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Michele Byrne | Plein Air / Figurative painter

Michele Byrne is recognized for her figurative plein air work. She lives and works in Reading, Pennsylvania. However, she travels extensively, painting in various locations including, Manhattan, Paris, California, Colorado and Key West, Florida. Michele was a Faculty Demonstrator for the Annual PleinAir Convention in Monterey, CA in April of 2014.

Byrne has won numerous awards* in her plein air and studio work including most recently Peoples Choice Award* and Third Place at the Forgotten Coast Quick Draw and 2nd Prize in the Urban Life Exhibition at the Salmagundi Club in New York in February of 2015.
Painting in plein air is not just a passion for Michele it is a dedication.
The artist must make decisions about time of day, direction of light and inclusion of figures despite that in front of you everything is changing.
The decisions allow the artist to paint dynamically with light and air as a part of the final image.

  • 2015 - Studied with CW Mundy in New Harmony, IN;
  • 2015 - Studied with Quang Ho at the Salmagundi Club, NY;
  • 2011 - Studied with artists Quang Ho, Carolyn Anderson and Dan McCaw;
  • 2009 - Studied with artists Richard Schmid, Stuart Shils and Ken Auster;
  • 2001 - 2003 Figure and Portraiture classes, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA;
  • 2002 - Studied with California artist Robert Burridge at the Institute of the Arts, Wyomissing;
  • 1977 - 1981 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Communication Design, minor in Illustration/Painting, Kutztown University, PA.
Artist Statement:
I prefer to paint outdoors directly on site. I feel that it is the best way to capture the immediacy of the moment. It allows me to immerse myself in the subject. I am not the typical plein air landscape painter in that I enjoy capturing social situations and views of the urban landscape. Whether standing next to a busy café, an isolated beach or inside a jazz club, I know that it is not just the visual information that becomes a part of the painting. The sounds, the smells, the mood and the environment all become integral to the finished image. My plein air paintings are meant to be mirrors of our lives. There is something magical and mystical about standing with your feet firmly planted on the earth, absorbing all the sounds, smells and conversations as well as the visual information and letting it all flow out onto the canvas. I become a part of the scene and the paintings seem to flow out of me.

