Mike Brouse’s joyful passion for painting is immediately apparent in both his elegant studio and in his friendly, enthusiastic conversation. Radiant impressionistic landscapes and animal portraits fill the walls of his North Boulder home’s renovated garage, warmly inviting the visitor to come in and linger in this cozy home studio.
While Mike is especially drawn to landscape painting, which incorporates his enjoyment of nature, outdoor recreation and plein-air painting, he also paints still lifes, architecture, and figurative work, including pets. His vivid and sensitive pet portraits give him special satisfaction to create on commission, as cherished mementos for pet owners. “My goal is for the animals to be expressive and communicative, and for there to be a sense of movement – as if they could get up and walk away.” Mike isn’t shy about talking about some of his “secrets” for creating his animated portraits. “I focus on brush movement, mixing cool with warm colors – which creates a push-pull ‘dance’ for the eye, and I use tiny dots of red and blue in the eyes and nose.”
Mike has been developing his artistic talent most of his life. At the vocational technical high school Mike attended, in Central Pennsylvania, he was a fixture in the drafting department, spending several hours a day drafting plans for projects in the wood, metal and auto shops. His early career in drafting led to a degree in mechanical engineering from Penn State and several satisfying drafting jobs for major companies. Then, in the 1990s, the drafting profession changed radically with computer technology, and Mike found himself missing the artistry of drawing. It was then that he began to seriously teach himself to paint, allowing his artistic expression to expand beyond what had primarily been, up to that point, a vacation pastime.
Some of Mike’s primary painting influences are Russian painter Sergei Bongart, and two painters in the lineage of Bongart and Russian Impressionism -- German painter Guido Frick, and Colorado artist Don Sahli. Mike has lived by Bongart’s counsel, "Train yourself: It is not by accident an artist becomes a good painter. "
Mike welcomes visitors to his home studio every year during Boulder Open Studios, and sharing his passion for painting, Mike says, “I really love to hear what people have to say about my paintings. It gives me fresh perspective and ideas. I like to experiment and try new things in an effort to keep my work fresh, evolving, and continue to push and grow as an artist. ”
Mike’s oil paintings are currently exhibiting at the award winning Creative Framing Gallery in Louisville, Co, and at The Fine Art & Frame Co. in Fort Collins (http://www.thefineartandframecompany.com) Mike also exhibits at Faustina's Gallery in Lewisburg, Pa. too because he says "it keeps me connected to the place where I grew up, and I love that."
About my family history in central Pa. –
My great uncle Marlin Thomas has written several books about our family. The first one I'll mention is the most recent book titled: Looking Thru Lewey's Lens (100 years ago) ISBN: 978-1-4276-4670-5 It features my great grandfather Lewey's professional photography from that era taken with his 1903 Century Grand view camera with adjustable focus and exposure. His talent for composition and great photos using the tools he had at the time are amazing. A second book titled: Lewey and Mary Ellen: Moving On is a compelling story of my great grandfather's family in the early 1900's as they moved from farm to farm and their life experiences including having four son's participating in WWII simultaneously.