Michael Orwick

MICHAEL ORWICK - I was born in 1975 on a sunny day in Astoria Oregon. Despite my near death experience at birth, my Mom thought I was perfect. My Dad, a physician, knew better. These assessments continue today.

Within days of my recovery, my adventures began. Our small family moved to the Olympic Peninsula to live on the Quinault Indian Reservation as Dad served in the Indian Health Service. Most of my memories from those very early years revolve around an ancient Indian woman known as Gram Black, eating live clams on cold foggy beaches, and our performing circus poodle.

 From there, our family moved to Boise, Idaho, where my parents got me a Golden Retriever who taught me the joy of peeing outside. It was also during this time that my sister, born in Columbia, S.A., was adopted into our family. I give her credit for teaching me patience and proper grooming. 

 At the age of four I became the seventh generation on my mother's side to live in "the town that friendliness built" and the home of the world's largest strawberry shortcake, Lebanon, Oregon. Over the years, my family created an odd animal sanctuary and hobby farm with a revolving cast of colorful creatures to ride, observe, and endlessly scoop up after. My bedroom was in the tack room, which I shared with my youngest sister's goat. To this day, there is no love lost between me and the nasty rooster who cock-a-doodled any old time.

 Very early my parents realized that I had dyslexia and that I saw things differently from most. School was difficult, but in hindsight this was one of many blessings that have helped to shape my artful existence. I was lucky to grow up surrounded by beautiful creeks and evergreen wilderness and within a family that loved to travel, encouraged curiosity, and following one's heart. And my heart has always told me to create.

 I started college at the University of Oregon where, for reasons I cannot now recollect, I majored in business. Two years in and losing interest, I jumped at the chance to move to Australia for half a year, where I filled up sketch pads with drawings and small paintings. The thought of returning to business classes never crossed my mind. I spent the next year a transient, sleeping on friend's couches and beanbag chairs, putting together a portfolio and dating my future wife, a beautiful Bulgarian named Gabriela.  

 Gaby and I started our life together in Portland, Oregon, where I majored in Illustration at Pacific Northwest College of Art. I discovered that oil painting and the method of working from dark to light worked with my ?backwards brain'.  I  immediately took on an internship with Will Vinton Studios (now Laika Studio), But, true to the predictions of my professors, after a few years as an illustrator, my true passion as an oil painter prevailed, and I began my career as a full-time oil painter fifteen years ago. I was blessed with a nearly immediate collector base that found something in my work that resonated with them.  When I was not illustrating books, I found my whimsical images and landscapes to also be very very illustrative. I love creating art that invites you on a journey to form a story and explore your world within.

 Our daughter, a creative and inquisitive fifteen-year-old, has kept me in touch with my perpetual inner child (please see O2 to see work we do together). Throughout my life, I have been lucky to know beauty and comfort, laughter and joy. These are a few of the things I hope to impart through my brushes. I look forward to continuing my adventures, inviting inspiration and beauty into my life, and sharing it with you through my paintings.

 As a native Oregonian, I cannot separate my art from my love of the Pacific Northwest.  The coast, mountains, and meadows, each infused with mysterious light and atmosphere, weave narratives into their settings.  I am inspired to tell their stories with my paint and brush strokes.  Inspiration comes so naturally here.

 I love working on my personal projects for the galleries, as well as on commissioned paintings for clients, whether for private, corporate or civic displays.  I show in 3 amazing galleries.  

 On a typical day, you can find me working in my home studio or outside painting Plein-air in some beautiful location.  I also teach oil painting and give seminars.

 A few years ago my wife, our daughter and I took the year off from "real life" to travel the world.  We visited twenty-one countries and painted with over 500 inspiring children from various orphanages and schools as part of our cause, which we called Studio Everywhere.  This year it is my goal to reflect on that trip and create works of art that celebrate that special chapter in our lives

Martin House Gallery

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