Alumna Paints Outdoors Every Day for One Year

Painting of The Brain PlazaKent State alumna and local artist Michelle Darvis spent every day of 2014 painting outdoors as she tackled her art project, “A Year in Plein Air.”

Darvis explains on her website that plein air painting is considered the hardest form of painting because artists paint outside with their canvases at the mercy of Mother Nature. Artists paint this way to truly master their art skills. 

She dealt with all types of weather, even in January, which she remembered as one of the coldest Januarys on record. “Northeast Ohio has its classic, harsh weather,” Darvis says. “I wasn’t in Santa Monica painting in 85 degree weather every day.”

Darvis says painting outside in the winter gave her a new appreciation for the season and allowed her to see the beauty of winter.

She painted daily because she believes we should do what we love every day of our lives. Her paintings feature scenes of Ohio and other places she visited last year, including many from around Kent State.

“Kent State plays a huge part in the collection,” Darvis said. “The campus is just so beautiful. There are some weeks where we only painted Kent State.”

Both Darvis and her husband spent a large part of their lives in Kent, which contributes to the multiple paintings of the city and campus. Darvis studied fine and professional art with a concentration in drawing from 2003 to 2007. 

She remembers her time at the university fondly. “The art department was perfect for me,” Darvis said. “It was such a positive atmosphere and I felt very encouraged there.”

Now that Darvis has completed “A Year in Plein Air,” she plans to work on larger paintings and wants to create something that reflects her love of gardening. 

“My goal is to rock the art world,” Darvis says.

Darvis is exhibiting her collection of 365 paintings in multiple cities nationwide in 2015.

By Haley Keding

POSTED: Thursday, December 20, 2018 - 11:25am
UPDATED: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 5:33pm