Boulder artist Mike Brouse creates what he calls “bold modern art.”
Others might call it “expressionistic or abstracted,” he says. To keep developing as a painter, Mike enjoys pushing limits and isn’t afraid to take risks or try new approaches. “The evolution of my art is particularly important to me,” he says. His latest works are about simplifying architectural and landscape shapes to create a mood by using soft edges and subtle color. “This direction has boundless possibilities. It feels fresh, like I am just getting started.”
H+G: Please describe your artistic style and your preferred medium.
Mike: I call it ‘bold modern art,’ but if I were to label it, it is expressionistic oil painting. I try to evoke a feeling or mood with every painting, even in the pet portraits I do. I want the viewer to feel my painting. I want it to be visually interesting, and if I’m really lucky the painting is provoking, causing the viewer to feel, think and fill in his or her own details.
H+G: What is your favorite thing about creating art?
Mike: The freedom (no rules) to express myself in my private studio oasis (my garage studio). I am also an engineer, and have worked in corporate America for 45 years. My studio is my empowering happy place, where I call all the shots and make all the decisions.
H+G: What is your greatest challenge about creating art?
Mike: I’m lucky that my creative well is very deep. The creative part is fairly easy for me. I have so many paintings that I still need to do in this life; there seems to be no end to it! I literally manufacture paintings. I love the challenge of making each one special and unique. The never-ending challenge for me is finding homes for all my work.
H+G: What inspires you?
Mike: Being outside in nature refills my cup. I try to go out and walk and exercise each day in almost any weather. I take in all the sights and sounds of this beautiful, dramatic place where we live.
H+G: What terrifies you?
Mike: Nobody has ever asked me that before. I still manage to ski a bit, so a steep bump run is a little scary these days. In the big picture, climate change is genuinely concerning.
H+G: Why are you drawn to oil painting?
Mike: As a boy—and even now—I really admired Vincent van Gogh and all the impressionists. I’ve had the opportunity to visit many great museums all over the world, and it is always oil painting that intrigues and inspires me.
H+G: What artists do you admire?
Mike: Any painter who has broken boundaries is inspiring to me: Wolf Kahn, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko and so many more. One of my favorite artists, who was mostly known for his drippy, wet watercolor paintings, died just last year—Charles Reid. He was an extraordinary painter—oil and watercolor—and a very generous teacher. I learned the basics of color and approach to painting from his books and videos. I’ve told many people who want to start making paintings to study CR.
H+G: What is your favorite pastime?
Mike: Walking, hiking, biking—and the occasional skiing and snowshoeing—recharges my battery.
H+G: What do you want your art to say?
Mike: I’ll quote Vincent: “I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say, ‘He feels deeply, he feels tenderly.’”
View Mike’s latest works at Creative Framing Art Gallery in Louisville. He has a three-month exhibit in 2021 from March through May at Osmosis Art Gallery in Niwot. He also works one-on-one with clients on custom paintings and commissions, including sensitive pet portraits. Visit him online at mikebrouse.com.