friday, august 01, 2008
Post-Graduation Update

 

It’s late July and hazy, hot and humid on the Delaware River at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia. It’s so hot that I’m currently doing almost all of my work on our boat, Tranquility, because it the only place where I have air conditioning. I do occasionally pop over to my new studio in Port Richmond to make sure my paintings and supplies haven’t melted. It’s a beautiful arrangement; I’m sharing the whole warehouse-type space with several other recent graduates from the Master’s Program at Pennsylvania Academy. It will be so nice when it finally cools down so I can go to work there. But for now, I’m confined to life on the river, which requires me to keep my work very small and my paints very thin…
 
Actually, this works out perfectly because by the time the weather got warm I was already working on this series of miniature self-portraits. I was able to include a few of them in the Annual Student Exhibition, in which they did very well. The Artist’s House Gallery approached me at the ASE, and now I currently have a nice full schedule of group shows at the Artist’s House starting with the ‘Summer Show’ which runs until the end of August, then in September, my work will be included in ‘Portraits’, and ‘Small Works’ in December, and another group show in April (as yet untitled). I told Lorraine Riesenbach, one of the gallery's directors that I will be happy to continue in the vein of the miniature portraits through December, but come springtime, I will have already launched into a new series of larger (life sized) paintings and drawings. She was amicable about this, and assured me that she would work with whatever I was producing at that time.
 
That’s the current and the future. The past seems far behind me already, even though it’s only been three months since I graduated from the Academy. I have to admit the whole final revue, graduation and Annual Student Exhibition experience was exhilarating. My final review went so well I was almost embarrassed—I don’t think I’ve every spoken so well about my work in my entire life. For whatever that’s worth, it was a very nice way to finalize my formal education. I’m a bit sad to be finished with school for good—but of course that’s one reason I chose a life in the arts—the only way to grow as an artist is to always be a student in spirit.
 
In addition to many hugs and handshakes, I was honored to receive the Caldwell Purchase Prize for my drawing entitled Gastromancy II. This means the Museum of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the oldest art museum in the nation, selected and purchased my piece for its permanent collection. Well, that’s one thing to put on my resume.
 
The remainder of my work was well received and most of it was bought by patrons attending the show. The most notable of which was the artist and collector Lee Alter, who purchased the pastel piece entitled The Handless Maiden for her personal collection. I can't tell you what a privilege it has been to be in contact with Lee, I’ve been told that her collection of contemporary art—particularly that of female artists rivals many public collections. She’s a fixture in the arts community in Philadelphia, the head of the Leeway Foundation, a patron of women in the arts, and a warm and generous person as well.
 
As for the next few months, I intend to remain in Philadelphia while there are still immediate opportunities to show my work and to do commissioned work. The proceeds from my sales along with my modest lifestyle have been allowing me to focus entirely on my art, and, let’s face it—that’s an end in itself. However, I would like to find some similar opportunities back in the Northwest; if at all possible, and to keep pathways open between both coasts. I do make the occasional trip home to visit my family and I intend to continue planting seeds in Seattle as well as in Philadelphia and New York.
 
If you’re new to my website, please feel free to check back again regularly, as this is an extremely productive time and new images are being posted quite often as I prepare for these upcoming shows. If you see something you particularly like, please contact me via the ‘contact’ page. Let me know if you would like to be notified when new work comes out on the website, and about upcoming shows.
 
 
Thank you for visiting the site, 
 
 
Michael


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