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Painting from Life: Michael Neilson 

September 2 - November 8, 2015

As a child growing up in Utah, Idaho, and Oregon, Michael Neilson was never far from the outdoors, a love of which is evident in his painting today. Nature and everyday life continue to be a source of inspiration for Neilson, whose subjects often include street scenes, flowers, and parks. His artwork calls upon bold use of color to describe light and atmosphere.


While studying at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Neilson often visited the Art Institute, where he drew influence from the works of Sargent, Monet, Pissaro, Zorn, Sorolla, Turner, and Benson. American Academy of Art instructor Irving Shapiro introduced Neilson to watercolor and the brilliance of light that could be achieved with the medium. Another influence from Neilson’s time in Chicago was renowned American painter Richard Schmid, who emphasized the importance of painting from life

Neilson currently lives with his wife in Milwaukee where he continues to work with both oil and watercolor. For many years he has taught workshops across several states, including sessions on landscape, portraiture, and still life.  

Artist’s Statement: Painting is for me, an attempt to capture the incredible thrill I feel as I observe nature and the world around me. I try to balance the shapes and patterns I see with the elegant color and light I observe in my everyday life.

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