Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Schneider.
Michelle, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I grew up in central Illinois in a big farm house with three sisters. My parents always gave me a lot of freedom to be myself, to grow up slowly, to explore the outdoors, to be bored. They limited the amount of activities my sisters and I were involved in, which, looking back, was one of the main reasons I began drawing at an early age. Most of my childhood memories involve playing outside, reading in our treehouse, drawing in my sketchbook, riding bikes with my little sister, and making collections of things found in nature (frogs, rocks, you name it!).
I took private art lessons growing up from an amazing teacher, who really took time in teaching me the fundamentals. How valuable those simple lessons were in preparing me for the future! I attended Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL from 2004-2008 and studied drawing, painting, and illustration. I loved school, but was ready when graduation rolled around, to get out on my own and start working.
I shared a private studio with another artist for a while after moving back home, worked a few part time jobs, and then made the leap into full-time commission work that I still do today from my home. I’ve been painting custom portraits for people all over the world for about 7 years now. In that time, I also got married and had 2 babies who are now 3 and 1 and are teaching me so much every day!
I’ve recently taken a position at our local church as a part-time Communications and Creative Director that I’m really excited about! I plan to continue my custom portrait work on the side as well as build my illustration portfolio as I’d love to also someday illustrate children’s books.
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Right now I have two bodies of work: custom portraits and children’s illustration.
My custom portrait work includes home, family, and pet portraits in watercolor (on paper) and in acrylic (on wooden canvases). By far the most popular portrait is the home portrait, but I’ve recently introduced Candid Kid Portraits that are selling quickly because they capture the innocence of children in everyday play.
I’m very inspired by children, families, homes, and life in general- the day to day simple pleasures that are often overlooked. With my portrait work, the message is: Your life matters, your family is important, and your home is where all your most important memories are made. I want my paintings to embody those memories for you.
My illustration work is centered, of course, around children. I create watercolor, colored pencil, ink, mixed-media illustrations that have one purpose: to capture childhood from the perspective of a child. How do children see the world? What makes them laugh, sad, angry, feel important? What entertains them? What inspires them? The answer to those questions is what inspires my illustration work.
Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
Sometimes your artwork can support your lifestyle financially, and sometimes it can’t. Be willing to accept each season of life as it comes without trying to rush through one season to get to the next. (This is very hard to do!)
I’ve found that there are hard seasons in life when God is trying to prepare me for what’s ahead by allowing me time to grow in certain areas, and then there are fruitful seasons when you finally see the reward for your hard work. The lesson here is to be thankful for each season God brings you through and to persevere through the difficult times knowing that growth will come and a season of harvest is ahead for those who DON’T GIVE UP!
What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
For custom portrait work, please visit my website: CustomPortraitsbyMichelle.com
For my children’s illustration work, please visit: MichelleSchneiderArt.com
- Website: CustomPortraitsbyMichelle.com
- Phone: 309-392-1492
- Email: Michelle@CustomPortraitsbyMichelle.com
- Instagram: @CustomPortraitsbyMichelle
- Twitter: @ArtofMichelleS
- Other: MichelleSchneiderArt.com