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Michelle Munson

White Brick Wall
Map of the Kancamagus Highway.
Map of Massachusetts.
Drawings of plants.
White Brick Wall
Michelle and her art.
White Brick Wall
Leaf progression.
Bouys in front of the water.
Drawing in progress.

      Born and raised in New Hampshire, artist Michelle Munson has always had a passion for art and a strong pull to the seacoast area. Growing up, she often found herself sketching objects like flowers and trees and took art classes with incredible teachers like Carol Castellan, Francine Kontos, and Kate Freear throughout high school. This furthered her talent and love for art and finally gave her the ability to believe in herself, which helped with her decision to pursue art in college. During her time as a student at Plymouth State University, she majored in art education and worked with printmaking, drawing, and painting. After graduating, Michelle wanted to focus on the two things she is most passionate about; art and working with children. She is currently an art teacher at the Lamprey River Elementary school and works with students from kindergarten to third grade. However, outside of teaching, she creates two-dimensional art and finds enormous inspiration within the seacoast and the state of New Hampshire. 

      “I love every part of living here—the woods, the city life, the mountains, the ocean and the influence it has on me,” Michelle said. Throughout her life, she has always been drawn to the water and New Hampshire and New England hold a special place in her heart. Being able to appreciate the passing of the seasons and seeing the physical passing of time through each one is very important and grounding to her, which is reflected within her art. Her drawings and paintings consist of watercolor and ink, and she is passionate about the use of pencil in her work today. “Pencil has always been my favorite tool. When creating my art, I always start with a pencil and from there I move to ink and then to watercolor. They’ve always been my media of choice.” She loves the idea of the power that a pencil can hold and utilizes that thought process in her creations. While Michelle is hugely inspired by New England, she also finds inspiration from others and their feedback of her work. About three years ago, Michelle found herself in Erin Claire, browsing for a present for someone close to her. Noticing that the store has a strong focus on supporting local artists and makers, it was suggested by who she was with, that she see if the owner of the boutique, Erin Casey, was interested in a new artisan. After finding that customers loved the detailed and captivating maps that Michelle makes, Erin encouraged Michelle to create more work for those inquiring about different requests from customers.  

      The global pandemic gave Michelle a chance to finally prioritize and find time to sit down and create again. “As a teacher, we so often put the needs of our students ahead of the needs of ourselves by getting so wrapped up in school work.” For 15 years, she put her students and their art at the center of her world, but by working remotely, she was able to gain the hour she spent commuting back in her day. “I told myself that I would start using that hour for me and creating art for myself, and used that as a way to stay positive during that tough time.” It wasn't too long after that a snowball of things lined up allowing Michelle’s art to transform in her adult life into what she always thought it could be. 

      Michelle believes the best thing about being an artist is the personal connection others get from the art that she creates. “I love it when people have a connection to the art. That is my favorite thing—like if an affirmation resonates  with someone for what they are going through in their life, or if a person looks at a map and it has a personal location connecting to them, it is so special.” Michelle loves to work small and her favorite art to make is amazingly detailed mini-art. She primarily sells her creations through Erin Claire in downtown Dover, New Hampshire where you can find her lovely affirmations, framed drawings of flowers, nautical themed paintings, and detailed maps of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont. In addition to these states, she also makes maps of the Kancamagus Highway, Portsmouth, and Dover.

      Not only does Michelle get to help kids see the joy in creating art, but by creating it herself, gives her pride in promoting ideologies like practicing what you preach and leading by example. If you’re interested in purchasing one of Michelle’s one-of-a-kind creations, look no further than Erin Claire. 

selfie babe.heic
Calm Sea
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