By David Aspinall
An artistic daredevil manages to paint while plummeting to the earth.
Parachuting painter Michelle Nirumandrad doesn’t settle for an easel in a quiet field, she prefers to do her artwork thousands of feet above the ground.
After jumping out of a plane, the mum-of-two whips out her acrylic paints and gets to work covering the specially created canvasses attached to her arms and legs.
Posting to her social media pages Captured Sky, the 31-year-old manages to complete the pieces once her feet hit the ground.
Michelle, from Columbia, South Carolina, said: “I am allowing the sky to paint for me and she does as she pleases.
“As the facilitator, I claim discretion on what colours she will use and what order she will use them in, but the final image is a product of her design.
“Her works are abstract so the wonder within them is left to the beholder.
“But I have seen her paint mountains and nebulae, dragons and beautiful women standing in the surf.
“Every piece she has given me, complex and unique.”
Michelle has been skydiving since April 2008 and took her first canvas to the skies in 2013.
She said: “It took a while before I had the experience of more than 2500 jumps, the correct gear and research necessary to safely begin experimenting.
“I had to be certain on the material safety data on paints, solvents, rig fabric and materials.
“I started off taking really small 3″x3″ canvases strapped to my arms by old torn up t-shirts.
“Now, five years later, I can take canvases as large as 12″x16″ or even multiple canvases at a time strapped to legs and arms by industrial strength Velcro straps.”
Michelle does most of her jumps from Skydive Spaceland Dallas in Whitewright, Texas, but due to weather conditions, she can’t jump all year round.
Although Michelle’s paintings are completed in a short amount of time in the air, a lot of preparation must happen on the ground.
She said: “The process starts at home where I experiment with different colours and consistencies of paint to get an idea of what to take to the wind.
“The paints are mixed and stored in two-ounce flip-top containers for transporting through the sky.
“Pre-stretched canvases have industrial Velcro straps added to the back of their wood frames to allow me to affix them to my body.”
After a twenty-minute climb, Michelle reaches an exit altitude of 13,500ft, leaving her just five minutes before her feet touch solid ground again
Spending almost a minute freefalling at speeds of up to 130mph, she pulls her parachute giving her four minutes flying at 20mph.
Michelle said: “The background blending you see in the pieces are a product of paint released during freefall and the more punctuated accents are from paint released under canopy.
“After landing, the paintings are removed and set to dry while I begin the arduous process of maintaining my gear.
“Once the paintings are dry, I take a wood tool and burn the details of their conception into the back of their canvas frame.
“This information includes the date, name of the piece, how much sky it captured – or the amount of time the piece spent at terminal velocity, and the conditions of the sky at the time it was caught.”
Michelle sells her paintings and they can start from $100 each, increasing in price based on the size, composition and cost of the raw materials.