by Steven G. Smith,
For many people, integrating the left brain – logical, rational and analytical – with the right brain – intuitive, holistic and subjective – can be a challenge. For Michelle Rouch, an electrical engineer with [DoD] Tucson, Ariz., it’s just part of her makeup as an artist.
Rouch credits her father, who is an engineer and inventor, and her brother, also an engineer, with encouraging her to pursue engineering, although she had considered studying art as well when she entered college.
“My father says ‘you have to do something to put food on the table,’” Rouch said. “I never took my art seriously because I knew it wouldn’t pay the bills and it always has remained a hobby.”
Over the past five years, Rouch’s artwork has migrated from architectural subjects, to still life portraits, to children at play and now aviation art.
Growing up in Dayton, Ohio – where Wilbur and Orville Wright did much of their work on powered flight – Rouch has since revisited the city and developed a renewed appreciation of aviation history.
“Last year, I wanted to know if my paintings and drawings would be accepted at the Centennial of Flight Art Show at the Tucson International Airport,” Rouch said. “To my surprise, they were accepted and my life as an aviation artist began.”
The art director at the Tucson International Airport encouraged Rouch to explore other styles of aviation art.
“I now have 39 pieces of work, including the Centennial of Flight poster and additional commissions for artwork to be featured on scale model boxes,” Rouch said.
Rouch enjoyed the opportunity to pass on her love for aviation history by creating an illustrated timeline with the help of children from six Tucson elementary schools to accompany the Centennial of Flight display at the Tucson International Airport.
“Art is probably the best way I know to communicate ideas to children,” Rouch said.