“I enjoy communication without words; an intimate, direct, relationship between maker and viewer,” says Tasmanian artist Michaye Boulter. “Art was the subject I felt that gave me the greatest freedom to explore the issues that were most important to me. It has continued to provide a depth of possibilities.” Michaye, who lives on Bruny Island, gained a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Tasmania and after exhibiting in a series of group shows held her first solo show at Sidespace Gallery in Hobart in 1998. This lead to the offer of an exhibition at Handmark Gallery. “I was so pleased; I could see a way forward,” Michaye says. Since then she has exhibited in Melbourne, Brisbane and most recently at Arthouse Gallery in Sydney, where she now has representation. “Really, I never doubted although along the way I have experienced many doubts about how I might achieve my dream of being a full-time artist,” she says. “The thrill of expressing my feelings in paint, of paying homage to the landscape I loved, kept me going.”

Which five words best describe you? Committed, passionate, persistent, sensitive, aware.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? My love is being in the studio, making the best paintings I can. I feel that comes first. I like the business side of my career - how I sell paintings - to be as simple as possible so it is important to me to build long-term, trusting relationships with the galleries that represent my work. Also participating in a few non-commercial exhibitions offers me opportunities to experiment and learn from other artists. It is a balance.  

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Listening to my intuition, accepting that there will be failures and just keep on going.

What’s your proudest career achievement? My debut solo show at Arthouse Gallery earlier this year.

What’s been your best decision? To live with my husband and two children on Bruny Island, being close to nature and watching my kids grow up with the sea and bush as their playground. As a family we have spent time on our boat exploring the remote coastlines, the astonishingly beautiful landscape and romance of our island life has been an ongoing inspiration in my painting. I love working from a place I know intimately. 

Who inspires you? It is a mixed bag and it changes all the time. Caspar David Friedrich, Turner, Gerhard Richter, Vilhelm HammershoiLloyd Rees, the photography of Hiroshi Sugimoto all come to mind.

What are you passionate about? The ocean; the open horizon; sharing journeys with my family. Time with my friends, looking at art, listening to music and eating good food. I am passionate about painting the seascapes and landscapes I know and love. 

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I would find it scary to meet my idols and would no doubt get very little out of it as I would be clumsy and shy but maybe Lloyd Rees, he sounded like such a generous, open-hearted person and I love the way he captured light.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? There are a couple of artists’ residencies that I would love to experience: traveling to Antarctica, seeing the surprising shapes of icebergs and remoteness of the place greatly appeals; equally I would like to spend time in Paris soaking up the art and culture.

What are you reading? The latest Artist Profile magazine and Robert Dessaix’s What Days Are For.

images courtesy of michaye boulter and arthouse gallery; portrait julien scheffer

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