Michael Colgan 

I am a figurative painter working directly from the subject with no recourse to imagination or flights of fancy. It is the complexity of reality that intrigues me and the inescapable fact that the more you look the more you see! However, I rarely allow my paintings to be brought to a near photographic resolution, preferring instead to allow the struggle in capturing the image to be evident in the mark-making process. This also avoids the anonymity that prevails in photo-realist painting.

Although in my earlier years I painted in oils, nowadays I use acrylics as a painting medium. The quick drying nature of acrylic allows me to make rapid changes without disturbing previously applied layers, as had been the case when working with oils.

I was taught the importance of seeing what is there rather than simply looking by Frank Auerbach when I was a student at Ealing School of Art in London. At the time I came under his influence he was an aspiring young artist just beginning to exhibit at the Beaux Arts Gallery in London. With the passing of his friend Lucian Freud, he became recognised as Britain's foremost artist of the day and has represented this country at the prestigious Venice Biennale.


Although I was trained in Fine Art at Ealing, I worked for many years as a graphic designer until redundancy forced a change in career. After many years of attending the evening classes in life drawing and portraiture at Weston College, the tutor retired and my application to take on her role was accepted.

I gained a Further Education Teaching Certificate and a Post Graduate Certificate of Education which later became requirements for all part-time teachers. During my time at the college, I filled difficult and abandoned teaching and administrative positions; and initiated a private Portrait Group that ran for almost 30 years at several venues in and around Weston.

There was a formal curriculum imposed on the Thursday morning watercolour class I had been teaching for Weston College, which the students wanted to divorce themselves from. They formed the private mixed-media Bleadon Art Group under my tutelage and doubled in number. The group still meets regularly every Thursday morning at Coronation Hall in Bleadon.

I teach several other private art groups in my home studio and other locations. Teaching keeps my brain alert and obliges me to be conversant with a variety of media and different disciplines required by my students.

I gained immense enjoyment from attending courses in ceramics and photography for several years at Weston College although, sadly, my art groups and my own painting leave no time these days for those pursuits.

Over the years I have shown my work jointly and in solo exhibitions in many locations too numerous to remember. Galleries provide us artists with a means of communicating our efforts to a wider audience. This exhibition is a new opportunity for me to see my work in context and for others to study it, discuss and if they are so moved, purchase.