South Island Memories | A Photo Realist Landscape Painting in Pastel

Congratulations to Michael Sass, who is our March 2013 Artist of the Month. His pastel landscape painting, South Island Memories, was a finalist in The Artist’s Magazine‘s 29th Annual Art Competition. “I’m always on the lookout for that beautiful scene that stimulates and visually excites me,” says Sass. “We were touring around our beautiful South Island, where God graced us with an idyllic and perfect day with no wind, when we came upon this scene that I painted in South Island Memories. I just knew I had to paint it. Kathy, who’s my wife and inspiration, convinced me to stop, take it all in and record it all in my camera and memory.”

Pastel Landscape Painting by Michael Sass

South Island Memories (pastel) by Michael Sass

Michael Sass, Photo Realist Painter

I had a lifelong desire to take up art when I retired in 1998 because I had shown a lot of talent and promise as a young boy growing up. I won my school’s art prize in year 8 but, due to the school’s curriculum, I wasn’t able to pursue art as a subject. When I retired, my wife, Kathy, gave me a gift of a week’s course with Dale Elliot, well-known South African artist. From there I took many other art courses and developed my own style over a few years.

Art is a hobby of mine and if I sell any piece in a selected exhibition, it’s a nice bonus. To create extra exposure and added value I sell prints through a small gallery I established in an old cargo shed. I love speaking to people about my work, especially the overseas tourists from the 100 or so cruise ships that visit us in New Zealand during the summer months.

I prefer to work on a sanded Art Spectrum Colourfix Board (38×26). I choose one of their standard warm or cool colors that would complement the scene. My work is well planned: I work from photographs and may grid up a photo if the support is too big. Once I’ve drawn in all the large shapes, I ignore the grids and tackle the painting. I work from top to bottom and from left to right. Depending on the complexity of the scene, a painting can take up to 80 hours to complete. As my painting develops, I keep the colors in a tray to complete a balanced and tonal-valued painting. I make my own frames, so having the equipment allows me to make up pastel supports to any size to look like a canvas. Doing a pastel in this way makes it look as if the picture is floating.

I draw my inspiration from the beauty that this world has to offer and the magnificent works of John Constable, Dale Elliot, Tim Wilson, Kirk Munro and Jonathan White.

I’d like to thank Kathy and our daughters, Tracey and Carron, who have stood by me and given me all the encouragement and support a man could ever wish for. I’d also like to thank two of my South African artist friends, Dale Elliot and Paul Botes, for showing me the way to paint oils and pastels.

Artists of the Month are chosen from the list of finalists of The Artist Magazine’s Annual Art Competition. Enter your best work today for your chance to be featured in print and online.



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