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April 5, 2011 > Among Friends

Among Friends

By Mona Shah

Women artists and friends Barbara Nagel and Michelle Smith collaborate for a joint showing of their art this month. While each woman's resume is extensive individually, the combination will offer a feast for the visual arts connoisseur.

Nagel has a unique representational style and a strong sense of color and design. Her paintings of California reflect a love of its historical landmarks, sea and landscapes and the State's natural diversity; a never-ending source of creative inspiration. She also enjoys painting florals, still life and abstract art. Primarily a watercolorist, Nagel also works in Prismacolor Pencil and Pastel.

Although self-taught, she continues to enhance her skills through attending workshops with outstanding watercolor artists. In addition to her fine art, this artist has created beautiful and vibrant watercolor illustrations of Signs of the Zodiac. A uniquely different interpretation of each sign masterfully incorporates a human or partial human figure as part of each symbol.

Michelle Smith always had a proclivity for all things creative. From drawing, coloring and clay as a child to sewing, sketching and painting as an adult this love of art lead her to a career in Graphic Design. It was a fun job where she was able to draw and be creative every day, but much to her disappointment, this would not last.

Smith was born with a congenital heart defect, which caused a progressive lung disease called Pulmonary Hypertension (PH). Although she was essentially asymptomatic most of her life, about five years into her career, the disease began to worsen. She was becoming short of breath, fatigued easily, and could no longer continue to work.

A few months into forced "retirement", Michelle serendipitously came upon a watercolor instruction book while at a bookstore. This was the beginning of her passion for watercolor painting. She painted and practiced as her energy would allow, bought more books and practiced some more.

Her style varies from representational to realistic. She enjoys painting a variety of subjects, especially animals and florals, however, the subject matter isn't as important to her as lighting, shadow and color. Even quite ordinary subjects can become interesting and beautiful with dramatic light and shadows, and intensely saturated color.

Among Friends
Through April
Artist Reception
Sunday, April 10
3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Mission Coffee
151 Washington Boulevard, Fremont
(510) 623-6920

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