Michael Brown is a multi-talented artist based in Fermanagh. With a primary focus on landscapes, Michael works in the post-impressionist tradition, creating contemporary pieces of art inspired by his local surroundings.

Here he speaks to The Impartial Reporter about the range of media he uses, what his printmaking process involves and why he believes first-hand research is “vital.”

JC: What is your artistic background?

MB: I have lived and worked in Fermanagh now for 24 years. Art and Design, and the natural world, havealways been major interests for me. I completed my A-Levels, including Art with Art History, and then went on to study for a Foundation Course in Art and Design at Banbury School of Art, before doing a BA Hons Degree in Bristol, an MA in Leicester and finally a Doctorate at the University of Derby.

JC: What inspires your art?

MB: I am inspired mostly by landscapes. Creating landscape art is all about engaging with the landscape and I think it’s vital to walk that landscape and experience it first-hand. I take a sketch book with me, and do small studies to record the colours and composition of the landscape. I then use these studies to develop final pieces.

JC: What different artistic media/techniques do you use?

MB: I work in a range of media including oils, watercolour and charcoal. Throughout my art education I have always enjoyed the cross over between ‘art’ and ‘design’, which is so apparent in the process of printmaking.

JC: What does your printmaking process involve?

MB: Printmaking is the hand-made creative process of producing an image on one surface (like cutting into wood or lino, or scratching into a metal plate), applying ink, and then impressing the image onto a surface like paper or fabric.

I use a range of printmaking techniques including wood cut, monotype, collagraph, etching and silkscreen. I particularly enjoy monotype printmaking. In this process I apply ink onto a blank metal plate and then work the ink with brushes, rags, cotton wool and other materials until I have created the image.

I then sandwich the metal plate with dampened art paper and hand-wind it through my press. The image is transferred onto the paper, producing a one-off monotype print.

It is a very intuitive, painterly process and it can take a few days of taking impressions on a theme and reworking the ink before I finally get the image I am looking for. Oil painting is a completely different process and experience.

I like to work with an impasto technique, laying on pigment thickly so that the stokes of the palette knife or brush are visible and contribute to the painting.

JC: How would you describe your artistic style?

MB: Whatever the medium, I work in a post-impressionist style. Quite simply, this means that I have no interest in recreating a photograph. Instead, colour and composition dominate. I try to convey the impression and the atmosphere that a landscape evokes.

That’s why engaging with the landscape in all its weathers and moods is really important. I can’t convey an impression without experiencing it first.

Fermanagh, with its mountain uplands, woodlands, wetlands and loughs is a rich source of inspiration. My Fermanagh landscape monotypes are increasingly in demand and in the past few months I’ve sent work to England, Germany, America and The Vatican in Rome.

JC: Where do you exhibit your work?

MB: I exhibit my work in a small number of select venues, including The Devenish Gallery and Hambly and Hambly Gallery, both of which are in Fermanagh.

My work was also exhibited in the last Royal Ulster Academy of Arts show in Belfast. In the coming year I have two major exhibitions planned in partnership with The university of Wales in Aberystwyth, and in Liverpool with John Moore’s University.