Spotlight On: San Francisco-Based Artist Michelle Favin

Photo: @melissagidneyphoto 

Photo: @melissagidneyphoto 

Our first meeting with artist Michelle Favin was nothing short of kismet. We met for a pot of Tumeric Ginger tea at The Center, a cool, cozy tea house in San Francisco, and immediately fell in love with her unique and grounded view of painting as a means of expansion and self-expression. Together, we partnered with Michelle to develop our next KISMET workshop, All the Feels: Intuitive Painting, where she will lead us through a meditative experience using watercolors to help us tap into our intuition and discover our own unique visual language. Scroll down to read our interview with Michelle and learn about how she considers watercolors a metaphor for life itself, discover her dreamy astrological profile, and find out why she considers the act of listening the most radical high-vibe pursuit.

How did you get into watercolor? 

I have this vivid memory of being six years old at my Grandmother’s kitchen table with a watercolor palette, coloring book, half-eaten grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of tomato soup. This still life still evokes so much comfort and inspiration for me. I remember feeling safe at her table—safe enough to play with the colors and water and begin learning how to express the world around me. Of course, I never painted in the lines. I carried the watery hues across and beneath the shapes in the coloring book with all the confidence of an abstract expressionist master. My grandmother, bless her soul, told me that each painting took her breath away. 

What do you love about it? 

Watercolor is chaotic and calm, wild yet sublimely serene. It is incredibly hard to control, but its unbridled nature is why it is so moving, so compelling, so close to how the world actually feels. I love how watercolor teaches me to let go and delight in the unknown. I’ve learned that I will never completely control the water or the colors. Yet I can control the mindset I bring to a canvas, the way I hold my paintbrush, the loving intention I give to a stroke. Watercolor is a meditation on the way I hope to live my life—with intentionality, compassion, and a deep understanding of non-attachment. I’ve learned—in life and in painting— that however the paint dries is exactly how it was intended to dry.

How long have you been doing it? 

For forever! It has always been my favorite medium. For a while though, it was a pretty private practice. I gave birth to WHYS and the intention to put my art out into the world about four years go. 

Photo: @whysbyfavin

Photo: @whysbyfavin

Sun, Moon, Rising signs? 

Scorpio Sun. Gemini Moon. Leo Rising. 

Any attributes you relate directly to one of your signs?  

Oh goodness, I feel like my chart is so spot on. I also want to take this moment to give some love to the most badass astrologer I’ve met, Dani Beinstein, who broke down my chart in the most grounded way possible. 

Scorpio Sun: Scorpio can get a bad rap for being intense and I am absolutely an intense person. Yet the word intensity should not just be synonymous with vindictiveness or revenge or those other bad connotations. I am intensely passionate, this is true. I am passionate about joy, love, intimacy, authenticity, creativity, equity and yes, I will do anything it takes to live out these values. I am also no stranger to the cycles of death and rebirth and strongly believe in reinventing your life if that is what needs to happen for you to live a deeper truth. So yes, I am a Scorpio, with all that intense light and shadow in tow. 

Gemini Moon:  I am infinitely curious, hungry for new ideas and inspiration, yet also struggle with slight undertones of restlessness. Finding a state of pure content can be challenging for me and I absolutely see this being carried through by my Gemini moon. 

Leo Rising: I love my Leo Rising mainly because I have two best Leo friends and I love them and their shiny, regal selves very dearly.  I’ve grown my self-confidence and self-worth through my Leo Rising, as well as insatiable thrust for playfulness, friendship, and being out and about in this dynamic world. 

Where are you from originally?

I am originally from Gaithersburg, Maryland, but very much feel New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA in my bones. I lived in both cities for about four years each and did a helluva lot of growing up there too. 

Photo: @whysbyfavin

Photo: @whysbyfavin

Favorite high-vibe activities?

Listening. Really, really, actively listening, with my whole heart, is one of the most important ways I feel more aligned with spirit. Listening to friends over a cup of tea, to loved ones over pillow talk, to a song, to a sound bath, to my breath. I love music, conversation, and sounds, so practicing listening with as much intentionality as I can muster is one of the surefire ways I feel grounded, connected, and in tune. 

 All the Feels: Intuitive Painting. 4/25 @ Outdoor Voices, San Francisco. $35; Tickets here.

Natalie Rizzo