Artist Caren-Marie Michel

An example of fine art by Caren-Marie Michel

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The Artist Says:

After earning my BFA from Portland School of Art (now Maine College of Art) in 1978, I raised two daughters and embarked on a sixteen-year banking career. In 2000, I left banking to paint again.
My main interest is color in the landscape. Living in Maine, one cannot help but be amazed with nature and the effects of light, time, season, place, and color. My paintings come from frequent walks and travels, bringing my vision and experience to the viewer. I work in many layers of color in acrylic or pastel to achieve glowing color in my paintings.
I also am interested in in the manmade landscape and have set out to document how our urban landscapes continually change. I see the world as a painting, whether it is the old mill downtown, the fire station, golf course, mountain or beach. I have done many paintings of Westbrook, Maine. My past and current involvement in this community intensifies my desire to represent the city and its individual buildings, for example, the Dana Warp Mill. This old mill is central to the history of Westbrook. As hundreds of cars pass I each day, I wonder if the occupants see the beauty of the colors. Sometimes I blend the “real” with the unknown by incorporating collage into my paintings, a “space stamp” which causes the viewer to stop and add their own interpretation to the piece.
When I paint in acrylic on canvas, I continue the painting around the edges of the canvas. One day while my canvases were lined up while I was preparing my work for a show, I noticed that the edges of the paintings created a new landscape image. I then used this idea to create new landscapes, painting the edge of each painting on paper side-by side as I painted the canvas edge. This is how the “Painting Edges” series began. Each “Painting Edges” piece represents four to eighteen individual landscape paintings. Not only odes each piece develop a new imagined landscape, but also the pieces document my work as I go along.
Almost ten years ago, I started painting the Katahdin region of Maine when I joined North Light Gallery. I started an intense period of learning to paint “plein air” or on location and have traveled all over Maine and New Brunswick, Canada discovering and painting.  I paint out as often as I can in all conditions; I love to be out painting!


Caren-Marie Sargent Michel was born in Portland, Maine and is a lifelong Maine resident. Michel's work explores the urban, industrial, and pastoral images of Maine and documents the ever-changing landscape in paint. Michel is a devoted plein air painter working in acrylic and pastel on locations all over Maine and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada. Michel often portrays a location through series capturing different seasons or times of day with changing light and color. Michel is Treasurer and Past President of Westbrook Arts & Culture (Maine), Past President of the Pastel Painters of Maine and past Treasurer of the Union of Maine Visual Artists. Michel is Treasurer of the Warren Memorial Foundation and a Director of the Cornelia Warren Community Association.
Michel studied painting with Esther Barney in Portland, Maine for six years and earned a B.F.A. in painting from Portland School of Art in 1978 (now Maine College of Art) where she studied with Bill Collins, Ed Douglas and Johnnie Ross. Michel returned to painting and exhibiting in 2000 after a sixteen year banking career. Michel's work has been selected for juried shows in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado and Washington. In Maine, Michel’s work has been exhibited at Bates College Museum of Art, Aucocisco Galleries, Atrium Gallery at USM-LA, Carver Hill Gallery, The Jameson Gallery, North Light Gallery, Littlefield Gallery and the College of the Atlantic. Michel’s work has been juried for publication in the University of Southern Maine’s 2002 and 2004 Words and Images.
"The Downeaster" and "Got Paint" were included in 2018 Paintings of Portland by David Little and Carl Little, Down East Books. Michel's work “Bangor and AR” was included in David Little’s book Art of Katahdin hardcover 200 pages Down East Books (May 16, 2013) and “A Mountain Rises: The Art of [...]

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