Michelle Liebgott-Osinga is part naturalist and part artist. Through her work as an artist, Michelle strives to gain an understanding about the natural world. She believes that having a familiarity with the native species of the place where one lives is the best way to develop and experience a deeper understanding and connection to nature.
Michelle went to university at Humboldt State University where she studied Art, Biology, and lots of Foreign Languages. Her primary focus was in ceramics, but she also studied representational drawing with a focus on depicting realism of natural subjects. Presently, Michelle works as a needle felt artist in her at home studio and shows her work at the Burkholder Project and at Pioneers Park nature center. When not working on her sculptures she is busy taking care of her three young boys. You can see her sculpture, and other artistic endeavors at https://www.facebook.com/PlainsSongStudio.
The design on this barrel depicts wildlife that is native to Nebraska prairie ecosystems. I chose to paint a stream on the front of the barrel so that as the center it would communicate the importance of water to the prairie, and then when one takes some water out of the barrel there would be a sense of it coming from this stream. The grasses are green, and there is a young bison frolicking nearby. Many of the animals are looking out at the viewer so as to give the viewer a sense of being part of this landscape and thereby realizing that we all play an important role in our environment.