AQM Presents ArtQuench Gallery Artist
Award winning artist Michael Dumas shares his story and inspires us with his beautiful nature paintings that show so much more than it’s subject matter.
“Inspiration inevitably comes from direct experience where the observations of real life and internal responses unite.”
Beyond the obvious of being born in the first place, perhaps the biggest influence on anyone is where you find yourself as a result of that event. For me it meant wakening as part of a family where I had two older sisters, and in time, a younger brother. My mother and father came from families that homesteaded the raw land near Ontario’s Algonquin Park; and while it might seem a distant thing from a 21st century viewpoint, the lifestyle I grew up in was very much connected to what the surrounding wilderness offered and allowed.
I had a naturally shy and introspective personality and I was always quite comfortable in spending long periods of time alone. I would invest countless hours exploring the bush that grew wild right up to our property, and was constantly drawing. When I exhausted the supply of available paper I resorted to using scrap cardboard and pieces of wood from my grandfather’s shop.
My first job was as a ranger in Algonquin’s interior, traveling by canoe from early spring when the ice finally left the lakes, all the way into autumn with its frosty nights and turning leaves.
I feel that all of this, both the beautiful and the sometimes hard and threatening, is still held deeply within me. It is the stuff of inspiration and a foundation for my view of things.
I attended Humber College of Art in Toronto and met Lewis Parker, a master artist who taught there for a short time. He was wonderfully skilled at drawing, and this meshed so well with my own love of that practice. I eventually served an apprenticeship at his downtown Toronto studio. The very idea of apprenticing is something that seems so much a long gone practice, but I feel my art progressed more in that year than it did the previous four in school.
For a while I worked at a small advertising agency, and an educational book publisher, before meeting Edwin Matthews who acted as an agent for my paintings. This relationship was mutually beneficial for many years, as was the one with Yutaka Okusa who sold the majority of my work in Japan for over a decade until his untimely passing in 2003.
The introspective nature of my art has only increased over the years and I find myself painting only those things that truly interest me. Inspiration inevitably comes from direct experience where the observations of real life and internal responses unite. What I paint is most often a direct result of finding a sympathetic kinship with even the most commonplace and everyday goings on of life. It celebrates that which is likely to be ignored, overlooked, or just plain lost in the peripheral of busy human concerns. I instinctively respond to such things, because in them I sense something that is most profound. It is there to be discovered in even the simplest act of being.
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