Recalls Mike, "I became interested in art in my mid-thirties and studied color
and design with Aileen Worthley, who interested me in screen printing
and introduced me to Guy Maccoy, who let me monitor his classes
at the Los Angeles County Institute of Art."
Though Mike's print work was shown at galleries in Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach
and Newport Beach, and published by Fidelity Arts in Los Angeles, he soon
found he could not make a living in art. So he returned to his family trade:
painting houses. "But I began to go slowly nuts," he says.
Fortunately, he discovered decorative painting, then trained extensively
in it at the Day Studio Workshop in San Francisco. This led him to a more
satisfying career painting murals, trompe L'oeil, wall treatments, metal
leafing, as well as creating furniture and cabinet finishes, for private
homes until age of 65.
"After that," says Mike, "I became involved with The Central Sierra Art
Council and began to paint in oil. I studied with Jeanette Legrue, a truly
great plein aire painter, and my work was shown at the George W. Post
and Ventana Galleries in Sonora."
But in time, Mike gave up plein aire, instead taking inspiration for his
paintings from photos taken during extensive travels with his wife
Jen. Then, about a year ago, all that changed.
According to Mike, "I began to dislike my art work. The color was
off, and the content was boring and pointless. I spent a lot of time
staring at blank surfaces. I tried my hand at pastels, but it just
didn't work for me. I switched to acrylics and found new things,
like colors looking different when dry. I was considering giving up
painting all together."
Then I saw Sharon Guy's show. She made an all-out effort and put
her heart and soul into the work. I wanted to do something similar—make an all out effort of my own."
Mike adds that the key was to start painting from his head, not from the photographs from his trips.
His goal: to create "paintings that are colorful, happy and joyous using imagery original and meaningful to me."
It looks like he has succeeded