Travel remains and important source of inspiration for Michael’s work. Driven by a love for plein air sketching and painting from life, Michael’s recent trips have taken him to India, East Africa, the Middle East, Europe, the Caribbean and North America. He has twice been appointed war artist to the British Military, accompanying troops to Helmand Province in 2011 and again in 2013.
Michael has been awarded several prizes including the Green and Stone Oil Painting Prize, the Agnes Reeve Memorial Prize for best painting of London, and the Prima Luce Mural prize. Michael is a serving council member of the Chelsea Arts Society.
“Painting for me is recapturing the experience of seeing, without being too literal-minded about what that experience is or means.
My work always starts with direct observation of the visible world. It can be broad and sweeping, as in landscapes or cityscapes, or very close and intimate, as in figures, nudes or interiors. I often go out looking for subjects and return to the studio with sketches or drawings. These I use as a starting point for a process that turns raw observation, impressions, into something more abstract and evocative.
The process often involves cutting out visual distractions and transient effects so that the resulting image has more power. Time acts as an important filter for me and so does physical distance between the initial sketch and the painting. Both help me distil the memory and pick out the essential forms.
My overall aim is to communicate my experience of seeing, to convey—through the use of light and shadow and mood—some of the magic and mystery I feel when I look at the world.”