Arts & Culture

A Conversation with Artist and Counselor Michelle Houghton

Local artist and counselor Michelle Houghton brings inspiration from her garden to her canvas and the results are colorful, cheerful and healing.

By Heather Kane Kohler

Jul 2024

Photo by Katy St. ClairHoughton uses flowers from her garden and vases from her home to inspire floral paintings. Purchase Photo

Local artist Michelle Houghton has been gardening for years, but just recently  her vegetable garden has morphed into something else—a colorful flower garden to be exact. “I’ve mainly been creating a giant perennial garden,” Houghton says. Gardening is one of Houghton’s favorite hobbies, and it’s been inspiring her art ever since she created an unexpected  landscape painting full of flowers. “I posted it on Instagram, and a lot of people really loved it,” she says. After that, Houghton was the first artist featured at Mother’s Brewing Company, where she first showed a new collection of her floral works. “I’m very drawn to flowers,” Houghton says. “I like to start with something live in front of me, and then I’ll mess it up a bit.” Houghton uses many of her own vases from her large collection in her paintings as well. She doesn’t see her style as girlie, but she loves flowers for their colorful aesthetic. “I feel like florals are classic too,” Houghton says. “They never go out of style.” Houghton also has a collection of dried straw flowers from past gardens that she enjoys styling and painting. “I started just playing around with painting flowers in the beginning, and really studying them and learning them,” Houghton says. In fact, she recommends that any beginner who wants to learn to paint try painting florals first. “Florals are a great place to start,” she says. It’s no surprise Houghton sees painting as great therapy too. As a licensed counselor, she hopes to incorporate art into her counseling in the future.