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Michael Newberry

Exploring Art 

Adam and Eve, Idyllwild Home of Christine Hunt. 

Adam and Eve, Christine Hunt Idyllwild Home


Venus thumbnail sketch

Venus Thumbnail Sketch

ink on paper, 3 x 2 inches

I did this concept sketch in about 30 seconds, the final painting is very close to it.

Venus of the Planets

Venus of the Planets

oil on linen, 64 x 48 inches

My first definitive work of 2018 and first venture into Sci-fi. You can read my wordpress essay on how this painting evolved here

Venus in my studio

Venus and Me

The day of the signing

Signed February 6th, 2018 in my Idyllwild studio. 

Kauai Flowers with black background

First work of 2018
Kauai Flowers, oil on panel, 20 x 16 inches.
First painting of 2018. Done in Kauai. The flowers were a table setting from a beautiful New Year's Eve dinner with a few friends. My eye kept returning to the flowers -- not getting enough of the musky colors, the black silk-like space, and the revolving arc of the petals curving from back in space towards us. Like waves of color immersion therapy recharging the soul. Studio inventory.
Studio inventory.


The Sublime

The Key to Our Evolution?

The experience of the sublime is to be looked for in art. Art integrates senses, emotions, and thought. The sublime in art elevates our sensory experience, heightens our emotion and can tap our emotional potential, and furthers our knowledge. The sublime in art can also give us a moral, a stance towards living. At its best, the sublime in art inspires awe in our human potential and gives us a path to evolve as a whole being and as a species.

Definitive Works

Unleased Synergy

When senses, emotions, and thoughts come together.  See more ...


More than Four Decades of Art 

I grew up on the beach in La Jolla, California. Every day starting as an 11-year-old I played tennis during the day and made art at night. Around this time I felt an overpowering sense of evil and spent a brain-wracking night trying to figure out if the source was within me or outside.  Read more ...

Works from 2017

Kauai Clouds 1

Kauai Clouds 1

oil on linen, 24 x 36 inches

These two paintings were my last works of 2017, painted in Kauai between Christmas and New Year's Eve.

Kauai Clouds 2

Kauai Clouds 2

oil on linen, 24 x 36 inches

My first time painting clouds as the subject. The wet air is quite subtle in hue and tone. The feeling of painting them was a little like flying through space without a plane. 

The Journey Home - November 2017

Over 40 pastel landscapes from my journey home. I drove my big paintings to Washington DC for my first solo show there, on the drive back to Idyllwild, CA I drew these pastels landscapes. I will turn a few of them into large paintings.

A decades-old guiding principle for me is to constantly evolve my art either with the idea, method, or emotion. Ideally for large figurative works is to integrate these three things to make something sublime. With smaller works, like these pastels, I focus on fewer things, but still furthering my knowledge and emotional range.

These pastel sketches are exploring method and emotion. Specifically, pastel technique, color harmonies, and the emotions I get from the colors in the landscapes and the colors I create on paper.

Idyllwild Icarus
oil on canvas, 60 x 46 inches

As a young boy, Icarus had dreams that started with flying inside his bedroom, looking down at the two beds and windows. As he got older the flying expanded beyond his walls to far away countries and beautiful places. He learned from the best flyers how they used light and air currents. He became intoxicated with his capacity for flight. The moment he became an adult he flew across the ocean seeking Atlantis. He flew higher and higher without a care for landing. He saw magnificent purple mountains, shimmering towns, green and rust-colored valleys, and cobalt seas. He couldn't find Atlantis so he flew higher still, beyond the stars. Instead of the blustering illuminating light of the sun, he had entered black emptiness, void of life-giving energy. "This won't do," he said. So he turned back to the blue glowing Earth noting that the Sun needs to shine its light on people, land, and seas to give each other meaning. As he returned to Earth he spied a pale shimmering granite outcrop rising up from a pine-covered hollow with a distant arid-colored and peopled valley beyond; he choose to gently land on that peak. He had found his Atlantis, known by some as Idyllwild.

oil on canvas, 36 x 30 inches.

The blush of flesh against a frosted forest.

Tats 1

oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches

What constitutes the movement of energy in a static painting? Color vibrations, forms, or depth? Or all of them?

Tats 2

oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches

Do we not all turn ourselves into artworks?

Tats 3

oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches

Wearing their art on their sleeve.

In the Studio

with the Tats Series

Idyllwild, California

24 x 20 inches, oil on canvas.

Waves of bristles flowing around the neck and chin.

Flow 1, oil on canvas, 20 x 24 inches.

I have learned a great deal from my art student Chan Luu. She is the renowned designer. Abstract realism is something she introduced to me, For an upcoming Fall show at the White Cloud Gallery in Washington, D.C. I am creating a series upclose works.  

Me with the first in the Flow series.

An exciting thing about being an artist is actively engaging in kinesthesia -- transcribing differing senses into visual terms. In this case flow. I think of flowing water, waves or energy moving in currents over time. Painting is static, it freezes a moment, but I like to think I am capturing something of an ongoing movement.

The incomparable Georgie Leahy during our sessions for the Flow series. 

One of the muses for this project is Georgie Leahy, a lovely person inside and out. She is fearless and will go to the ends of the Earth to make art projects come true.

