Inspired by the ocean and sea life, painter Michael Alexander creates dramatic works that reflect his passion. See more of his portfolio on his Facebook page.
My active imagination has had a profound influence on the direction of my life.
Most of the subject matter in my paintings revolves around the ocean and tropical lifestyle. It is surprising to most people that I lived most of my younger life in a small farming town in Kansas.
As a kid, I was always reading and daydreaming about faraway places and adventure. When I was about nine years old, I saw an ad in the back of a comic book that changed my life. It was an ad for “live seahorses”.
I ordered them and when they arrived, I set up a little aquarium in an old Mason jar. I sat in my room for days staring at them and fantasizing about being in the ocean and seeing all the amazing creatures that must be out there.
I started doodling and drawing fish, coral reefs, whales and dolphins—anything I could imagine seemed possible as long as I could draw it.
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As soon as I was old enough to get my scuba diving certification, I started making regular trips to Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean. There I could dive and explore the reefs, all the while documenting my experiences with sketches and paintings of things I was seeing.
By the time I was twenty-five, I had moved to Florida and was selling my art full-time. I believe that having a passion and a love for what you paint makes your art great. I feel that you really need to be inspired by your subject matter to make a painting come to life.
In addition to being able to paint and do what I love every day, I am now also involved with ocean science and research as a board member of the Taras Oceanographic Foundation. This foundation leads field studies of the wild dolphin population along the east coast of Florida. They catalog hundreds of individual dolphins, monitoring their health, migration, new births, water quality and so forth.
Along with my work with the foundation, I get plenty of great photos to use as reference materials for new paintings. I hope through my art I can awaken other kids’ imaginations and get them to become involved directly with earth or ocean conservation.
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