Back to the calendar
Michael R. Lee & Carla O'Connor Demo and Talk
1:00pm - 3:00pm
August 13
1:00pm - 3:00pm
Please join The Art Spirit Gallery in celebrating the new works of clay artist Michael R. Lee and watercolorist Carla O’Connor. The opening reception and ArtWalk will be held Friday, August 12 from 5-8 pm. Meet the featured artists and enjoy a lively evening of fine art, fine dining and good friends in downtown Coeur d’Alene. Everyone is welcome!

Artist talk and demonstration at the gallery – Saturday, August 13 beginning at 1 pm.

This show runs from August 12 – September 3. Summer Hours: Open daily from 11-6.

Show Sponsor: The Cellar Restaurant. We thank them for their continuous support of the arts in our region.


“Fool your eye” trompe l’oeil clay sculpting and “entice your eye” multi-layered watercolor come together in this exciting new show at The Art Spirit Gallery. New works by local sculptor Michael R. Lee and Gig Harbor painter Carla O’Connor will bring dimension and intrigue to the gallery in August.

Michael R. Lee

For over 35 years, Vietnam veteran Michael R. Lee worked as a fire chief during the day, but he soon acquired a much heavier job in the evening. His daughter became ill and required medication throughout the night, and Michael became the nightly caregiver. He soon realized he needed a focus to keep himself awake, so he decided to teach himself to sculpt. He would work long hours almost nightly at the kitchen table, and began to learn that his adventure in clay would serve a purpose beyond just staying awake; it transformed into true artistic expression that would leave on-lookers exclaiming, “Wait, that’s clay??”

Michael’s personal style soon started to take shape, and he became fascinated with the trompe l’oeil style, French for ‘fool the eye.’ His first hyper-realistic clay sculptures - "Government Issue," a replica of a World War II army canteen in a canvas cover, and "Hard Times," a replica of a battered leather suitcase- won first place awards at local exhibitions and led the way to his personal style.

Always on the lookout for new subject-matter, Michael scours farmer’s markets and antique stores for the perfect models. "I like to sculpt old, beat up leather and canvas objects, such as suitcases, doctor's bags, backpacks, boots, and leather fire helmets - artifacts of human existence. My sculptures are intended to confuse the senses, creating a gap between perception and reality."

The Art Spirit Gallery would like to thank Emerge, a Coeur d'Alene gallery and art school, for introducing Michael Lee. To date, Lee's work has an enormous following. His trompe l'oeil sculptures are part of private collections in both the United States and Canada.

Carla O’Connor

Not all artists are gifted with the skill to teach and communicate their craft to others, but accomplished watercolorist Carla O’Connor has embraced that part of her experience in the arts. Along with being a masterful painter, she has spent the better part of her life sharing that knowledge and expertise with eager young artisans all over the world.

Beginning in her early married years as an Air Force wife, she was transplanted around the world with much frequency and made the most of it. For the next 30 years, she traveled throughout the US, Canada, and Europe, leading workshops that were eventually so sought-after, they were booked out 2 to 3 years in advance. Carla would sometimes work for multiple weeks with artists in this capacity, a true teacher at heart.

Carla’s layered color and complicated patterns became her signature style. She has worked in oil, acrylics, watercolor, and gouache, never afraid to come back to a piece weeks or months later until it decides it is done. We are proud to feature her accomplished work in the August show. We’re also thrilled that she will be speaking and demonstrating her skill on Saturday, August 13. Her watercolor and gouache paintings are not to be missed!