Well-traveled artist Mike Dettman offers a collection of painterly landscapes that capture a sense of place. Enjoy more of his portfolio by viewing his website.
I was just ten days old when my mother bundled me up in the dead of winter to move us from my birthplace, an Air Force base in Washington, to Alaska. My dad was in the military and had just been transferred. This was just one of the many moves we would make in the years to come.
From Washington to Alaska, Illinois, Arizona, Spain, Nevada and eventually Colorado, the landscapes and climate were always changing. I found comfort in those unsettled times by immersing myself in anything that would help ground me.
Art was one of those anchors. Although I couldn’t pack it with my teddy, it was still mine to carry with me.
During my school years, I loved doing arts and crafts. It was a familiar pastime and allowed me to express myself. It was during that time I realized I wanted to be an artist.
I was initially drawn to sculpture. After quite a few years as a stone sculptor, I realized I was more passionate about painting inspiring landscapes and capturing mood. So I started on a new art journey with oil paints and canvas.
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I discovered that I love to paint in oils and explore landscapes on any scale, from a grand view to more intimate compositions.
For me, creating a landscape painting has to start with a spark of inspiration. It is then followed by exploring color notes, composition, mood and other forms of expression. If I sense that I’m on to a promising painting and the exploring phase is on track, I get both excited and a little anxious. For me, this creative process is very engaging, and the constant discovery of new landscapes inspires my art journey.
I find painting similar to fly fishing—from exploring a likely spot, to deciding what handmade fly to use, and finally, to the practice of catch and release. Both processes seem very much the same! I see my paintings as somewhat like that beautiful native trout I gently let slip back into the water after a moment of admiring its colors and patterns.
Similarly, my paintings are in a process stage until I let them loose. They then move into a life of their own that exists between the viewer and the art.
It’s really about loving a process, recharging my soul, admiring creation right in front of me and experiencing nature from a grateful position.
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