Close Up interview with artist Michelle Hallinan from Artis Naturae.

1. Tell us a little about yourself and what you do. 

I am an artist who loves being outside in nature and exploring new places.

My works are on paper combining printmaking techniques, watercolour, gouache, pencil and pastel. My creativity also shines in my garden where I have built garden beds with native plants, fruit trees, vegetables and herbs over what was lawn.  I love the challenge of creating a delicious meal out of whatever ingredients are in the fridge.

2. Where do you get your inspiration from when you create art?

The natural world and being in different environments take in the micro and macro: the texture and colours of rocks, tree trunks, leaves, and shells. I live near bushland and the coast so I get to appreciate both.

Mungo Red Earth 2018

3. What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?

  • Energetic
  • Fun loving
  • Good humoured
  • Creative
  • Resilient

4. Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?

My first job as a teenager was in Fossey’s, a small department store, keeping the women’s clothes in order which included folding extra-large underwear neatly (not that easy when it is slippery satin). Maybe that was the beginning of my organisational skills.

I have taken a meandering path: attending art school and later uni to gain teaching qualifications.  Along with a wide range of paid work woven into the journey: waitress, vet nurse, natural therapist, vego cook, teaching, house cleaning and call centre work. I have also taught small groups, and classes in primary through to secondary schools mostly at Steiner. I was a stay-at-home mum who directed my creativity into activities with my children, making toys and nutritious food. Now it is my time to shine.

5. How do you usually plan your daily activities?

I have a list and usually select 3-5 things to achieve in the day. I start with a hot lemon drink, meditation, and exercise: walk at the beach or in the bushland or paddle on an outrigger canoe. Then I break the day into some admin, some creative making time and gardening even if it is to pull a few weeds or it could be spent doing my part-time paid work.

Kimberley Wilderness 2021

6. As an artist, what is your biggest frustration?

Time, feeling that some days there are not enough hours to get what I want to be done.

Self-doubt can be an obstacle at times.

7. Tell us about how you prioritise your art?

Sometimes I don’t and that can become a frustration. Deadlines work well for me having a focus and timeline to work towards.

8. How do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?

I do use Instagram and occasionally attend exhibition openings to meet local artists. Networking is not one of my strong points and it is something I am working on.

Ancient Fold

9. Your advice to artists who are just starting out?

“Do what makes your heart sing and be true to yourself.”

10. Tell us about your upcoming Solo Art exhibition at ArtSHINE Gallery?

Being my first solo show I’m excited. The theme I’m working with is earth and trees and my observations of rock textures and tree trunks. The colour and textures of their surfaces and the way they change as they are exposed to the weather. I have also collected some pieces of weathered branches spewed out of flood waters and washed onto the beach which has inspired sculptural pieces.

11. As an Art educator, you have an art app. Can you tell us more about it?

When I’m in nature the colours, patterns and textures intrigue me, I continue to find something new even when I walk a familiar track. Being in nature is restorative and provides quiet reflective time from hustle and bustle of everyday life. When you become connected to nature it is easier to unlock hidden creativity as you are immersed in something bigger than yourself that you forget you don’t have a creative bone in your body. You become more confident to express your experience.

The app has a mini taster experience of the app with a free 3-Day Connect to Nature. Then a 5-day Create with Nature has sensory activities to awaken creativity through being in nature.  Then a 6 Week Create Connect with Nature Challenge that provides opportunities to learn to draw through a deepened connection to nature.

Earths Edge 1

11a. Why did you start?

During the Covid lockdown, I was not able to run workshops in nature so I saw an ad from to create an app. Great I’ll make a course in the app that inspires people to get out into nature and discover their creativity and increase confidence to draw and express their experience in nature.

11b. How does it work?

The app has a free trial which is a 3-day mini-course to experience the app. In the app, you can also sign up for the 5-day intro and if you want more there is a 6-week Create Connect to Nature Challenge which has over 40 activities. There is a link on my website and in my Instagram bio. There is a closed Facebook group to share ideas and work. The 6-week challenge also includes weekly coaching/Q&A sessions.

11c. How can people join your community?

Sign up for the app through a link on my Instagram page @artis_naturae or from my website.

12. What is your proudest moment so far?

Giving birth to two beautiful babies who are now thriving adults on their own journey.

Building the app and creating my garden.

13. Who do you most want to meet and why?

If Georgia O’Keefe was still alive, I would love to go out drawing and walking in her favourite places in New Mexico and talk about what we see and feel.

A trip to the desert with John Wolseley to explore a landscape and create a work of art would be a great experience to get a sense of how he connects to a landscape and how he works.

14. What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?

A most important lesson I have learned so far is to be true to myself. No doubt there will be more lessons to learn.

Kimberley Colours 2021

15. What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?

The Nature Fix by Florence Williams. I do love looking at Andy Goldsworthy’s books of ephemeral sculptural works in nature and Ottolenghi cookbooks- I love the way he combines flavours, colours and textures in food into edible art. Any book that inspires thoughts or images is a great book.

16. Where do we find you and your art/products? 

Some of my artworks are on the ArtShine website. My website

18. Tell us your first impression and experience of ArtSHINE?

Vinh is warm, welcoming, and encouraging. There is access to great resources. I felt like new doors were opening and for me

Want to  learn more?

It’s as simple as 1… 2… 3…

  1. Just starting outCLICK HERE
  2. Been working in your business for two years or more? CLICK HERE
  3. Try coworking at CoSydney – Check us out! Book a FREE TRIAL DAY

We’re here to help you to take action just like we’ve helped thousands of other entrepreneurs, business owners and creative professionals all around the globe.

Now is the time to let your passion SHINE.

Now is the time to Make Tomorrow Today!

To your success,

Vinh Van Lam & Stuart Horrex

Your Coaches at ArtSHINE

Vinh Van Lam
the authorVinh Van Lam
Vinh Van Lam, co-founder of ArtSHINE, is a visionary art coach and entrepreneur with a passion for fostering creativity. With a diverse background in art and business, he brings a unique perspective to empower emerging artists, enabling them to thrive in the dynamic art industry through the innovative platform of ArtSHINE.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.