Kevin Barton working on location at Grand Hotel, on Mackinac Island, where the 1980 classic, “Somewhere in Time” was filmed

How do you find inspiration?
Kevin Barton: I love this question as the answer is simple for me. I could never get to it all. In Michigan the nice weather for plein air is May-October. First the orchards are in bloom, then lilacs, lavender, sunflowers and finally fall color.

I paint every day when not at a show or event. I settle into a rhythm as I travel around Northern MI to different towns and cities. Architecture is another favorite subject, which means painting around crowds. So the rhythm tends to be painting in busy places and then out to the fields as much as I can for some peace.

What a day at the beach is for some people, painting alone on a sunny day in a field is for me.

However crowded it is on Mackinac Island, it is a favorite place to find inspiration. There are no cars, only walking, biking or horses. We miss so many sights zipping around in cars. I have painted there regularly for 20+ years, yet because of walking everywhere, I still will turn a corner, see a different light and, just like that, a painting idea is born.

To see more of Kevin’s work, visit:

oil painting of building with trees and bushes in foreground
Kevin Barton, “June at Grand Hotel,” 20×24 in., oil on Mahogany, plein air 2023. Final piece from the photo of the artist at work
oil painting of hay barrels
Kevin Barton, “Bales at Burnt Marshmallow Brewery,” 24×36 in., Oil on Mahogany, plein air 2022. A newly discovered farm in Petoskey, where the artists resides


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