Emerging Artists | Mike Wise

Stirring the soul

Mike Wise, Carmelo Courtyard, oil, 14 x 18.

Mike Wise, Carmelo Courtyard, oil, 14 x 18.

This story was featured in the January 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art January 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

In his former life, Mike Wise worked in the financial industry as a stockbroker. One day a friend invited him to an art show. He recalls studying the landscape and wildlife works on display and thinking, “That looks fun. I can do that.”

For the next decade or so, Wise spent his free time learning to paint until he was ready to trade in his day job for a full-time career in fine art. Miles of canvas later, awards and invitations to prestigious shows started to follow. In 2014 Wise participated in 13 shows, including prestigious national juried events such as the American Impressionist Society’s annual show, the Oil Painters of America’s National Juried Exhibition, and the OPA’s Western Regional Exhibition.

When it comes to subject matter, Wise finds inspiration not far from his front door on Whidbey Island, WA, and amid the scenic Pacific Northwest landscape as well as across the West, from the Rocky Mountains to the California coastline. His loose, sculptural brush strokes capture the movement and the subtleties of a scene. Wise steers away from grand, panoramic views, preferring close-up and personal views of Mother Nature. “I like to find the intimate, often overlooked slices of nature—the edge of a lake scattered with water lilies, the simple balance of an aspen grove, the color of sand in a swelling wave,” Wise says.

His goal is to produce a painting that stirs a person’s soul, if only for an instant. “What I don’t want to produce is a painting that causes the viewer to say, ‘So what?’” he says. “I paint to evoke an element of curiosity, memory, comfort, and unease, but not necessarily all at once. If I am successful, the viewer will be drawn in to what he or she is looking at and be moved by it.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff

Cole Gallery, Edmonds, WA; Fredericksburg Art Gallery, Fredericksburg, TX.

Featured in the January 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art January 2015 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

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