Michelle Marcotte - Art Resume
I began art studies in Windsor, Ontario Canada, with private drawing lessons in the art studio of the Ursuline Nuns of St Mary’s High School each week for two years, then by painting in oils in the back of a hair salon at night when it was closed for two years.
In high school, at Vincent Massey SS I attended fine art classes daily for five years and after school four times a week for five years under the excellent direction of Peter Bering, a Windsor Ontario artist. These studies included one hour of art history each week for five years. On a parallel track, I studied English and French literature becoming what my Grade 13 English Teacher said was his best student ever.
At the University of Windsor, in the Department of Fine Arts, I studied, drawing, sculpture, Asian art history, and film. In the English Department I studied Expository Writing.
Although my arts studies gave me what was considered at that time to be a minor in Fine Arts, my degree was in Social Studies, home economics, foods and nutrition. I spent 30 years working at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Nordion International and in my own company as a food scientist and a food and agriculture regulatory affairs specialist. I became a market development specialist for food processing, and food regulatory affairs, eventually running my own international agri-food and agri-environmental regulatory consulting business.
I was appointed to represent Canada as a founding member and then co-chair of the Methyl Bromide Technical Options Committee of the United Nation Environment Programme, Montreal Protocol, and on the Montreal Protocol Technical and Economic Assessment Panel. I led an international expert committee of scientists examining the impact of the banning of an agricultural chemical on world agriculture and food processing production. My work on that UN Expert Committee continued from 1991 – 2014, much of the time in parallel with my other positions. Through that position and my work in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and with Nordion I have many academic publications.
As a side-benefit to my international work, I have travelled to, and worked in, over 40 countries, spending considerable time in galleries in Austria (Vienna), China (Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai), England, France (Paris, Avignon), Japan, Thailand, England, Russia, United States and several other countries.
In 2003 I moved from Ottawa Canada to Maryland, becoming the Arts Curator of University United Methodist Church. In 2011, we moved to Niagara Falls, Canada where I moved my passions for food and cooking into my paintings. I often place my food in a symbolic agricultural context – a reminder of the origins of our food. I obtained an Ontario grant for an arts organization that I led in Niagara Falls Ontario.
In 2014, we moved to Lewiston NY where I returned to full-time production in visual arts and in fiction writing. In 2016, I was awarded an individual artist grant by NY State Council on the Arts to produce paintings reflecting life and family through the foods we prepare. In 2017, I co-wrote and illustrated a bilingual book ABC Vegetables – Abécédaire des legumes (with Joël Beddows as co-writer), published by Grey Border Books of Niagara Falls Ontario.
In 2018 I began a café gallery program in Ottawa mentoring local artists and organizing them to exhibit their work in an Ottawa café, Good Eats, owned by my sister. It is a very popular exhibit program.
In 2019 I proposed to organize, manage and promote an art exhibit at the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University showing the work of all the women artists in the region. That proposal was accepted, and 2020 Vision Women Artists of Western NY opened in February 2020 with 187 participating artists and over 770 people attending the opening. I was paid a curator’s fee by the Castellani and also received a grant from the NY State Council on the Arts to support that work. I also produced a Youtube video of the 2020 Vision exhibit at the Castellani Art Museum under a NY State Council on the Arts grant.
I paint in my large studio in Lewiston NY and outside for landscapes. I paint about family and life as revealed to us, and by us, by our homes and personal environments and through the foods we prepare. These aspects and the work we do define us. For me, painting fresh food is the equivalent of plein air equivalent for still life - the need to quickly capture the freshness and essence of food while still producing a well-composed painting.
Now, after recent years of difficulty, I have turned to the hope of spring and life, of harmonious colors, of growth, of gardens and beauty.
Working with children struggling with online learning during the covid lockdown as a teaching coach in English and French led me to return more seriously to writing. I currently have two children’s fiction books in prepublication; I am working with illustrators to provide art direction for those books. I have contracted to re-launch my out-of-print bilingual ABC Vegetable book. Additionally, I am in the final preparation stages of the writing of a 70,000 word work of literary non-fiction for middle-grade and young adults concerning Canadian history and cultural development.
I am a juried exhibiting member of the Buffalo Society of Artists, The Buffalo - Niagara Art Association, and the Gainesville Florida Art Association. I am a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
I can not be defined as solely a visual artist or a writer. I am both.