MICHELLE MC CUNE
ARTIST STATEMENT (WILDLIFE SERIES)
Michelle McCune, DVM, is an accomplished wildlife oil painter whose work demonstrates her unique background and represents wild animals with particular care of their individuality and emotional connections while staying true to the aspects of the untamed lands upon which they are found. While exploring her background as a veterinarian and conservationist and following her many travels, her dedication to her cause and genuine originality of her body of work are revealed.
Her passion for conservation was ignited while working in Namibia with the Cheetah Conservation Fund during veterinary school. This combined with her knowledge of anatomy and behavior and quest for learning painting techniques led to the development of her own style using expressive color and adeptly placed brush strokes to capture a meaningful snapshot of each animal, exploring a day in their lives and providing a window into the interactions that occur in nature. Her paintings depict extraordinary animals in wild places which many of us have not had the chance to visit. You cannot help but feel inspired as you enter the world of magnificent creatures portrayed in Dr. McCune’s work.
Using her own photo references and experiences, Dr. Michelle McCune weaves a brilliant landscape in oil paints relishing their vibrancy and buttery texture. She carefully chooses color combinations to create form and vibrancy and infuses colors into subtle shadows. She works from a relatively limited palette of 12 colors consistently from piece to piece making additions and enhancements as needed. She paints on canvas, either cotton or linen. Over time her style has developed to use very little mediums, although she will occasionally use glazes in focal areas for increased depth and color vibrations. Using a combination of flat and round brushes, bristles and synthetic sables, she creates textures that you can feel - soft fur, delicate feathers, dried up mud or even rough tree bark! More than just anatomy and texture, she infuses emotion into every animal. Judges repeatedly praise her use of color, highly developed technical skills and pleasing compositions.
In her work, reality is frozen for a moment of time. We begin to see and understand the animal and how each fits into and participates in their environment. Sometimes there is a feeling of tension, something about to happen, that grabs you. Others pieces generate a mood or feeling beyond the literal subject. While each piece has its own individuality, when taken into the
context of her background as a veterinarian and conservationist, there is additional vitality and significance gained. The combination of her artistic, professional, and personal elements gives her credibility and demonstrates the harmony of her passions.
When awarded best off Show for November 2016 Sedona Art Prize for her piece “Sudan - Facing Extinction”, judge Pat Benincasa said “The imagery is poignantly direct and in its simplicity, very powerful. The subtle modulation of color only adds to the drama of the subject mater. The colors used in the background hover in proximity to the animal and create a retinal duet.”
Dr. McCune’s work gives you the freedom to live with these animals, in their surroundings, even if only in the imagination. It summons feelings often forgotten in the rush of every day lives. It makes you pause. It makes you feel inspired. You can feel her love of nature blended with her love of masterful painting. Always seeking to learn more about our world and about art, she continues to grow and expand. As you view her work, get carried away to these wild places. Let yourself be transported into habitats you might never have imagined where you can almost hear and feel and even smell the surroundings. Be inspired. Think. Realize how important wildlife and the lands upon which they roam are to our world and future generations. Dr. Michelle McCune brought you here, the next step is yours!