Flow 2, oil on canvas, 20 x 24 inches.

This is the the 2nd completed of the trio. 

Katie Pregnant, oil on linen, 60 x 42 inches.

The model, Katie Bolin, is local to Idyllwild, the land of honey, granite, artists, thinkers, and kind people. She contacted me about making a painting and that she was 8 1/2 months pregnant, and would I be interested? "Yes!" was my reply.

Katie and I discussed beauty and pregnancy, and we came up with this neo-classical pose that reminded me of the Graces from the Renaissance.

Me with Katie Pregnant and Frida in the background.

When she first posed, I noticed a beautiful blushing quality to her skin, and I am most happy with I think I succeeded in getting that in the painting.

Ivan's photo capturing the feeling of working in my studio.

She came with her mate, Ivan Ellirand, a photographer, and he took reference images along with some candid shots in my studio.

Arabesque Series

Arabesque - Female Couple, oil on canvas, 60 x 36 inches

The quietness of listening to a lover's heartbeat beats louder than voices. 

Arabesque - Heterosexual Couple, 48 x 72 inches, oil on linen

Arabesque - Male Couple, oil on canvas, 36 x 60 inches

The touches that form euphoria. 

Sunflowers, WIP, oil, 22 x 28 inches.

What does the sound of the rustling petals look like?

Opening, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 inches

Almost impossible not to thinking of the erotic symbols of an opening the phallic nature of the petals. 

Eye of the Rose, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 inches

A wonderful part of painting is being calmly focused on one brush stroke at a time. A close up of a rose lends itself to this zen-like process. 

Musk, oil on linen, 22 x 28 inches

oil on linen, 22 x 28 inches.
Unfolding layers of delicate petals

Puccini, pencil on paper, 16 x 19 inches.

This drawing came about from a discussion with a friend about how great a composer Puccini is, and he wanted the original oil painting, which is not available and I offered to draw this based on the 1984 painting. The collector said the drawing brought him to tears. My first work of 2017. 

Works from 2015-16

October 19, 2016,
pencil on paper.

Examining those who would lead us by their service.

The Collector
oil on linen, 60 x 50 inches

The moment when a collector feels the sensuality of an artist's work and allows it to enter his consciousness. .

Pink Orchids, oil, 25 x 19 inches

Dancing petals through space leaving shadows behind.

Mountain Daisies, oil, 25 x 19 inches 

Silly and happy blooms.

La Vie en Rose
oil, 25 x 19 inches.

What a difference a blush makes

Adam and Eve
oil on linen, 72 x 92 inches.

What is the initial thing, the spark, that launches an epic love story? A glance? 

Unbearable Lightness of Being
oil on canvas, 36 x 58 inches.

Enveloping release.

oil on canvas, 46 x 42 inches.

Before there was the Origin of the World there was man.

Is art about the surface or should it go beyond and uncover layers of intimacy?

An amusing experience about posting nudes on Facebook is that they can be flagged by disgruntled silly people. Apparently, the French government sued Facebook over censoring Courbet's Origin of the World, a nude female figure with her crotch in the center of the composition, on the grounds that it was one of the greatest paintings of Western culture. So anytime I post a frontal nude I include Origin of the World as a reminder to Facebook censors, and I haven't had a problem since.

This painting is also my take on the male version of Origin of World, a relaxed sensual man awaiting his lover and his crotch in the center of the composition. Art experts have a rule about never placing the point of interest in the center. It is actually a good rule especially for beginners, but on a more advanced level of creating art the artist makes his/her own rules. The main compositional rule I have is to paint interesting shapes in the corners.

A painting is of one moment in time, one that I would like to live with for a lot longer. We live with millions of moments the vast majority of them terribly mundane, and if not mundane they can be unfocused feelings of anger, envy, boredom, and etc. Before I start a major painting like Emerging I rack my brain, emotions, imagination, and memories for what moments are the best of the best. I filter out all the shit, and anything that doesn't rise to the level of exceptional.

Emerging is that moment of heightened positive anticipation of a soon to see lover. An unbearably delicious moment. 

oil on linen, 42 x 36 inches

​Where does identity end and art begin? ​Can you look back at a song, movie, or artwork and think about how that work influenced you, how it helped shape who you are? Those influences rarely manifest themselves explicitly, though with tattoos one turns oneself literally into a work of art.

oil on linen, 28 x 22 inches.

Gaze, intake of bredth, and focus, and focus more.

The Poet
oil on canvas, 42 x 36 inches.

Bridging thousands of years from fragile creations to the future. 

oil on linen, 7 x 6 feet.

From my heart to your ear, from my touch to your thought, where I end and you begin.

oil on linen, 24 x 36 inches.

Interwoven air.

Glass Vases
oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches.

Pulling up lights and marks from the depths to bing against the surfaces of the glass.

Three Jars, an Orb, and a Wood Coconut,
oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches.

We start the race, along the way climb obstacles, getting to know them pretty well, but finish far away with nothing else to bump into.

A Pearl Among Folds
oil, on linen, 3 x 4 feet.

Unfolding details the more we go forward.

Be among my friends to first see newly completed works. 

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