My name is Michelle Thevenot (Durell) - artist from Saskatchewan, Canada. I create wildly unique artwork in an eclectic variety of mediums for nature-lovers. I'm currently based near Osler, Saskatchewan.
I grew up in Prince Albert, SK where the proximity to forests, lakes, river, and wild animals imprinted a formative relationship with the wilderness.
I live an outdoor lifestyle with my favorite place being my off-grid camp in the boreal forest in the area north of Choiceland, SK. The forest provides creative inspiration through solitude, wildlife encounters, backwoods adventures, and the calm, grounding energy of trees.
I've always been artistically driven. As a child, I was always experimenting and creating with different materials and mediums. One particular phase of insatiable focus was sidewalk chalk murals spanning down the street. I was known as the quiet "art kid" in school. When acrylic painting was introduced in art class, there was a natural knack for it that just clicked for me - I thoroughly enjoyed disappearing for hours absorbed in the enjoyment of colors, textures, and mark-making.
Acrylic painting opened the doors to the beginning of my art career in middle/high school when I began participating in exhibitions, creating commissioned artworks, and achieving sales.
I attended post-secondary education at the University of Saskatchewan where I studied fine arts classes and received B.Ed in Art Education. I received academic recognition, awards, grants, and bursaries in support of my education and artistic career development.
Post-graduation, I continued my artistic career as an independent artist alongside other employment and family life. Paintings and drawings of Saskatchewan landscapes and local wildlife were foundational themes in my early art career. I found myself craving texture and dimension in my paintings, trying to sculpt the surface of the canvas. My body craved more movement and expression, finding it limiting sitting still to paint for so long.
Around 2018, there was shift to explore a multi-faceted art practice. My drive for experimentation, learning new things, and love for nature trickled into other mediums such as wood carving, chainsaw carving, mixed media sculpture, pyrography, textile arts, natural fur sewing, upcycling salvaged materials, photography, videography, printmaking, and creative writing. The energy of nature stays a consistent driver behind the diverse modes of expression.
Recently, I've focused on wood carving with chainsaw and power tools. I embrace the unique, natural characteristics of the wood - inclusive of organic shapes, growths, cracks, weathering, aging, and irregularities. These features guide artistic interpretation and influence natural changes over time, making the sculptures a co-creation between artist and wood.
People and wood are alike - we have imperfections, we age and weather over time, we crack under stress, we are shaped differently, we are one-of-a-kind... this tells the story of growth, resilience, and what shaped us into who we are today. A personality of raw, authentic, inclusive acceptance emanates from the wood and those that embrace it.
My art is created with a flair of neurodiversity - I am autistic and I have ADHD. This has unique influence on the way I experience the world around me, the world within me, and how I interpret that lived experience into artwork. Sensory processing differences inform my art in highly attuned ways that explore the fascinations of size, color, and texture. My creative expressions are diverse and multi-faceted to reveal novelty and newness. My art is a language of strong visual and tactile communication, which can channel into written interpretation. My art is meant be felt - it goes beyond words, which I can struggle to express verbally.
My artwork is created to delight the senses, to provide a grounding connection to the calming elements of nature, and to help people discover the joyful extraordinary within the ordinary.
Collectors of my work have included Saskatchewan Provincial Parks, White Buffalo Treatment Centre (Muskoday First Nation, Saskatchewan), Sask Arts Permanent Collection, and private collections across Canada, USA, and internationally.
My CV/resume can be viewed here.