Earth Day Artist Spotlight: Michele Morata

Michele Morata takes a very spiritual approach to painting, letting each piece come through her. Her works feel abstract, atmospheric, and serene. She currently lives in Southern California, near the ocean and mountains, and finds inspiration in meditation and positive human emotions. Fun fact: she considers herself an eco-friendly artist and has researched mediums that are organic or recycled in nature.

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Where do you like to work?

I am currently working plein air as an abstract expressionist, which is a bit unique. I have been known to be a rule breaker as an artist, and I guess this fits with my personality. Currently, I have two favorite plein air locations, both at Treasure Island Beach behind the Montage Resort in Laguna Beach, CA.

One is above the beach, and one is sitting on the sand on the beach at the very end of the path, which is more secluded and not ‘everyone’ goes down to the end – that far. I prefer not to draw a crowd actually and work under the radar when I am outdoors. Although I do talk to people on occasion when I work plein air, that is not my main focus when I am painting. However, I do allow for ‘divine appointments’ where I feel led to talk to someone longer.  

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What is your biggest achievement as an artist?

I think of achievement in terms of internal success and external success. The biggest internal success would be that I booked a week of drawing classes for my mother and I at a resort in Palm Desert, CA, six months before she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. To me, that was extremely significant, and I had never drawn or painted with her, and did not know at the time, I was never to have that experience again with her in that way.

The external success was when I got in a gallery on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. When that happened, I felt I had arrived at something. Looking back, it was good for my confidence, as the gallery owner told me they were turning away 200 artists a day from representation. I had to get that out of my head, to even show up for the initial appointment with him. And for some reason, I was not very nervous, and perhaps that was half the battle.    

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What do you do to support to support the environment?

I support the environment in many ways. Right now, I am committed to going to Hazardous Waste Facilities twice a month. I collect toxic paints from other artists and neighbors, and bring them to the facility. People are surprised when I tell them how safe these places are – you just have to Google ‘landfills’ in your community to find one. We do not even have to get out of our cars. These facilities have workers come to your vehicle and remove everything! How easy is that? I think if we could just love our planet, as much as we love our family members, our pets, or even ourselves, then can you imagine how beautiful our world could stay?  

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This is an aerial view of Italy which surrounds the Carrera marble quarries, where Michele gets crushed marble and stone for her ‘Manifestation Series’ paintings. The white on the mountains is not snow, that is the quarries.

She uses water-based oils with no added chemicals on top of these types of organic textures - and other international handmade organic textures, such as sand from Treasure Island Beach. Carrera is the town nearest to the white mountains. 

You can find Michele’s UGallery page here.