Miles Davis on the Malibu beach

This work is done in watersoluble pastels (Neocolor) over a graphite drawing.  The colors are brought alive with a water wash painted on and the size of the work is 9"x12" on "Windpower environmentally responsible paper by Strathmore.  The subject is taken from a photograph from the 1980's when Miles Davis, the great jazz trumpeter, owned a house in Malibu, CA.  Most of my work is jazz oriented. The attraction to this picture is the high contrast created by the sunlight and the beautiful colors of blue in the sky and sea (obvioulsy not realistic).  Overall, the painting is reminiscent of work done by the great contemporary representational artist, Alex Katz, who is an inspiration to me.

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Leonard Michael

About Leonard Michael

I’m an amateur artist who lives in a suburb of Philadelphia PA. Although I was always interested in drawing and painting (mostly landscapes and buildings), I didn’t do any serious art until the late 1990's, when I began painting watercolors. Since 2007, I furthered my investigation into other media. I worked first in oils, then added acrylics in 2008, then pastels (oil and soft) in 2010 and 2011. Although I continue to paint in acrylics and do regular pastel works, in 2012 I focused on water soluble pastels. I’ve created over 40 9"x12" pieces using high contrast colors and well delineated drawings. The end result is a little reminiscent of the work of the great contemporary artist Alex Katz.

The genre I work in is largely portraiture and figure study. Practically all my work has a theme of jazz music and musicians. Many of my paintings have the look of murals (I like to think of them as "murals in miniature"). Street art and jazz go together nicely. Both are spontaneous. All in all, it is the expressiveness, the invention, and the improvisation that make jazz so appealing to me and set it apart from any other art form. My work pays tribute to the men and women who make jazz come alive and make our society better with every note.

Although I am self taught, I have done extensive research into the masters of the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries and the Renaissance, and have studied art history texts, the best of which was "Art Through The Ages". In addition I have read many books on drawing and painting techniques, with the most noteworthy being: "How I Paint" by Breukner, "Color Choices" by Quiller, and "Dynamic Anatomy", "Dynamic Light and Shade", and "Dynamic Figure Drawing" all by (Burne) Hogarth. I even wrote my own treatise on 100 works by Van Gogh and focused on how he achieved astounding results by concentrating on color, composition, and brushwork. I may try to self publish this as a book in the near future and my put some excerpts up on this site as well.  My inspiration comes from Duane Tilghman, a master jazz artist, through his subject matter and Alex Katz, through his values and simplicity of line. Among the great masters, Gauguin, Matisse and the Fauves have taught me color and composition; Van Gogh, brushwork; Manet, Lautrec, Raoul Dufy and Constantin Guys, purity of line and the beauty of drawing; Modigliani the sensuality of line; Rivera, the power of his murals; and Delacroix for all of these attributes all together.  He is my favorite artist.