Some people write about art. Others create it. Then there’s Lana Michelin — who does both.
Red Deer Advocate readers might recognize the byline. Michelin’s been writing about local visual arts, music and theatre as a reporter since 1991. Now she’s stepped out of her news cubicle and into the art gallery.
Her acrylic paintings of people and landscapes are done in realistic style, with impressionistic and surrealistic influences. Many of her works feature her son and daughter. “They’ve been remarkably good sports, accompanying me to rural roads around Central Alberta,” says Lana, with a chuckle. She appreciates there’s “nothing affected about them. There’s no fakery… If they haven’t had a good day, you see it…. It’s the real moments I’m always seeking to convey through my art,” she says.
Lana was born in Serbia and emigrated with her family to Brussels, then Saskatoon, in 1967 when she was four. After moving to Winnipeg, she painted theatre sets, school murals, and church icons. But art wasn’t encouraged as a career, so Lana took Fashion Design at Toronto’s Ryerson University as a creative compromise. After designing wedding dresses for two years, she switched gears and returned to Ryerson for Journalism.
“It’s funny… art had always been my go-to thing— except for about 20 years when I just wasn’t doing it,” says Lana. When her youngest was five, Lana began “messing around” with watercolours. She also started classes with local artists Michael Downs, Susan Woolgar, Tanya Zuzak Collard. “It was motivating, and the instructors were a wonderful, knowledgeable resource,” said Lana, who later joined the Alberta Community Art Clubs Association.
Her work won awards at regional and provincial ACACA shows for five years and Michelin was thrilled to take her place among artists with her first solo exhibit at the Kiwanis Gallery in 2018.