How does vocal music relate to painting? For Michael Gillespie, the comparison is easy. The beauty of tone in the human voice and the composer’s or singer’s expression of feeling in performing a piece of music is not so different from a painter or sculptor expressing beauty, pain, or sadness in a visual way.
Michael first studied music, specifically the art song and choral music. After being employed as a church musician for while, he wanted to also develop his drawing skills, which had been put on a shelf. He obtained an additional degree in visual art, and worked as an illustrator for several years specializing in the medium of pastel. As he developed his skills with oils, he began to do more portraits and plein air (on-site) paintings.
His current work focuses on portrait and figurative paintings and plein air paintings in oil and pastel. The content or feelings evoked by music are sometimes the impetus for a painting: His oil “When David Heard” was inspired by Eric Whitacre’s moving choral work by the same name.
He has entered many competitions, resulting in being included in some prestigious shows, and winning awards in others. He has also recently studied classical realism approaches to painting, and continues to improve and grow as a painter and artist.
Portrait commissions have been an important part of my work, but other subjects occupy a considerable amount of my painting time. I consider myself a realist, solidly grounded in realism but tending toward an impressionist approach in some instances, especially when using pastels or watercolors. Most of my work is done in pastels and oils, but I have recently begun to become re-acquainted with watercolors. In most of my paintings, I am attracted to color both subtle and bold, and in the moods that light and shadow create. I am interested in historic buildings lit by the sun as if on a stage, the textures and earthy colors of their walls, and the way those colors contrast with the blue Texas sky. I have spent most of my life in small Texas towns, driving through many others, and feel compelled to express in paint what I find interesting about them.
I prefer doing small plein air (onsite) paintings, but also work from my own photographs and studies in the studio for larger paintings. I love the versatility and precise brushwork afforded by oil paints. I use pastels or watercolors when I want greater spontaneity, or a more impressionistic, colorful approach, where detail may not be so important.
I do some still lifes, and am beginning to explore figure painting, emphasizing structure and form as revealed by light and shadow.
Phone: +1 (214) 509-9230