When Seattle-area artist Michele Usibelli discovers a scene that evokes energy and emotion, she is compelled to capture the moment on canvas. On a recent trip to Italy, a slice-of-life scene at a small-town delicatessen in Tuscany caught her eye. “We came upon this ristorante and salumeria overflowing with Italian meats like capicola and pancetta along with exquisite cheeses like pecorino and asiago,” Usibelli says. “The sights, smells, and passionate staccato voices of the locals brought back memories of the elaborate meals prepared by my Italian grandparents.”
Usibelli’s expressive paintings have appeared recently in numerous juried shows throughout the West. This spring she participated in the Salon International show at Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art in San Antonio, TX. In 2011 she was juried into the Oil Painters of America’s Western Regional Exhibition at Lee Youngman Galleries in Calistoga, CA, and the American Impressionist Society’s National Juried Exhibition at Mountainsong Gallery in Carmel, CA.
Usibelli has a degree in architecture from the University of Washington, and it was only after 15 years in the architectural field and in the corporate travel industry that she turned her attention to a career in painting. Early on in her training, she connected artistically with the Russian Impressionist tradition of depicting shapes of light and color using loose brush strokes, a technique that is still characteristic of her works today.
Usibelli recalls that as an architect, she worked with hard edges and linear renderings of buildings. Today she relishes turning the linear into the loose, whether it’s a street scene or a portrait of a structure. “I’m now trying to convey more with less,” she says. —Bonnie Gangelhoff
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