Michael Weller grew up in Winchester. After a lucky escape from librarianship he embarked on life-drawing classes. This led to a second degree in Fine Art printmaking at London Metropolitan University where he achieved a First. From here he went to Lavender Hill Studios, a traditional atelier-style painting school, and has since set up his studio back in Winchester.
Michael draws and paints in a traditional style from life. He was a scholar with the New English Art Club and in 2015 he won both the Winsor & Newton Award and the Le Clerc Fowle Medal for an outstanding group of paintings.
Having started out with more abstract leanings, Michael began to look at ‘abstract relationships within figurative painting.’ Often working on several paintings at the same time, his paintings are now studies in tone.
Exploring his way around his subjects, Michael writes ‘I used to paint a piece of garlic next to a blue cup, over and over, endlessly. Then apples and lemons. Initially the paintings were busier – more apples, five or six. Then some of the apples got painted over. Only three. I’d move them up, move them to the left, move them down. A friend suggested I paint pears, as the colour is quieter. I proceeded with pears for quite a while. Years, in fact. I came across a painting online of a bag of shopping by Jean Cooke. It was gorgeous. Eventually I started a painting on a slightly larger piece of board. I put in a bottle of milk, a packet of coffee, and a pear. The right-hand corner was empty so I added my blue mug.’
The results are calming, absorbing studies in tone, colour and the relationship between objects. They draw the viewer in, encouraging them to look further, closer, rewarding them with every return and in every retelling.
When he’s not at his easel Michael draws a lot. ‘I often think artists’ sketchbooks contain their most interesting work and believe you need to draw (everyday) to grow as a painter.’