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All Dressed Up

Usually after I do a “heavy” painting I take time out to do something fun and light. So, not wanting to stray from a system that works, I did just that. This mask is from Hawaii – picked up by my brother, Duane ,while he was stationed at Pearl Harbor. The “bling” around it are leis picked up by my son Eric last year on his return from camping under the stars in Hawaii (Man! I never got to camp in Hawaii when I was in Boy Scouts!). The mask and leis hang together on the dining room wall in our home and have been daring me to paint them for several months. I finally accepted that dare.

I went back to the palette knife in applying the paint. No brushwork was introduced until I signed it. I explored a color range I’ve not used in a while, keeping it earthy while warming it up with some light reds and oranges. As I look around my studio I realize I’ve never had this much “pink” in any of my mask paintings. I guess I subconsciously felt the need to explore my feminine side… Uh oh, I need football season to start soon…

As I look at this “lady” I can’t help but think she’s all dressed up with “Nowhere to Go”. Hope you enjoy…

Nowhere to Go – 16″x12″ – Acrylic on Canvas – Completed 7-26-09

©2009, Don Michael, Jr.



In Remembrance

Posted by Don Michael, Jr. on July 20th, 2009 in Mask Paintings

This painting is dedicated to the memory of my Grandmother, Edith Lillian Creech Michael. No single person had a bigger impact on who I am today. She was truly the lighthouse in the midst of the storm that was my young life. I am eternally grateful that God chose to put me in a position to spend quality time with her during my formative years. Without that bit of “Providence” I’m not sure I would be around today.

The ‘mask’ portrayed in this painting is actually the ceramic head of the doll my Grandmother played with as a child. My aunt recently sent me photos of this doll’s head thinking I may want to use it in one of my paintings. Boy, was she right! As soon as I saw the photos my mind began working on what the composition would be. I wanted to somehow reference my relationship with Granny while paying tribute to her memory. The creation of this painting was bittersweet in that the whole time I was focussing on this wonderful woman and what she meant to me I was missing her tremendously. Granny has been gone 14 years now, but rarely a day goes by that I don’t think of her. Thank you, Aunt Betty…

Providence – 30″x24″ – Acrylic on canvas – Completed 7-19-09

©2009, Don Michael, Jr.



Summer Fun

Posted by Don Michael, Jr. on July 13th, 2009 in Mask Paintings

I decided it was time to paint with no preconceived ideas or concepts. I just wanted to have some fun while experimenting with color and texture. So, that’s exactly what I did with this painting. I textured my canvas with modeling paste, many crazy colors and a palette knife. After creating this bed of chaos I laid in my darks with the palette knife followed by many hours of scrubbing and blotting in color with my bristle brushes. My color palette consisted of Liquitex’s Mars Yellow, Phthalocyanine Blue, Pyrelene Red, Brilliant Purple and Titanium White. The subject matter is from Bogata, Colombia.

As always, when I paint I’m listening to good music from pretty much any genre (except Country & Western – sorry C/W fans, I came of age in Oklahoma during Urban Cowboy days – way too much of a good thing!). On this painting I listened to some Stan Getz, some ABBA, some Van Halen, some Buckcherry and some Audioslave to name a few. As I was listening to Audioslave the line “Ready to begin” in the chorus of “Show Me How to Live” jumped out at me and I knew I had the title for this one. What does that mean? Well, you tell me…  BTW, this is the second painting I’ve titled after a line from Audioslave’s music. I must really like Chris Cornell’s writing.

Ready to Begin – 24″x20″ – Acrylic on canvas – Completed 7-12-09

©2009, Don Michael, Jr.



Time Pushes On

Posted by Don Michael, Jr. on July 6th, 2009 in Mask Paintings

I’ve been in a reflective mood of late and cannot believe how quickly time has flown by. My oldest child, seemingly born just a couple weeks ago, can now legally have a beer with his dad. My middle child is learning to drive and my ‘baby girl’ is heading to Jr. High. I was recently looking for a particular family photo and in the process of the search ended up spending HOURS looking at photos of my little ones – when they were actually little. Needless to say I felt quite nostalgic and a bit melancholy by the time I found the photo I was looking for…

These melancholy thoughts were still on my mind as I designed my latest painting. This mask has hair that flows forward from its face which gives it a sense of movement. I wanted to emphasize this movement and thought of a river or stream flowing by. Once I started adding the water element it was feeling too calm – nowhere near the emotion I was going for – and I felt it needed more energy. So, I decided I needed a wave crashing over. Once I incorporated the wave with the mask I knew I was onto something and thus “Destiny” was born. This looks like I feel… Life keeps pushing me forward, washing over me and keeping me moving towards whatever lies ahead.  That’s not a bad thing. It’s just the way it is – although it would be nice if it would slow down a bit.

Destiny – 24″x30″ – Acrylic on Canvas – Completed 7/5/09

©2009, Don Michael, Jr.





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