Ever since Mike was a child, he wanted to be an artist. Growing up in Iowa, Mike was always doing something artistic – he was constantly drawing – especially horses which he still loves to do, carving images of horses in soap, and doing other childhood art projects. Mike took art classes all through his school years. His love and appreciation of the beauty of nature was fostered by his father who was an avid outdoorsman.
Mike’s original goal was to be a portrait artist, which is still of interest to him. However. the bulk of his work in the last few years has been landscapes – often desert, western scenes, the Lake Tahoe and Sierra areas as well as other iconic western locations..
Mike’s interest in the desert landscape began over thirty years ago when he discovered a very special place – the Saline Valley – which has since become part of Death Valley National Park. The combination of the geology, the never-ending changes of color, and the light and shadow effects of the area is overpowering. The earth bares its soul in the desert. The vast spaces with the constantly changing colors and light are inspirational and challenging to represent in a completed composition.
Mike’s original landscape technique was to do drawings in the field and then, in the studio, create paintings from the drawings. Now he captures photographs in the field and uses them as guides for the completed paintings. First acrylics, and now oil has been his primary choices of media. Mike has also enjoyed experimenting with plein air pastel drawing.
For Mike to paint any subject matter it must be of personal interest, and it must be challenging. He likes the concept of doing something he has never before attempted; using the knowledge acquired through study, observation and practice while combining the basic elements of color, texture, form, light, and shadow, to produce a final composition.
Although he has taken some beginning art classes and read art books, he is largely self-taught. There is no end to the learning process.