Original Fine Art
Original Fine Art
By the age of seven Michael Gault had declared to his second grade teacher and his family that he would be an artist when he grew up. While other boys his age were playing baseball, Michael was taking drawing lessons. The desire to create and his appreciation of fine art would crescendo through his childhood and teenage years. It wasn’t however, until after his stint in the Navy during the Vietnam era that he was finally able to pursue his dream. In 1972, he was accepted by juried process into the renowned
Kansas City Art Institute.
He began his studies at KCAI in the Foundations Department, experiencing and experimenting with all phases and types of art. It wasn’t however until he was almost 23 and preparing for his second year of studies at KCAI that he would walk into the painting studio and choose that art as his life’s pursuit. Michael's painting classes were under the direction of Wilbur Niewald, head of the painting department, and a childhood prodigy and student of Thomas Hart Benton who had also gotten his degrees from the Kansas City Art Institute. Michael mastered his drawing abilities and developed his color and technique and he spent the next three years painting in the studio and expanding his plein air work. In his senior year at KCAI, Michael's painting classes included studying under Stan Lewis who encouraged him to go big and paint larger, going so far as to provide Michael with a 48 x 72 canvas for a senior project. By graduation he had exhibited in numerous one-man shows in the Kansas City area, and had his large painting, "Reflections Within a Studio's Interior Depicting Light and Space on a Flat Surface" accepted by the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri for inclusion in it’s prestigious “30 Miles of Art” annual art show at the Nelson-Atkins Museum.
After obtaining his BFA in Studio Art from KCAI, Michael continued to pursue his studio career and taught regional workshops. He was accepted, in 1978, by the University of Missouri at Kansas City, to continue his education in studio art, studying under Eric Bransby, a well know Colorado muralist, who also had studied under Thomas Hart Benton at the Kansas City Art Institute earlier in his life, and had also studied under Boardman Robinson and Jean Charlot. Michael's thesis in art “The Missouri Landscape Skies and Highways” was accepted and he was awarded the Master of Arts Degree in 1980.
While teaching studio art and art history at Graceland College in Lamoni, Ia., Michael and his wife started a graphics art business. The business allowed Michael to work and support his family while utilizing his artistic skills. He continued to experiment with various phases of fine art, and to paint and exhibit his work in the limited market the mid-west offered. During this period he was chosen by the Missouri State Historical Society as a National Resource in an effort to bring attention to artists in the region. His work was featured in state periodicals along with artist, Thomas Hart Benton and writer, Mark Twain. A one-man show in the state capital featured the Missouri Landscapes that Michael was known for in the region.
The graphics business continued to grow and Michael continued to teach workshops. He became an expert in computer graphics, a new genre' to the art community and began teaching design and computer classes at Missouri Western State College in St. Joseph Missouri.
The studio remained his primary interest and the painting continued. He continued to show his work regionally and he began to think about a return to the studio on a full-time basis. A vacation to Colorado ignited the desire Michael had as a child to live in the Rocky Mountains, and within the year the Gault’s had purchased land in the Pikes Peak area and were planning to relocate. In 1995, the graphics business was sold, and Michael and his family began the transition to move from the mid-west to Colorado. Their custom home was designed to include a studio, gallery, office and framing/storage area, and Michael immediately began working full-time.
Within a short time Michael was involved with local art groups and began teaching workshops and reconnected with his UMKC professor, Eric Bransby in the Colorado art community and was inspired to create his first mural, a western scene as a commission for a local resident. During this time, he also contracted with the VAPA department at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs and taught studio and art history classes for several years, encouraging students and other individuals to pursue their artistic dreams.
Since the late 1990's, Michael's work has been featured in galleries in Santa Fe, Taos, Vail, Denver, Colorado Springs, Aspen, and Steamboat Springs as well as throughout the mid-west and in Paris, France. In the 2020's, he began exhibiting with organizations and galleries offering on-line and virtual art show opportunities. He has collectors throughout the United States as well as in France, Germany, Korea, Japan, and the Netherlands that own Gault landscapes, still lives, and the occasional portrait as well as non-representative paintings.
In 2007, Michael was commissioned by Slifer Designs of Edwards, CO to supply nearly 200 original oil paintings for The Arrabelle at Vail Square, a new resort being designed and built in the area. The hotel’s design features three of Gault’s paintings in each suite, as well as larger works in the hotel’s common areas. It was a once in a life-time opportunity, as traditionally prints are used for these facilities and not original oil paintings.
His landscapes, still life & non-representational paintings have won awards and he has achieved recognition as a fine artist. Gault’s paintings have regularly been exhibited in numerous juried shows over the years and has been fortunate enough to earn a living doing what he loves. He has been a member of the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters and Oil Painters of America and was a founding member of Pikes Peak Plein Air Painters. He still gets up each morning and goes to his studio, although his focus has expanded to include more non-representation painting. The art itself continues to challenge him 50+ years after his art career began. One of the great things about being an artist Michael believes is that there is no one to force retirement on them, and he intends to take advantage of that facet of the career, and looks forward to painting for the rest of his life.