Mike Callahan // @mikecallahanart
Award winning artist Mike Callahan is a fourth generation Nevada native. He counts himself privileged to have grown up in one of the most beautiful places on earth, the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains near Reno, Nevada where he still lives today.
Says Mike, “The topography of the area in which I live is simply phenomenal; one can go from the high desert to mountainous alpine settings in less than an hour. It is this beautiful and varied landscape that ends up being the subject for a vast majority of my paintings.”
However, looking through the paintings on Mike’s website, one will quickly see that the Sierra landscape isn’t the only subject Mike typically paints. He also enjoys painting Western themes as well as figurative and portraits.
There is also a great color harmony throughout Mike’s paintings. While the colors in his paintings run the full spectrum of color seen in nature, harmony is maintained by him limiting himself to only three colors plus white on his palette. Instead of referring to this as a limited palette, Mike thinks of it as an unlimited palette as he has not found any color he desires to use that he can’t create from those primary colors.
Mike’s work has been featured in numerous solo, group, and juried shows including the 54th and 56th Juried Exhibitions at the Haggin Museum in Stockton, California, the Oil Painters of America’s National Juried Show of Traditional Oils 2008, and the National Oil and Acrylic Painter’s Best of America Juried Exhibition 2009 and 2010. Mike has won recognition and awards in each of the aforementioned shows.
“How dull might the world be without clouds and mountains and trees? How utterly drab without people, animals, lakes and streams? And how lifeless the walls that surround us without paintings of such things to take their places when we can’t immediately go and see them?
“I am compelled to paint such things; inspiring things that evoke memories or spark the imagination keeping the insipid well at bay…
“I have been drawing and painting since my early childhood. My family has always been supportive of my art so I was encouraged to draw and paint growing up. I had some painting lessons as a child and a small amount of training as a young adult, but for the most part I am self-taught – that is to say I have taught myself by studying the work of masters of the craft both living and past. That discipline of study has proven invaluable to me as a painter and I shall continue in that course for the rest of my life.
“Each painting I do is an extension of myself. There is something nagging at me on the inside that just has to come out and be put down on the canvas – something that’s more than you could photograph, more than you could even manipulate digitally. If I can’t paint I get antsy.
“Painting is an amazing thing. A good painting has the ability to arrest a viewer’s attention and hold it for a while. Like a good book, a good painting can transport you elsewhere. I try to make each painting dramatic, not the cheesy kind of dramatic, but the awe inspiring dramatic that makes you want to stop and look twice. I try to make my landscapes somewhere you want to be.
“Each painting is also a growth piece; I’m continually striving and attempting to grow. Where I want to be as a painter always seems to be ten paces ahead of where I currently am. I suspect it will be like this ‘til I’m too old to hold a brush. I paint practically every day. Life for me is best that way.” – Mike Callahan