Emerging Artists | Michele Z. Farrier

Moments worth savoring

Michele Z. Farrier, Looking to Spring Light, oil, 8 x 10.

Michele Z. Farrier, Looking to Spring Light, oil, 8 x 10.

This story was featured in the August 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  August 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

One frigid winter morning, Michele Z. Farrier was sleepily making coffee at her kitchen sink when she spotted an unexpected visitor lingering outside the window. Farrier lives at the base of the Tetons in Alta, WY, and in the wintertime, snow piles up to the bottom of her windows. “Here I am, nose-to-nose with this snowshoe hare!” she says. The artist, who primarily paints en plein air, immediately grabbed some paper and charcoal to record the moment and the phenomenal colors. “The snow was white and the rabbit was white,” she says, “but he was a very warm, buff color, and the snow was a cold, almost green, neutralized lavender.”

The spur-of-the-moment sketch, which later evolved into a pastel painting, embodies Farrier’s philosophy as a painter. “My whole thing is, if there is a moment, seize it!” she says. The artist earned a bachelor’s degree in studio art from the University of California, Davis, and she taught art in the Teton County School District for 19 years before retiring a few years ago to paint full time. Farrier has embraced her new schedule “hook, line, and sinker,” she says. One of her western landscape paintings appeared in the Governor’s Capitol Art Exhibition at the Wyoming State Museum in the winter, and in June, she completed an artist’s residency at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, where she studied the paintings of N.C. Wyeth, Frederic Remington, and other masters.

In her own work, Farrier generally keeps things simple with large shapes and blocks of color, and she works in both pastels and oils, depending on what her subject matter calls for. Cast shadows, bright light, and abstract forms all catch her eye, and she travels in search of these elements throughout New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming, particularly in the nearby open country of Teton Valley. Weathered grain mills, fresh-cut bales of hay, stateline roads—anything that suggests beauty in simplicity—can prompt Farrier to stop, observe, and complete a field study. When we take time to observe, time expands, notes Farrier. “It frees your soul,” she says. “My hope is not that my painting will be the end-all, but that it will allow people to see that a moment in time is to be savored.” —Kim Agricola

representation
Deselms Fine Art, Cheyenne, WY; Guchiebird’s, Driggs, ID; and www.michelezfarrier.com.

This story was featured in the August 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  August 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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