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(Image: Michele Usibelli Fine Art Studio)

Artist of the Week: Michele Usibelli

Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!

Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating?
Michele Usibelli: I have been drawing since I was a child! I always wanted to be an artist but graduated from the UW School of Architecture and went that route. It wasn't until my second child was born that I took some time off from my corporate job and took my first painting class. That was twenty years ago.

Do you work with other mediums?
I paint and teach workshops around the world. I paint and teach in oil, acrylic, gouache, watercolor and pastel.

Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
I have created instructional videos and enjoy sharing my process with others. I believe that my extensive background in drawing fundamentals (required with my architectural degree) creates a strong platform for painting. All good artwork starts with a fundamentally sound drawing and works out from there. I tell my students if you have a difficult time drawing, you will have a difficult time painting and encourage all to really focus on the technical side of, long before attempting to paint.

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Tell us about where your inspiration for your art come from?
The inspiration for my art comes from everyday life. I am trying to capture a small "life" vignette that will resonate with people and, hopefully, cause them to pause and smile.

Do you have a specific "beat" you like best, nature, food, profiles, etc.?
I love painting all subject matter; I think it's because I look at the world in "pixels" of color, not actual objects. With that in mind, I am comfortable painting anything. My goal has been to focus on creating my own, individual and unique style.

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If we want to see more of your work, where should we go to find it?
Traditionally, my art events right now would include museum shows and auctions along with other national shows and teaching workshops, but these events have all been canceled. It is a challenging time for artists as it is for everyone and we are doing what we can do to get our work out into the public. Many shows and events have gone online, so museums, galleries and artists are all venturing into uncharted territory — hoping it all works out! I have had workshops in Chicago, Utah, Montana and LA canceled, but I'm hoping that my remaining 2020 workshops in Montana, Hawaii, Wyoming and Italy will occur. My personal website is

What is next for you? Anything you're working on right now that you're excited about?
Right now, my focus is on trying to stay motivated to create beautiful art in these chaotic times and trying to promote local artists and businesses. My newest piece was painted yesterday to bring awareness to promoting our local restaurants.

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
I like a tall, almond milk, vanilla latte.