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ASHEN ARABICS: The first second of the new America
(34” H x 58” W, Acrylic on Arches paper mounted to birch board)

According to Veronica Michalowski, “Everyone is born with visual talent but only a few develop it. It is the responsibility of the parents, teachers, mentors, and relatives in a child’s life to recognize and encourage the development of this talent. This is why school, after-school, museum art programs are so important in a child’s life. As people we cannot live without visual expression and have not been able to since the cavemen of Lascaux, France, 15,000 years ago. We have a great need to visually express ourselves—be it on a cave wall, the side of a building, inside a subway car, on a piece of paper or canvas.”

We reached out to her to find out more about her inspiration and the variety of her works.

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DREAMS
(8.5” W x 9” H, graphite illustration on parchment)

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Veronica at her exhibit at Bunny Gunner Gallery in Claremont, California

What inspires you?

Feelings, reactions, concepts, vistas, memories, responses, events, dreams. etc. all inspire me to create.

How do you decide what medium to work in?

Sometimes the idea dictates the medium. For example, when I conceive the idea of the FLAG (Title: Ashen Arabics: The First Second of the New America) created for the 10-year commemoration of the attack on the US on 9-11-2001, I knew what I wanted the end result to look like and had to take inventory of the media, techniques and formats to use. First, I needed to make the flag look seared as a result of the attack and the ensuing fires. Then, I had to use a media that would be relatively fast drying, hearty enough to last through decades of viewing, both public and private. Oil was slow drying and watercolor too delicate. Lastly, I had to invent a technique that would get my message across within the context of the painting. So, I chose to create the piece in acrylic on Arches paper, with those pieces mounted to birch board. The engineering was tricky, but doable. Then there are the aesthetic considerations . . .

Tell us about painting on fabric.

Painting on fabric using the batik method is a joy because the dye goes directly onto the silk and is protected with a wax surface applied after the dye is dry. When the design is complete, the entire fabric is filled with wax and dropped into a dye bath to penetrate the places the wax breaks. This part of the process is uncontrollable. Wax is then ironed out of the fabric. The batik technique is over 2,000 years old invented in Asia on the island of Java. Some also believe it comes out of Africa. It is a challenging but rewarding technique.

Fabrics - Batik on China Silk

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BLUE BATIK (53” W x 36” H)

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JEWELED BATIK (36” W x 108” H)

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GREEN ON PURPLE ROCKS ON SATIN
(44” W x 91” H)

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SANITARY SEWER
(45” W x 108” H, Red/Orange/Lime Green on Turquoise, on Velveteen)

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TYPOGRAPHY
(46” W x 108” H, Orange on Red, on Cotton)

What is your favorite piece?

I have a few: The FLAG painting; JEWELED BATIK; as well as the three-layered large batik that has not been show for several years because of its 54”W x 108”H size. It needs a big wall. (no photo of this piece provided) But the reason they’re my favorites is because they’ve all been challenging to create which makes the process so much richer.

What is your most creative piece?

I believe TULIP GARDEN, oil on canvas, as well as MARY LOUISA FALLING, gouache on illustration board, are both creative pieces because of the painting itself. TULIP GARDEN is a plein-air piece painted entirely with a pallet knife, and MARY LOUISA FALLING is a watercolor painted in pointillism style. Each was creative and challenging in its own way, but the results are memorable.

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TULIP GARDEN
(30” W x 30” H, oil on canvas)

MARY LOUISA FALLING
(11.25” W x 25” H,
watercolor in Pointillism style
on illustration board)

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EGGS (20” W x 16” H, oil on canvas)

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SEA REMNANTS
(20” W x 16” H, oil on canvas)

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ORANGES in a CHARTREUSE FIELD
(20” W x 16” H, oil on canvas)

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GARDEN PATH
(9” W x 13.25” H, graphite illustration on parchment)

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GUITAR
(30” W x 30” H, oil on canvas)

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SUNS and MOONS of WOMAN
+ SUNS and MOONS of MAN

(16” W x 5” H each, acrylic on
Arches paper mounted to canvas)

About Veronica

Education

AA – Trenton Junior College, Trenton, New Jersey – Fine Arts

BA – California State University, Fullerton – Fine Arts, Design

MA – California State University, Fullerton – Fine Arts, Design and Photography

Design Career

My career focused in the fields of product design, ideation, branding, marketing, and merchandising for the packaging and display industries. I created branding for such firms as Microsoft, Epson, Canon USA, Neutrogena, Crayola, Calaway Golf, Geoffrey Beane, Sunkist, as well as many California wineries. Products produced many years ago remain in the marketplace today. As Creative Director, I’ve built and worked with outstanding design teams, written and spoken about the importance of excellent design in the marketplace and received both national and international recognition and acclaim for exceptional design throughout my career, including two CLIO awards.

Interspersed with this creative work has been a contribution to the educational field, having taught at various times at California State University, Fullerton as well as Riverside City College, Mount San Antonio College, and Laguna College of Art and Design.

Paintings

I make my own paintings, fulfilling the constant need to create and to clearly communicate ideas, feelings, reactions, concepts, memories, responses, and dreams. Over the last many decades, my work has been exhibited throughout the Inland Empire, Orange County, and Los Angeles galleries and museums.

Fabrics

Interested in fabrics since I learned to sew at the age of five, I have designed surfaces on a variety of fabrics: cotton, velveteen, linen, wool, burlap, raw silk, china silk, silk chiffon, nylon, orlon, santeen, and others.  Designs have been executed using various techniques such as silk-screen print, linocut (linoleum block) print, as well as direct painting—batik on silk.

 Poetry Books

Since 2018, I have written, designed and produced four books of poetry:

  • Body Landscape: The Delights and Dregs of Dating
  • One Family of Poetry: A Memoir
  • Return To a Natal Place: The Importance of Home
  • Arts Poetic: Ekphrastic Poetry
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Poster 4 - 2 - Flag 12-28-2021 copy copy
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JORDAN “J”
(California Sparkling Wine Gift Pack,
6 bottles, “J” and all packaging)

 

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GEOFFREY BEANE
(Packaging design, Retail perfume
counter display for Nordstrom)

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TAPPI 1997, GOLF TOURNAMENT SWAG-BAG AWARDS
(12 packages in a hexagonal tray printed on kraft single face + die-cut typography)

  • Kathleen Reeves

    Kathleen Reeves is a member of the Board of Directors at the Cobb Institute, and leads the Institute’s group for Spiritual Integration and the Arts. She also serves on the communications team and oversees the Institute's social media messaging.