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An Interview with Artist Michele Bourke

A woman with some birds
Mother Nature

Illustrator, author and artist Michele Bourke creates colourfully beautiful artworks that are captivating and charming. From detailed animals in nature to iconic movie stars and musician and a whole lot more, there is something that will enchant any art lover and lover of life.

Michele is on Twitter

Please talk about where you grew up and where you are now…

I was born in East Anglia, Constable country.

I was around six years of age when my parents moved to London for a job transfer my father had taken. I didn’t take particularly well the loss of open fields and fast pace, I was quite a quiet child.

As an adult I took the decision to move my family back to Suffolk, a move I’ve never regretted.

How did you discover art?

I took up painting about 4 years ago as a way to relax as I’d been diagnosed several years back with a debilitating genetic condition which has caused considerable damage to my liver, kidneys. This has affected how I eat, so I had to have a feeding tube, which makes moving around a lot somewhat an obstacle to everyday living. Although I’ve now overcome those early day obstacles.

Woman and dog
Believe The Impossible Is Always Possible.

Who, or what, are your greatest inspirations and why?

So I’m a self taught artist, a lot was trial and error at first, there was a time I almost stopped, but one day the singer Billy Ocean bought a painting from me…. let's say he has several of my works now.

Sometimes you need another person to restore your belief in your capabilities to continue...

Billy Ocean
Billy Ocean

Which artists do you admire and why?

As a child of 5 I was taken on a school trip to several London art galleries.

This is when my love of art truly began , even at this truly impressionable age I can remember getting goosebumps looking at Monet’s use of colour.

But when we moved to look at The Pre-Raphaelite works of John Everett Milais Ophelia, I was mesmerised by the magical qualities and luminescent skin tones, almost dreamlike. The Lady Of Shalott by John William Waterhouse was the other painting that really took me into its depths… I wanted to be able to inspire and create beautiful works like this, although it would be many years later…..

How does the process of painting affect you?

All my paintings are created by how I’m feeling at that moment. I’ll often react creatively to people’s mood.

Lately I have been trying to pay tribute to key workers, I always try to create uplifting and strong characters, usually with an interaction with a second character present.

Which of your paintings is your favourite and why?

I don’t think I have a favourite painting, although I did get immense pleasure from painting my grandson George sitting with his dog Max during UK lockdown, I felt I was sitting beside him, seeing things through his eyes.

What methods do you undertake to market and sell your work?

For the moment I don’t have a professional website, but it’s definitely something I’ve been considering. it would be lovely to have a wider audience, I must admit I am feeling proud of the fact that I have achieved several of my life goals.

Healing Hands
This painting was a tribute to all the key workers during the Covid 19 it’s called Healing Hands

What are your plans for the future?

One was to take up painting.

Two to inspire people, as I was as a child.

Three to have illustrated a children’s book.

Four to really enjoy what I do.

I have started working on a second and possibly third children's book, I believe keeping busy is a good way to keep good mental health because you can literally lose yourself while painting.

I have several things I’d like to achieve ,and I believe in working hard to learn and improve my work. It would be nice to think my grandchildren will have many memories within my paintings to look back on in later years….a kind of legacy of a far more important kind.

Michele and her family

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