Michael Dumas was born and raised in the small town of Whitney, Ontario, located at the eastern borders of Algonquin Park. Exposure and familiarity with the wilderness and it’s creatures are reflected in his art, from childhood to present day. He worked for a time as a ranger in Algonquin and has continued his connection to the Park by accompanying research teams on projects such as the winter bear den census. Michael’s subject matter also includes rural themes and people; the common denominator within all of his art being an intimate connection based on personal experience. Much of Michael’s work expresses the simple harmony of the everyday, often paying tribute to humble subject matter that is frequently ignored or gone unnoticed. These he elevates by skilful painting and beautifully balanced compositions bathed in luminescent light.
Michael’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, including such notable institutions as the National Museum of Canada, The McMichael Collection – Canada, The Leigh-Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, the Slamagundi Club NYC, and Brookgreen Gardens – USA, Suntory Museum of Art, the Imaoka Collection – Japan, Quingdao Lan Wan Gallery of Art – China, The Museum of Art Inspired by Nature – England, and the European Museum of Modern Art (MEAM) – Spain to name but a few.
He is listed in many biographical reference volumes, including Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Canada, Who’s Who in the World, and the International Register of Profiles. His art has also been featured on Canadian postage stamps and commemorative coins produced by the Royal Canadian Mint. Numerous awards include 2 ARC International Salon Dual Category Awards, Artists For Conservation Best of Show and 7 Medals of Excellence, the Marquis Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award, National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society Award of Excellence, Society of Animal Artists President’s Artistic Achievement Award, Peterborough Pathway of Fame, Kawartha Order of the Arts, and most recently, the Algonquin Art Centre Legacy Award.
Noon Day Sun
Looking Out (Eastern Phoebe)
Noon Day Sun
I am very much attracted to things that express the simple harmony of everyday life. Consequently much of what I paint has to do with humble, often overlooked little dramas that come to me unbidden and in the most casual of ways. Because of this there is always something of a surprise in the experience and it contributes a great deal to me wanting to make something of it in painted form. It is as much emotional as it is visual for me. Noon Day Sun is a good example of this.
This Carolina wren was observed at a 17th century historic site on a hot summer’s day. I was struck by two strong and distinct impressions; the intensity of light and shadow from a noon day sun, and the diminutive size of the bird in comparison to the heaviness of the structures around it. The great difficulty of painting this scene had to do with simultaneously balancing the mass of the logs and intricacies of scattered straw without losing the bird as the prime focal point.
For the most part I don’t seek out a specific subject to paint, preferring to let my attention be drawn to things of interest in the most casual of ways. On occasion my own actions will unwittingly produce something provocative enough to find its way into a painting.
‘Faded Blue’ came about in just this way. Early in May I finally got around to taking down a large dead tree on our property. Eventually the trunk was stripped of branches and levered up onto a supporting log so I could cut off sections to be carried away. Once it was finally in position, I decided to take a break and have some lunch, leaving my tools and jacket where I’d been working. When I returned to finish, the sun had moved enough to shift the patterns of light and shadow and this change gave a whole new look to the objects. Such a simple, every- day event, but sufficient to instill in me the desire to translate it in paint.
The red-breasted nuthatch was introduced to break up the large vacant space in the upper right of the painting, and to introduce a sense of movement as contrast to the stationary objects filling up most of the space.