Artist Michelle Stump Reconnects with the Creative

“Skyward dreaming.” Photo by Michelle Stump

By Mandy Marksteiner

Early in the morning Michelle Stump set out on the north side of the Pueblo Canyon RIm Trail, which starts next to the dog park near the Los Alamos Animal Shelter.

She had her camera and new wide-angle lens with her and was surprised at how easy and accessible the side trail to Graduation Point was from the Canyon Rim.

Once she had hiked into the upper part of the canyon, before her was a tremendous drop and the view was just magic.

The glow of the early morning sun was pink and hazy over the distant mountains.

“View from Graduation Point.” Photo by Michelle Stump

She was looking at the vista from Pueblo Canyon, the place where the schoolboys would go to celebrate after they graduated from the exclusive Los Alamos Ranch School back in 1917.

“It makes you understand why Oppenheimer wanted the lab here, doesn’t it,” Stump said.

Stump is an award-winning photographer and digital artist with a gift for capturing pure magic with her camera.

Her company, The Harp of the Spirit, is once again open for business after a two-year break. Her line of fine art greeting cards are available in Los Alamos at Uli’s, located at 800 Trinity Dr., across from Smith’s.

Whether she is capturing a soulful landscape, the sun shining through leaves like stained glass, or collaborating with other artists, Stump has taken an artistic approach to her business.

Her first greeting card, “The Dancing Princess,” was awarded honorable mention in the portraiture category at a juried show sponsored by the Imaging Professionals of the Southwest.

“The Rio Grande Rift Valley,” her most famous and best-selling image, captures the sprawling magnitude of the layered cliffs of the mesas outside of Los Alamos.

“The Rio Grande Rift Valley.” Photo by Michelle Stump

For the past three years, Stump worked as a contractor at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

She explained that she is looking forward to refocusing on her business and her creativity.

“I look at art as a part of the human spirit. It’s part of what mankind is,” Stump said.

In 2008, she was named the Small Business Development Center’s Success Client.

“We love her cards, and love to sell them,” said Uli Campbell, who was the original storeowner to carry Harp of the Spirit greeting cards when Stump went into business in 2000.

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