Jampa Stewart

Michele Murelli

Artist • Art Therapy • Art Teacher


I was born in Torrington in 1957, when there were still three shifts running at the Torrington Co., downtown was happening, and all of the neighborhood schools were full.

I began painting in oils when I was 10, in Helen Haddad’s basement with a bunch of other kids. She made gorgeous, Lebanese pastries for us at Christmas. Mrs. Haddad kept a box full of greeting cards that we chose our subjects from and she ‘demonstrated’ or ‘corrected’ our work with her brush often. I know, not as creative as it could have been, but I was painting.

Despite a scaricity of deeply engaging art experiences in school, I continued to paint. After High school, I enrolled in Albertus Magnus College where I majored in Psychology, minored in Art, and concentrated in Art Therapy. I earned my MA in Expressive Art Therapy at Lesley College in Cambridge, MA. Years later I also became certified to teach Art and I hold a CT Professional Educator’s License.

My most improtant, technical experience was the time I spent painting with Curt Hanson on Wigwam  Road in Litchfield, when his son and my children were little and ran around in the fields while i painted next to Curt. He gave me these two pieces of advice: Paint every day, and put the ‘note of color where you see it’. Simply watching Curt paint, observing his process, was an amazing opportunity and it taught me the most.

I am first, a landscape painter who loves to paint light. Later, my work expanded to include non-objective pieces, mixed media, assemblage, and altered art as part of my work creating lessons for my students and directives for my art therapy clients.

I was invited to create this Arts organization in 2018. It provides me an unlimited space to bring to life anything I can imagine.