Mike trained first of all in Liverpool in the fifties, under such distinguished painters as Arthur
Ballard, Charles Burton and Nicholas Horsfield. In 1984, he was appointed Head of the Deparment of Fine Art at Liverpool.
sixties, Mike trained at the Slade School in London, under the
leadership of Sir William Coldstream, and he trained there under such
major British Contemporary painters as Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff,
Michael Andrews and Euan Uglow. Together these artists set the highest
standards, and exemplified the continuity of the great art of the past
and contemporary practice. The influence of Frank Auerbach is
particularly evident in Mike's work, and like Auerbach, Mike generally,
though not always, works in heavy impasto oil, and his work is sensitive
and carefully planned.
There is no subject that has not at some
time or in some place, attracted his interest. His is not a casual eye,
as he penetrates beneath the surface of things, in search of their
essential character. In these visually and emotionally powerful works of
art, it is clear that Mike revels in the raw energy, the transience and
unpredictability of Nature in all its moods.
He sums up his work in the
following way " It seems to me that Nature should be our teacher,
yet artists rarely use the word these days - cutting-edge scientists
use it all the time to describe their engagement with the incredible
complexity of the world around us. To some, my landscapes might be seen
as less than representational, but I am trying to paint and engage with
my observations and experience of my everyday surroundings. Primarily, I
am fascinated by the rhythms, space and structures of the landscapes I
walk through each day, the interrelationship of land and sky, the
shifting weather, light, tone and colour. I want each painting to be
complete in itself, its own little universe, as near to a microcosm as I
can make it of the forces and structures of the world out there - as
far as I can figure them out, each day bringing its surprises, little
discoveries and realisations. I want the paint to have a life of its
own. Drawing is the first step and the underpinning discipline, what
Ingres called "the probity of art."
Mike has lived in North
Wales for much of his life, first in Bethesda (next door to the
world-class artist, Peter Prendergast) and since the late 70's on
In 1991, Mike was appointed Professor Emeritus of Fine
Art, Visiting Lecturer and Examiner to various Art Schools, including
the Royal Academy and the Slade School, University College, London. He
has recently completed an important commission for The Hong Kong
Advanced Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Studies.