Mitchell completing a family portrait in Dallas, TX


Richard F. Lack - Catalogue Raisonne': 1943-1998 


 Fourteen years in the making, Richard F. Lack Catalogue Raisonné: 1943–1998 is 496 pages documenting over 1,300 of Lack’s works, more than 1,200 are reproduced. In total there are 1,700 illustrations that include: works of past Masters, family photographs, Lack’s peers, and twenty-two select artists trained by Lack. The illustrated biography was written by one of Lack’s first students, Stephen Gjertson. The catalogue includes a complete bibliography and chronology. This landmark book is available from Afton Press for $85 shipping included (Minnesota residents add 7.63% sales tax). To order go to:


Her Portraits are among the best ever produced over my long career as a teacher at atelier lack.  -  Richard Lack

Michele Mitchell, born in Chicago, studied with Richard Lack during the last four years of his atelier,  from 1988 to 1992. her classical background is immediately evident in her Old Master’s palette and scrupulous brushwork, and in the compositional integrity of her portraits and figurative paintings.

Prior to studying at atelier Lack, Mitchell attended the University of Illinois and the American Academy of Art, in Chicago, covering a five-year span. She then embarked upon extensive travels in Europe. While living abroad, she worked with a team of architects and planners to revitalize the Greek city of Arta.

She also studied the masterpieces at some of the world’s greatest museums—the Uffizi in Florence, the Louvre in Paris, and the Tate
in London. Brimming with inspiration, she returned to Chicago and established a studio presence in the historic Palette and Chisel Fine Art Club, drawing and painting from the model, in oil, and furthering her trials with watercolor with differing subject matter. Upon meeting a former student of Richard Lack, she recognized her next step in following her dream in capturing the truth rather than perfecting a style.

Richard Lack reintroduced Mitchell to the basics in his Atelier—working in charcoal on paper and then moving on to still life and figurative painting. Mitchell’s dual focus as an artist has been to exhibit the highest level of craftsmanship, worthy of the rich traditions of portraiture exemplified by the Old Masters, while also expanding her powers in the art of seeing. Mitchell discovered that in the process of seeing, subtle passages in nature’s relationships were unveiled that profoundly exceeded comprehensive analysis, but offered a vision into a timeless awareness revealed on canvas.

Silence Speaks Louder than Words, 2000. Oil on linen, 36 x 48.

Silence Speaks Louder than Words, 2000. Oil on linen, 36 x 48.

Each day was a study in objectivity and transposing nature without interpretation, ensuring subjectivity and opinions expressed would be subservient to the truthfulness of sincere and selective response—combining impressionistic “seeing of the whole” with the disciplined study of form unique to the French Academic tradition. Through trained observation and creative vision, Mitchell fuses Impressionism and Realism into a unified work of art. Her passion for color commands her palette with a proficiency that links her unmistakably to Titian, Vermeer, and Rembrandt.

Mitchell’s paintings are held in many private, public, and corporate collections throughout the United States and in Europe. She has exhibited in prestigious venues such as the U.S. Capitol, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Grand Central Gallery in New York city, the Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine art in Chicago, the Foundation for the Carolinas, Queens College, Duke University, the Morseberg Gallery in LA. and the Hollis Taggart Gallery in New York and Washington, D.C. 

She has won several Best of Show awards, from the International Portrait Seminar in 1984, where she took Grand Prize among four thousand entrants, to the Grand Prize in the American Society of Portrait artists “Portraits Only” International Competition in 1998.

Mitchell and her husband, artist Jim Ostlund, live in the mountains of North Carolina where they reside with their two daughters. Since the births of their children, Mitchell has divided her time between portraiture and

The Holy Family in Blue Wedgwood, 2014. Oil on linen, 24 x 18.

The Holy Family in Blue Wedgwood, 2014. Oil on linen, 24 x 18.

family. The life of an artist has dictated the environment for her children’s perception of this world, as well as her availability for her own personal choices for picture making.