Contemporary metal leaf oil artist Michelle Sakhai reveals her process of connecting to deep feelings and transforming them into love when she paints. She shares the importance of sitting with our emotions, even those parts of ourselves that we avoid, and by honoring, them, we transform them.
"It doesn't matter what your paint, whether figurative or abstract, but it matters that you are present and connecting to your higher self," she said. It's a form of meditation because you connect to a deeper part of yourself.
Michelle has used breathwork, prayer, incense, and other aspects of her native upbringing that represent home to align with her creative state. Everyone's tools will be unique to them. Michelle cautions that you should never be so attached to your tools that you can only work with them.
Be prepared to try new things. Being uncomfortable can be good; challenge yourself by choosing something outside your comfort zone.
Michelle explains that working with metallic leaf belies a childhood spent in the hills of Japan near a Buddhist temple. She was reacquainted with metallic leaf when visiting an Asian exhibit in San Francisco and loved the texture, brilliance, and way that metallic leaf catches the light.
Michelle uses metallic flakes loosely to capture light and flutter with passing movement. "You don't stop the leaf from falling off the painting," she said. "I put so much on that even if some falls off, there's plenty left." It's the changing and evolving aspect of the art that Michelle likes so much.
Michelle Sakhai is a contemporary artist who specializes in metal-leaf oil paintings. Her mixed heritage has shaped her as an artist. With both Persian and Japanese roots, her art derives influences from both cultures. Family trips to Japan initially exposed her to metal leaf and inspired her to become a pioneer in this medium.
Sakhai's paintings are exhibited in worldwide galleries, including Tokyo, Ibiza, Miami, and New York City. Her art remains in private and public collections, including the Montefiore Einstein Medical Center, The Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, and Kamakura Park in Japan.
Sakhai's work has been exhibited in Universities, including Stamford, Michigan Medicine, The Academy of Art, Hofstra, and Mary Hardin-Baylor. She recently published her first book on Amazon titled 'Awakening,' a compilation of 200 paintings.
Follow her on Instagram @michellesakhaiart or visit her website www.michellesakhai.com for more information.