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Meet Ellen

Ellen Michel, celebrated Heidelberg Artist, Teacher, Art Therapist, Writer, Mentor, and Shaman devotes her amazing breadth of skills and knowledge to the quest of promoting the human right to access self-expression.

Ellen’s career spans 40 years of the Art Scene in Melbourne from Community Arts to Private Commissions and Public Lectures. Her practice as an Artist and her study of Anthropology, Psychology, Art Therapy, Shamanism and Practices of Meditative States brings expert knowledge and experience to the Course.

Combining Art & Education Since 1979

"My training as a tonal realist painter, specializing in oil for over 40 years, has been a wonderful foundation from which to develop my painting technique and style. With five solo exhibitions and numerous awards for painting, my body of work continues to thrive mainly because I love combining teaching and painting. The combination of practice and teaching refreshes my view of myself as a student and teacher. My aim is to pass I on (passion) something of the pain and the ecstatic joy I experience in an attempt to make a painting. I encourage all who have the desire to paint, to give it a go. It is a human right to create, and not a ‘gift’ limited to a few.

I am mostly fascinated with the idea of the painter being an instrument, whose work reveals something universal, something that touches what it is to be human. My work explores many techniques as I approach the canvas openly, with an automatic response. I imagine when I paint, being in the airless Caves of Lascaux, deep in the earth drawing, painting images for the fecundity of life, paying homage to the human endeavour to find meaning. In a sense I explore, the painter/artist as psycho-pomp, ritual maker/shaman, and conduit to spiritual dimensions."

Exhibitions, Art Projects, Workshops, Talks, Performances, Field Trips, and Awards


2022 - Entrant for Montsalvat Portrait Prize.

2019 - Artist Retreat Morocco and return to Covid Pandemic.

2019 - Grampians Field Trip.

2018 - Travel for painting and writing material to India, Nepal, and Bhutan.

2017 - Artmakers Studio Gallery studio opening and exhibition of new works of Pilbarra, Bhutan, and India.

2017 - Green Lake, Wimmera Field Trip.

2017 - Rome, Spain, England, and Sweden Field trip 'Where I sit in the scheme - a memory'

2017 - Western Australian round trip Perth to Kalbarri 'in search of Wild Wonder Wisdom - Flora.'

2017 - Kakadu, Tiwi Islands field trip

2011 – Our Changing State, performance art with Heidelberg Primary School, an Artist in Schools Program.

2011 – Mosaic Seat, Alice Downunder in the land of Wonder. collaboration with students, Doncaster Primary School.

2010 - Pilbara Artist Retreat and exhibition at Yarrie Station.

2010 – Heights Primary School – ten panels, Let Medicine be your Food and Food your Medicine.

2010 – Rosanna Golf Links Primary. Breezeway Mural -Healthy Living Health Life.

2009 – 2015 Art Therapist, Able Australia, facilitating yearly exhibition.

2009 – Exploring the Farmyard and Vegetable Garden 15m painted panel, Rosanna Golf Links Primary School

2009 – Neighbourhood Community House Project, Nine Painted Panels, for the Collingwood Justice Centre, Vic.

2008 – Hands on for Healing Community Mosaic wall 2.5x3m, Austin/Repatriation Hospitals, Heidelberg Vic.

2008-10 – Commission by Austin Repatriation Hospital, Heidelberg, Vic. for 44 oil paintings

2008 – One and Many – a collaborative collage, Olympic Adult

Education, Heidelberg Heights, Vic.

2008 – Wild Wonder Wisdom, Panels, Australian flora, fauna, water land, and sea, Doncaster Primary School, Doncaster, Vic

2007 – In the Flow – facade mural North Yarra Community Health Centre, Collingwood

2006 – Body, Head Feet and Hands, Painted Tile Project, Doncaster Primary School, Vic.

2006 – Meditation Garden, Rosanna Fire Station Community House Work for the Dole Project.

2004- 2005 – Wall of the Imagination and Sculpture, mosaic and Ferro cement render Watsonia Neighbourhood House.

2005 – Serpents Head path Mia Mia Gallery, Westerfolds Park, Templestowe. Greencore project.

2004-2005 – Mosaic Panels, Doncaster Primary School, Vic.

2004 – Exhibition Doctors of Northcote, ‘Finding the Heart Beat of Northcote

2003 – Painting Workshop for Outback Women, Dirranbandi, Queensland.

2002 – Doncaster Primary School Arts after school program. Art Therapy workshop for Heritage Australia, Canberra.

2002 – Watsonia Neighbourhood House, Art Therapy workshop. Children’s Art Holiday Program ‘Weaving the Web’, a sculptural performance.

2002 –Demonstration of painting Doncaster, Ringwood, Brighton, Heidelberg Art Societies

2001 – Royal Women’s Hospital ‘Reclaiming the art of Dying’ – ‘Women’s Day 2000’, Dianella Community Health, Broadmeadows.

2000 Exhibition, Doing Art Studio,‘Serpent’s Mouth Open’, giant serpent canvas and paint. ‘Looking at a coffin. Help! ‘ installation Open Studio Banyule City Council.

1999 – Established with Rosemary Mangiamele Art and Soul Coffins and Ceremonies to offer a creative/healing approach to death and dying.

1999 – Australian Film and Television School Artwork and direction.

 1998 – Exhibition of painting, ‘On the road to Rhodes’, Fitzroy Gallery, Fitzroy, Melbourne.

1992 – ‘Art Adventure’ workshop funded by Northcote Council.

1991 – 1999 – T.P.I. Return Service Art Group.

1990 – Hamilton Art Show First Prize.

1990 – Wimmera Art Show, Best Painting.

1990 – Bright Art Show ‘Miniature Prize.

1991 – Warragul Rotary Art Show Prize.

1992 – Mornington Rotary Art Show Prize

1989 – Artists in Schools Program. Grades 4,5 & 6 Four remote Primary schools in North-Eastern Victoria.

1989 – Wangaratta Art Show, Grand Prize, Art Gallery Council Collection

1990 – Wangaratta Art Show Grand Prize, Art Gallery Council Collection

1989 – Exhibition of Painting, ‘Veritas Galleria’ Eldorado, Victoria.

1988 – Exhibition of painting ‘Olive Lodge’, Oxley, Victoria

1987 – Australian Rural Prize, Wangaratta Collection

1986 – Australian Rural Prize, Wangaratta Collection

1979 – 1991 – Teaching The Centre for Continuing Education, Wangaratta. The Pathway, Adult Education Yarrawonga. Bright Community Centre, Benalla Artist Guild, Wangaratta Art Society North Ringwood and Park Orchards Community centres.

1972 - Private Ellen Michel Art School ongoing.



1992 – Bachelor of Arts, Sociology, Anthropology and Art History Majors, Cinema Studies, Contemporary Feminist Thought, Minors. La Trobe University, Bundoora, Melbourne, Australia.

1999 – Diploma of Art Therapy, Ikon Institute of Victoria, Melbourne.

1979 -1985  Studied under Frank Gill, Mitcham, Melbourne. (tonal realist & colourist).

1972 – 1974  Studied under Alan Martin, Eltham, Melbourne (A tonal impressionist student of the celebrated Max Meldrum).

Art Studio Gallery

Artistry & Poetry

"The story of my travel through the world expressed in the metaphor of images and poetry - my life as a poem"
Ellen Michel


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