Michelle Shook grew up in the Perth area amidst talented arts and crafts people that mentored her and inspired her to pursue a career in the arts. She is currently a Toronto-based oil painter and ceramic artist, and her work can be found in private collections across North America and in Germany and Japan. Shook’s paintings are also featured in several public spaces including Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital and the Toronto Hydro building.
“My goal as an artist is to try and touch people with the beauty I see every day in the world around me,” she says. Whether it is a single flower, a solo bird or a vast landscape, Michelle infuses each painting with vibrant colours. Shook has traveled, lived and worked in such diverse locales as Haiti, Guatemala, Guyana and Canada’s Maritimes. Her latest work explores pockets of natural beauty in Toronto’s city scape, as well as landscapes in rural areas around Southern Ontario. “Whether it is a stand of birch trees on Toronto Island or a hydro line reflected in the Humber River at sunset, I find endless moments of beauty and grace in our urban landscape.”
Michelle Shook studied Fine Art and International Development at the University of Guelph. Her art career took off almost immediately upon graduating in 1998 with a large 7-painting public commission from her thesis show. This kicked off an incredibly productive decade resulting in Shook mounting several solo shows a year. Throughout this period, she also taught painting, drawing and held ‘art-as-therapy’ workshops for people with special needs, psychiatric survivors and dialysis patients. This work allowed her to combine her love of making art, with her passion for teaching and community building.
While continuing to do private commissions Shook paused from participating in public exhibitions while her three children were preschoolers. “I never stopped painting while they were young, but stepping back from it a bit in order to dive fully into being a mother, has deeply affected my current work and perspective,” she says.
Shook embraces social media and posts regularly. She keeps her followers engaged with interesting projects like her 30 Day Challenge, painting 30 paintings in 30 days. Sometimes she holds contests asking her followers to guess the theme of the painting she is working on and rewards the winners with her art cards. She also shows paintings in progress, and glimpses of how she hangs a gallery show.
Shook is excited to return to regular exhibitions and this will be her sixth year on the Perth Autumn Studio Tour as a guest artist. She always enjoys returning home to be a guest on this wonderful tour!
For more information, visit www.michelleshook.com or follow her @michelleshookpainter on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.