Lansing, MI, September 7-October 27
This story was featured in the September 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art magazine September 2012 print edition here, or purchase the Southwest Art magazine September 2012 digital download here. Or simply click here to subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!
If you walk into Mark Mehaffey’s studio on any given day, you’re likely to see multiple paintings in the works, in different styles and at various stages of completion. “Often I will work on one style or type of painting, then start another, and then a third, flipping back and forth among them,” Mehaffey says.
It’s not that he can’t decide what subjects or style he prefers—he’s just inspired by so many different things that he feels he must paint them simultaneously. “I’ve always had very broad and diverse interests,” he adds.
The artist’s various interests are reflected in his latest body of work on display at Lansing Art Gallery. The show opens with a reception on September 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. and hangs through October 27. Pieces in the show range from abstract to representational in style and feature a wide variety of subject matter.
Mehaffey’s current work also transitions between mediums. About half of his paintings are done in watercolors and the other half in acrylics, which the artist began using more frequently about three years ago. “My first love was transparent watercolor, but I also love the luscious thickness of acrylic,” he says.
Perhaps it was Mehaffey’s 30 years as a public school art teacher in Michigan that influenced his diverse and broad approach to art. “As a teacher you have to know how to work in numerous mediums and styles,” he explains. “The elements of design are the same no matter what you paint—it’s how you use them that matters,” he says.
Immediately after retiring from teaching, Mehaffey began pursuing his passion for painting full time. “As an artist, I try to get emotionally involved with my work and hope it comes across to the viewer,” he says. “Painting is really about ideas and communication.”
Fortunately, Mehaffey has no shortage of ideas for paintings—he is inspired by everything from morning light to human figures to geometric shapes. “I could live three lifetimes and still have more to paint … I’ll die with a paintbrush in my hand,” he says with a laugh. —Lindsay Mitchell
Featured in the September 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art magazine September 2012 digital download
Southwest Art magazine September 2012 print edition
Or click here to subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!
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