LAHORE - Michelle Farooqi's pastels landscape show ‘A Walk in the Park’ opened at Alhamra Art Gallery III yesterday. The show that will run until Friday, February 5, showcases 18 pastels landscapes by the artist.

Michelle migrated to Toronto, Canada, with her husband, author and novelist Musharraf Ali Farooqi, where she lived for 15 years before returning to Pakistan. While in Toronto, she studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design University, and later at the Academy of Realist Art – a private institute that teaches classical drawing and painting techniques of the 18th century masters—receiving in-depth instruction in drawing and painting using graphite, charcoal and oils. Michelle has shown her work in Toronto and Karachi. This is her first solo show in Lahore.

Michelle's technique and expression has drawn comparisons with the masters of the landscape genre. "Landscape painting has remained a popular art form in various cultures, a blessing for its practitioners because it is not viewed in its formal and pictorial context but often with a romantic fervour. This aspect presents a problem for painters, but there have been examples of artists (the French Impressionists, and Khalid Iqbal in our context) who have focused on the essence of nature and portrayed it by concentrating on multiple ideas – ranging from light, colour, and time to atmosphere – or combing them all. In the works of Michelle Farooqi, one finds a similar approach towards nature. Her landscapes in her solo exhibition ‘A Walk in the Park’ reveal the artist’s keen eye in recording details and capturing the atmosphere in different seasons and locations...In Michelle Farooqi’s work, one notices a particular peacefulness while she depicts passages and lanes in gardens; and the repose apparent in these paintings cannot be separated from the personality of the painter that conveys a sense of serenity. A similar feeling is evoked in her chosen images. For an untrained eye, this is a feat of magic but for a professional painter it demands years of observation, familiarity with material and practice in order to achieve this," noted art critic Quddus Mirza said.

Michelle said she sought to immerse herself in nature. “I have walked through city parks, photographing the trails, the birds, the majestic trees ... but I have always been on the outside looking in; now, in painting the pathways I once took, I am inside, looking out.

"I am there, in the hard-won light sparkling through morning trees, and in the watery reflections of rock and leaf. With crimson strokes, I built up a Japanese Maple, and cooled down autumn barks with a hint of blue. I dappled the dawn through the wide spreading neem tree and cast shadows beneath the bougainvillea. I am one with the fragile leaf, the enduring tree.

"In these tangible memories, you’ll take the paths I took, watch the seasons change from Spring to Fall, and morning may turn to dusk if you get lost in the tangled roots of a Banyan tree..." she explained.