Noel Skiba’s art on 2022 Lilac Festival poster; more honors
ALPENA — Artist Noel Skiba keeps winning awards for doing what she loves.
Most recently, her “Peace, Love, Lilacs” painting was chosen as the poster art for the 2022 Lilac Festival on Mackinac Island. This is the fifth time her artwork was chosen for the festival, held earlier this month. She also won the poster contest in 2016, 2015, 2013, and 2010.
“I was so honored,” the artist said. “I was in shock when they unveiled it. I started to cry.”
Skiba has studios in Alpena, Mackinac Island, Grand Rapids, and the Florida Keys.
She said she put 300 hours of work into the piece, which took her about two months to complete.
“I worked really hard on this piece,” Skiba said. “It’s a beautiful painting.”
She said she enjoys painting, but it’s not always easy.
“It’s challenging to survive as an artist, and to paint and make a living,” Skiba said.
She’s doing a good job of it, though, as she won Best of Show and first place in painting this year in the Key West Schooners Wharf Show for the third time, as well as earning many other recent honors. She made the cover of Cloverland Connections magazine. She is the featured artist at the 2022 Walloon Lake Art Show. She will be showing art at Art Prize in Grand Rapids this year as well. She also has painted live at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby.
Painting since she was a young child, Skiba has followed her passion, using her hands and brushes with a plethora of colors. She knew she wanted to be an artist from a very young age.
“When I was a Girl Scout, at age 5, I decided I wanted this to happen, and it’s happening,” Skiba said. “It’s just been a miraculous journey.”
She is the daughter of Joy Anne Skiba of Alpena, and the late Thomas Lee Skiba. She is a fourth generation artist.
This past year, she has been traveling across the country, doing shows and events along the way. She also has been painting for personal and public events, including weddings and graduations. She did a cross country family pilgrimage to California, to honor her late nephew, Brandon Skiba, son of Thomas John Skiba.
She painted a beautiful piece in memory of her nephew, called “Brandon Skiba On Angels Wings,” which features a man on a motorcycle with majestic, colorful wings and a horizon bursting with heavenly hues.
Skiba traveled to California with her life partner, Thomas Lee Kingman, her son, Paul William Skiba Van Ess, his girlfriend Jessica Martelli.
“While traveling, the world is her studio,” a bio from the artist reads. “Feeling blessed while loving her journey, Noel continues to stand on the streets, in the water, or on a mountain to capture the spirit of the moment in bright, expressive line quality in thick impasto vivid hues.”
On the trip, she painted at many stops, capturing the sites all the way from the Michigan shoreline, through Yellowstone National Park, Bryce Canyon, Crazy Horse, Mount Zion, Mount Rushmore, Iron Mountain, and more.
She has had the honor of painting during President Gerald R. Ford’s funeral. Her paintings are in the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, the National Archives, and the Michigan House of Representatives. ”
To learn more about Skiba and her artwork, visit her website at noelskiba.com.