About Mike Hill
Realism with an Attitude!
I began painting as a child. My mother would give me pictures to copy, not trace. She would draw wedding cakes, high heel shoes, couples dancing and never a car or truck. She had been a commercial artist in San Francisco in the thirties and never stopped encouraging me to stay in the arts. My two brothers were so much better at sports that I noticed early on that my gift would be behind a paint brush. I continued my art training through Lincoln High School in Portland and after graduation I went to California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco to study for a career in commercial art. After art college I returned to Portland to pursue the art of dentistry. I’ve been a dentist for almost forty years in Gresham, Oregon. I love dentistry, but I’m mostly retired. I practice dentistry a little, yet I hope to keep painting until I can no longer hold a brush.
I originally chose watercolor because I perceived the difficulty of handling the medium as a challenge. I believed that watercolor didn’t allow for many mistakes and for the most part you don’t use opaque whites. I’ve been painting seriously for about twelve years now and watercolor is so much more than worrying about mistakes and opaques. I now do watercolor because I love the translucency and the vitality of the medium and the satisfaction it gives me, gives my friends, my collectors and family.
I paint realism and love the ability to enhance what I see with an emphasis on color and light. I like to think of my work as realism with an attitude. You will see colors that might not really be so vivid in real life, contrasts that will be more pronounced, and people and things added that might tell a better story. I appear in many of my paintings, not as a gimmick, but because many times I feel like I am part of the scene.
Each painting has within it a different challenge and its own excitement. Some of my favorite subjects are automobiles, street scenes, special moments, and special people.
As an artist you can see the nuances and the nostalgia that a scene might bring. You see under around and through the subjects, you love the absence as well as the presence of objects. Life is precious and even more precious when you can recreate it on paper.