Brackenwood Gallery

A gallery on Whidbey Island, WA representing the very best in fine arts and crafts from the pacific northwest.


I've heard it said that words are from the soul, and art is a window into the soul. Michel Tsouris, whose show opens "THIS IS WHERE I LIVE" at Brackenwood Sept. 4, 2010 is definitely baring her soul in words, pictures and music! Michel is one of those artists who is multi-talented. Michel was deeply inspired for this body of work by the fairly recent death of her father. As she painted, words began to flow into her mind, and so she wrote them down. Sometimes on the paintings themselves, sometimes on scraps of paper. These words turned into poems that tapped into deeply personal feelings she was experiencing while painting. Here is a snipet of a poem that goes with the painting below entitled "Seeing You Safely Home": 

                 seeing you safely home 

                 i hold this ladder as an


                 an escape route to the

                 escape routes


Visiting her studio we got a chance to see where she creates her lovely and poignant encaustics. For those who have never heard of encaustics (which included me up until recently!), Michel creates these intricate paintings with beeswax, oil pigments and often tar. The result is many layers with forms and texture. Michel often scratches images into the surface of the wax, or imbeds photos or paintings and paints right on the surface with oils and then will paint right over the oil paints with wax. IMGP4819

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This unique and often time consuming process results in paintings that are truly unique. Her tools of the trade are heated beeswax, pots of warming colored pigments and warm tubs of tar. Not your usual painter's tools.

MIchel has composed music, played the score on three different instruments and coordinated the music with a slideshow of her paintings.


IMGP4801This multi-media presentation confirms the depth of her art. As you sit and watch the images float by and hear her music and poetry you can't help but wonder how so much creativity can be embodied on one person's psyche. Michel Tsouris is full of talents and her art certainly has something to say about the human condition and how we face the blows life sends us. I love that in her grieving is such beauty. 

Michel's work is not only soulful but joyful! She has had a certain fascination with the circus lately and several of her pieces are filled with visiting angels or angels levitating around circus tents. She keeps chickens too, so of course you'll find an occasional chicken such as this painting below "Wearing Her Chicken on Her Head"! Her sense of humor is fantastic and shines through the delightful images. These paintings will surely make you chuckle!

Hope you come see this lovely and thoughtful show! Join us on Sept. 4 from 5-7 for the Artist's Reception and you can meet Michel Tsouris in person.