3255 Harmony Valley Rd, Harmony, CA 93435
Open Daily 10am - 5pm
About the Artist
Who is Michelle Watson?
Born in San Luis Obispo, California in 1983, Michelle Leigh Watson grew up in the hamlet of Harmony, California (population 18) where her father, the redoubtable Larry Watson, a world-class wood carver, maintained his gallery. Michelle is currently studying art at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.
Having inherited her late father’s artistic gene, she is adept not only at decorative art, but also at photography, representational paintings and drawings. By referencing romanticism, whimsical fantasy, humor and symbolism, she utilizes the dynamics of landscaping by manipulating its effects with unconventional color.
Rather than presenting a factual reality, an illusion is fabricated to conjure the boundless realms of imagination.
Michelle’s paintings, sometimes classified as part of the new romantic movement, successfully illustrate a vibrant dreamscape of the universal consciousness and collectiveness and collective memory. By exploring the concept of landscape in a nostalgic way, she creates art by way of patterns and environments that are both capricious and historically Rich.
What made you paint “Ruby”?
My cow Ruby was inspired by Old Spanish California. I walked around harmony and visited the mission in San Luis to get me in the right head space for designing. I wanted to give a vibe of the missions and the Spanish influence of California. I chose vintage lace patterns and designed the face around them. I also chose flowers you would find in a Spanish garden as my main theme. I also wanted to give the feeling of the stark white walls of the missions and the rolling hills of California. The gold was for the gold rush and the color red was for the Spanish wedding rose feel. It is no coincidence that red and gold are the colors of a favorite California sports team either. I brought all of these elements together in designing my cow and it came out like a sunset in the garden , the big flowers set against the grey of the hills at dusk and the ornate lace and gold trim of old Spanish California. It took a few rough drafts and finally a large scale drawing that I colored I hand colored to get it all down the way I wanted. The metallic contrast against the deep burgundy and red when I was working on Ruby gave me the idea for her name, I think it fits pretty well as she does look a lot like an ornate Spanish wedding cow if there ever could be such a thing.