by Judy Stringer
The Hudson art scene just got a homegrown boost.
Hudson native and 2005 Hudson High School graduate Michelle (Knapper) Darvis opened a showroom on Maple Drive. Nestled among the row of businesses off the south end of College Street, the 300-square-foot Michelle Darvis Gallery and Studio will serve as the painter’s work and exhibition space.
The public is welcome to watch Darvis in action and view her pieces for sale every Friday from 1-6 p.m.
“The idea behind this studio is that people will be able to come in and see how these works of art are created and the inspiration behind them,” she said.
It also gives Darvis space to run her professional art business outside of her Stow home.
“I have a young daughter at home,” she explained, “so it’s nice to have paints out and not worry about little fingers getting into them and where it’s quiet and I can just play music and paint uninterrupted. Then, of course, if people want to buy prints or stationary, it’s a convenient spot that they can come to and pick stuff up.”
Darvis said she began her art career under the tutelage of HHS retired art teacher Billie Moore. She was awarded the Scholastic Art & Writing Gold Medal Award at age 16, an honor that included having her painting exhibited in Washington D.C. Darvis went on to study art at Kent State University and has been working as an artist professionally since 2012.
In 2014, Darvis undertook her hallmark project, completing one 8-by-10-inch oil painting outdoors each day. The resulting 365-piece “A Year in Plein Air” series features scenes from Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Hudson, Kent, Cleveland and the surrounding areas. A traveling exhibit of the series premiered at Hudson Fine Art and Framing in January 2015 and made stops in Scottsdale, Ariz. and Monterey, Calif.
Darvis said she loves working in watercolor and oils. Plein air is among her favorite styles.
“It’s kind of freeing to be outside and to create a painting from start to finish because you can capture the moment and the feel, and you don’t have to go back to the studio and fuss over the details, which would lose some of that freshness. … And there’s no better subject than Hudson. You could paint every building.”
Darvis is also a Master Gardner, earning a certification from Ohio State University, and offers fresh cut floral arrangements in her gallery. During growing season, those will come from her own “huge” backyard garden, she said.
For more information, visit michelledarvis.com or stop by during her Friday open houses. The business is at 75 Maple Dr. ∞