In infinite complexity, all of us inherently engage, perceive, and interpret the world visually. I am no different. While growing up in Wisconsin and North Dakota, I spent most of my free time drawing animals and caricatures in imagined narratives, and, as the saying goes: “To learn how to draw is to learn how to see.” Therefore, my aesthetic is a direct reflection of what I imagine, dream and see the world to be.

Michelle Bentley In 1986, I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Studio Art with a minor in Business Administration from North Dakota State University. Then, after working in an art museum for seven years, I moved sight unseen to the southern tier and culture to Tallahassee, Florida with my husband, Mike. I was able to pursue my dream of becoming an artist and acquiring my Master of Fine Arts degree at Florida State University in 1995.

Influenced and guided by exceptional art professors and master artists, such as Oscar Kokoschka, Pinkham Ryder, and Vincent van Gogh, I greatly expanded my horizons in art history and art making. I was enlightened through comprehensive analysis of mass and volume of human and animal forms, experimenting with new multi-media, exploring environmental concepts, and teaching studio courses from painting to life drawing.

Thereafter, I returned to a professional career in the visual arts, as a creative individual, but in the role of an administrator for the arts. I have accumulated over two decades of experience in art and science museums. My roles have ranged from Art Registrar/Collections Manager to Director of Art. In my current position, I am an Arts Consultant managing arts and cultural grants and overseeing arts education initiatives for the State of Florida. Over the years, I have enjoyed many endearing arts experiences through a plethora of colleagues, students, artists, art objects, timely exhibitions, and the non-profit sector.

However, my desire to be an artist has persisted and endures as my most true and guiding force. I have a beautiful, compassionate and wise daughter, Brooke, who teaches me how to be the person and artist that I aspire to be. My loving family and friends help to guide and encourage me to grow and develop my work. Our sweet and mischievous Siberian Husky, Bentley, is a steadfast inspiration to the animal world and a muse to paint. He has found a place directly in the narratives of the other tried and true animal characters – wolves, panthers, polar bears – all (like us) lurking and yearning for a safe existence and a life well-lived.

All images are copyrighted © by Michelle Smith Grindberg. The use of any image from this site is prohibited.