Artist & Author
Attended KCSS • 1983–1988
Michelle Basic, Shely as she was known at K.C.S.S., was born in Toronto and grew up in Kleinburg. She came to King City for high school and was drawn to History, with her most memorable classes with Mr. Ellison, Mr. Henderson and art classes with Mr. White.
A summer job with the King Township Heritage Committee in 1988 gave Michelle a focus to her interest in history. She would keep a notebook full of details and sketches of some of the more common architectural styles in King as well as some of the stories she collected. Michelle’s artistic journey, however, was not immediately apparent.
A self-described late bloomer, Michelle attended the University of Toronto and studied History, Biology, Art History and dabbled in courses from a broad number of disciplines. After graduation, She tried a host of different jobs including a brief stint in commercial radio before returning to school to study graphic design. Graduating near the top of her class, she was invited after only a year of professional practice to teach in the brand new post-graduate program in web design at Georgian College in Barrie. In 2000, Michelle married Jeff Hendry, the love of her life, and moved to Muskoka.
Inspired by her some of her clients in the arts community, Michelle began to spend her off hours experimenting in art, studying under a number of professional artists. She volunteered within the arts community and was a founding member of the Arts Council of Muskoka. In 2004, She curated the “Language of Light”, one of the most successful exhibitions ever at the Chapel Gallery in Bracebridge, Ontario.
An illness in the mid-2000’s forced some significant changes in Michelle’s life. Everything she had been doing, building and experiencing had to stop. No longer able to keep the pace of running a business and her volunteer schedule, Michelle stepped quietly into the studio. Exhaustion left her forced to choose carefully how she spent her time. In her heart, the choice was clear. The more she painted, the more she knew she had come home.
In January 2008, Michelle went for a drive and ended up stopping in front of an old abandoned house in Uffington, Ontario. Everything came full circle. The resulting work became a series of paintings and histories of century buildings. She has since researched and uncovered stories of gold, greatness and loss in many locations around the Muskoka region and is currently writing a book.
Michelle is a multiple award winning artist. She was elected by her peers to become a member of the Society of Canadian Artists and the Landscape Artists International in 2008. In 2009, Michelle exhibited her work at the annual art sale at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.
Most people are born not knowing their gift or who they are. Some things require the journey, the gathering of experiences. Be patient, follow what calls you and enjoy every moment.
Written – October 2011