masters such as John Singer Sargent, Cecilia Beaux, and Anders Zorn. Michelle has also painted and studied with some of the current Master artists of our time such as Morgan Weistling, Jeremy Lipking, Nancy Guzik and Richard Schmid.
Dunaway was a top finalist in the Portrait Society of America’s International Portrait Competition in 2010 and won the Award of Exceptional Merit for her double portrait of the daughters of actress Jane Seymour. Michelle was featured in Southwest Art Magazine’s 21 under 31 issue as one of the 21 emerging artists of the United States. Her art was recently featured in American Artist Workshop Magazine, spring 2010 .Michelle’s drawings are included in the book Strokes of Genius -The Best of Drawing Light and Shadow. Her work is in numerous private collections