Michael Blessing, “A Quiet Contemplation,” oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches

Painting the human figure on canvas allows artists to communicate a broad scope of concepts, ideas, emotions, and much more. It’s a complex and challenging subject, one that painter Michael Blessing has tackled during his current solo exhibition here.

Recently opened at Bozeman, Montana’s Old Main Gallery & Framing, “Allure” is a prolific display of figurative works by painter Michael Blessing. The project is a result of Blessing’s longing to paint figures with a single focus and purpose. “I have painted commissioned portraits for clients across the country and had focused exclusively on figure painting for the first 12 years of my career in the visual arts,” the artist writes. “It is with joy that I return to my artistic roots and have the opportunity to paint a subject I love. The female form is one of God’s most beautiful creations, and what you see here is my committed effort to capture that beauty in a respectful and honest way.”

Michael Blessing, “Butterfly,” oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches
Michael Blessing, “Dame,” oil on canvas, 40 x 16 inches
Michael Blessing, “Ingénue,” oil on canvas, 36 x 24 inches
Michael Blessing, “Nocturne,” oil on canvas, 30 x 15 inches

As evidenced through his work in “Allure,” Blessing is compelled by the shapes within a composition. “Having discovered an initial inclination toward figurative painting, he favors a candid view of his subjects, often depicting unexpected everyday moments and emotions that are universally relevant,” the gallery suggests. “As a kid growing up in mid-20th-century America, brightly lit neon signs often captured his imagination and interest. Michael felt he could combine his love of painting the figure with his love of the nostalgic pull of neon, and his ‘Neon Gunslingers’ series was born. As a rule, Michael is drawn to strong compositions, vibrant color, and bold lines. His figurative work and paintings of vintage Western nostalgia are widely appealing and have an edgy quality that is both contemporary and timeless.”

To learn more, visit Old Main Gallery.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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