Professional Award*/Benchmarks:
  • 2016 - PleinAir Magazine Aug/Sept Salon - Second Prize Overall
  • 2016 - Sedona L’Auberge Paint Out Award* Winner, Sedona, Arizona
  • 2016 - Award* of Excellence, Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters Invitational, Grand Teton Nat’l Park, WY
  • 2016 - Oil Painters Of America Eastern Regional Exhibit - Eisele Gallery of Fine Art, Cincinnati, OH
  • 2016 - American Impressionist Society 17th National Juried Exhibition, Howard/Mandville Gallery, Seattle, WA
  • 2016 - Achieved Signature membership status with the American Impressionist Society
  • 2015 - Sedona Plein Air Invitational Salon Speakeasy - Third Place Award* - Juror Catherine Dietrich
  • 2015 - Art of the Film - First Place, Louis Long Gallery,Reading, PA;
  • 2015 - Jane Impastato Award* - Salmagundi Club Fall Auctions - Juror Elizabeth Spencer;
  • 2015 - Oil Painters Of America Eastern Regional Exhibit - Eckert and Ross Gallery, Indianapolis, IN.
  • 2015 - American Impressionist Society 16th National Juried Exhibition, Trailside Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
  • 2015 - Forgotten Coast Plein Air Quick Draw - Peoples Choice Award* and Third Place - Juror Joshua Rose, Apalachicola, FL
  • 2015 - Macowin Tuttle Memorial Award (second place) - Salmagundi Club - Urban Landscapes Exhibit - Salmagundi Club, New York, NY;
  • 2014 - American Impressionist Society 15th National Juried Exhibition, Abend Gallery, Denver, CO
  • 2014 - Award* of Merrit and Randy Higby Award - Just Plein Fun Plein Air Invitational, Juror Jean Stern, Balboa Island, CA
  • 2014 - Honorable Mention - Wayne Plein Air - Wayne, PA - Juror Randall Sexton
  • 2014 - Invitational Faculty doing demo’s at PleinAir Magazine Annual Convention, Monterey, CA
  • 2014 - Honorable Mention - Wayne Plein Air - Wayne, PA - Juror Randall Sexton;
  • 2013 - First Place Award*, Just Plein Fun- Debra Huse Gallery Plein Air Invitational - Juror Jean Stern
  • 2013 - PleinAir Magazine, June/July - 8 Page Feature Article, by Steve Doherty
  • 2013 - TSKW - The Studios of Key West - 4 Week Artist Residency Fellowship, Key West, FL
  • 2012 - First Place Award* and Peoples’ Choice Award - Paint the Town, Chestertown, MD
  • 2012 - Oil Painters Of America Eastern Regional Juried Exhibit - Bennington, VT
  • 2012 - Second Place Award - Easton Plein Air Quick Draw, Easton, MD - Juror Tim Newton
  • 2012 - People’s Choice Award - Aspen Plein Air Invitational, Aspen, CO
  • 2012 - Third Place Award - Cranford Paint the Town, Cranford, NJ - Juror Joseph McGurl
  • 2012 - Southwest Art Magazine - September Issue - included in Urban Impressions article
  • 2012 - Artists’ Choice Award, First Place Award & Peoples’ Choice Awards - Paint the Town, Chestertown, MD
  • 2011 - American Impressionist Society - National Juried Exhibition, Mountainsong Gallery, Carmel, CA
  • 2011 - First Place Award of Excellence - Berks Art Alliance 34th Annual Juried Show - Reading Museum, Reading, PA
  • 2011 - Southwest Art Magazine - September, Editor’s Choice “Artist’s to Watch” section
  • 2011 - People’s Choice Award - San Luis Obispo Plein Air, San Luis Obisbo Museum of Art, CA
  • 2011 - First Place Quick Draw Award - Aspen Plein Air Invitational, Aspen, Colorado
  • 2011 - Honorable Mention - Wayne Plein Air - Wayne, PA
  • 2010 - 1st Place Award - Salmagundi Club Winter Exhibition - New York, NY
  • 2010 - People’s Choice Award/Dueling Brushes - Paint Annapolis 2010, Annapolis, MD
  • 2010 - Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival Poster Artist
  • 2010 - 2nd Place - Artists’ Choice Award: Telluride Plein Air, Telluride, CO
  • 2010 - People’s Choice Award and 3rd Place Award: Cranford Paint the Town, Cranford, NJ
  • 2010 - 3rd Place Award: Wayne Plein Air Festival, Wayne Art Center, Wayne,
  • 2010 - Honorable Mention: Rehoboth Beach Paint Out, Rehoboth Art League, Rehoboth, MD
  • 2009 - Best of Show: Mountain Maryland Plein Air Event, Cumberland, MD - Juror Nancy Tankersley
  • 2009 - 2nd Place: Bayonet Farms, Holmdel, NJ - Jurors Peter Trippi and James Yarosh
  • 2009 - 2nd Place: Havre de Grace Plein Air, Havre de Grace, MD - Juror Armand Cabrera
  • 2009 - First Place Award: Berks Arts Council's ART OF JAZZ / Berks Jazz Fest, Reading, PA
  • 2009 - Honorable Mention: Berks Art Alliance 32nd Annual Juried Exhibit, Reading Museum, PA
  • 2009 - Featured Artist: Immaculata University Art Show, Malvern, PA
  • 2008 - In the French Tradition Award of Excellence, Out & About Norfolk Plein Air, Norfolk, VA
  • 2008 - Open Box M Plein Air Award, Chadds Ford Art Festival, Chadds Ford, PA
  • 2008 - Award of Merit, Bucks County Paint Out - Sabine Rose Gallery, Doylestown, PA
  • 2008 - Award of Excellence, Wayne Plein Air Festival, Wayne Art Center
  • 2008 - Fast Lane Art, Berks Arts Council Billboard Art Winner, Reading, PA
  • 2008 - Purchase Award, Berks Art Alliance Juried Exhibition at the GoggleWorks, Reading, PA
  • 2007 - Peoples Choice Award and Award of Excellence: Paint Annapolis 07, Annapolis MD;
  • 2007 - First Place Award: Rehoboth Beach Paint Out, Rehoboth Art League
  • 2007 - Honorable Mention: Havre de Grace Plain Air Painting Competition
  • 2007 - Award of Excellence: Wayne Plein Air Festival, Wayne Art Center - Juror Sara Poly
  • 2006 - Second Place Award: Paint Annapolis 2006, Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Assoc.
  • 2006 - Featured in the February issue of Art Business News Magazine in the Emerging Artist section
  • 2006 - Published second book titled The Art of Conversation: Manhattan, which includes 39 paintings depicting conversations in the parks, streets and café’s of Manhattan. Introduction by Meredith Lewis, Editor of American Artist Watercolor Magazine. Available at Barnes and Nobles
  • 2003 - Auction Record established June 2003 at Freeman’s Auction, Philadelphia
  • 2002 - Published book titled The Art of Conversation, which includes 42 paintings and text explaining my inspirations and thoughts of conversation in modern day culture. Introduction written by Constance U. Battle, M.D., previous executive director of the National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. Available at Barnes and Nobles.