This is a commission for the Oklahoma State Capitol that I have been working on for the past 5 months while teaching full time. In the image below I'm preparing the canvas, with the preliminary 2'x3' painting on the canvas. For a painting this complex I spent quite a bit of time sketching out the many elements while working out the finished composition.
I have been painting my children's portrait since they have been born as a documentary of their childhoods. Now I continue that tradition with my grandchildren. This is a portrait of my granddaughter Eilee. Here we see little Eilee picking out the one that she will take home with her. Below are some images of the painting in progress. This is "pure pleasure". I just start painting with no preparation "All Prima". I lay in the composition with a thin transparent Imprimatura and then build up the values and color on Eilee. I work from the focal point outward. Afterwards I think needs Eilee needs a little help so I quickly lay in a scarecrow. Pure bliss!
I had the distinct honor of being commissioned to paint the family portrait for the Love Country Stores Headquarters. Below are some of the process pictures of the painting.
And there is nothing more rewarding than seeing the smile of a happy customer.
My portrait for James C. Day was dedicated for his induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame on November 21, 2019. Mr. Day is a retired oilman who has served, or is currently serving, on a number of public company's board of directors, including EOG Resources, Inc., Noble Energy, Inc., Tidewater, Inc., Global Industries, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and is a member of the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy Board of Visitors at the University of Oklahoma. He is an honorary board member of the American Petroleum Institute, where he previously served on the Policy Committee and as chairman of the General Membership Committee.
In 2007, Day established the James C. and Teresa K. Day Foundation with a focus on education. Through the foundation and personally, he has been a strong supporter of many Oklahoma endeavors and entities, including the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma History Center, Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, Charles B. Goddard Center for Visual and Performing Arts, Inc., Arcadia Trails, Pond Creek-Hunter High School, and the University of Oklahoma. Day also served as co-chair for the 125th Live On University Campaign for the University of Oklahoma.
Below are some images of the painting in progress. I first create a charcoal study to better inform myself of the structure and personality of Mr. Day. I then create a small color study of the composition, which you see in the last image, as a guide for the final painting.
I am so excited to bring the long awaited fruits of my labor of love to Oklahoma History Center for an exhibition for an extended run to June 2019. I will be hosting an "Artist Talk and Reception" Thursday March 21, 2019 starting at 5:30-7:30. The exhibition consists of the paintings and drawings started at my residency at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel 2 years ago. The paintings represent my admiration of that unique passion that sparks each of us to "Work".
Wow, what an honor, my painting, "Will Work for a Better Future for My Family" part of my series, "Will Work For", was judged to be included in Artist's Magazine worldwide competition and highlighted in the January issue of Southwest Art. Please go out and find a copy :-)
Im very proud of this series and am so happy that the series is finding outlets for expression. Ive recently moved to Savannah, to teach at SCAD Savannah College of Art and Design and have started working on new images from the area.
I was asked to help and be a part of this incredible project to celebrate the win of OU's newest Heisman recipient, Baker Mayfield, for Sooner Sports. It happened quickly. I received a call and asked if I could paint a portrait, while cameras recorded the process, so that it could be mixed with action footage of Mayfield's incredible season. I was excited, and felt it would be a challenge. I arrived at Headington Hall, on the top floor of the OU campus and started setting up my easel and canvas as the cameramen started setting up their equipment. The at around 10;45, I started the process and painted nonstop for about 2 hours until I placed my signature mark in the lower right corner. Not bad for a few hours work.
Click on the image for video.
The "Will Work For" projects is starting to get some legs and some attention. This was a nice article that appeared in the January 22, 2017 Sunday Oklahoman.
Picture Credit by Phi Ngyuen
Original Story written by Mark Beutler for the Ok Gazette Nov. 16, 2016
Mike Wimmer has impressive credentials. More than 40 of the Oklahoma artist’s paintings are on display at the state Capitol. He also has created some of the country’s most iconic pieces of commercial art, including Mr. Clean and the Brawny paper towel guy, and has designed book covers for some of the nation’s top publishers.
Wimmer recently added another prestigious credit to his resume as the newest artist-in-residence at The Skirvin Hilton Oklahoma City, 1 Park Ave.
The yearlong residency allows him to set up shop in the hotel, where he will work on his latest project.
“As a portrait artist, I am a natural observer of people and all of the differences that make us unique,” Wimmer told Oklahoma Gazette. “It is this diversity I want to portray. We have all observed the many people who feel their only way to make ends meet is by standing on street corners, holding cardboard signs saying ‘Will Work for Food.’ I was inspired to ask myself, and then later others, what they would work for. What inspires them as individuals to sacrifice their lives, their labor and their love enough that they will work for it?”
Wimmer said he will use the public window and the Skirvin’s centralized location as the base of operations for gathering his inspiration and research. He will also use the location to create and display his work.
“I want to help bring a visual display of answers to questions we are all asking, like ‘What gives life purpose?’” he said. “I want to contribute as much prominence to each model and each voice as I do to the corporate captains of industry, politicians and noted celebrities I have been commissioned to paint.”
One of his earliest inspirations for this project was a young man from California named Dwayne. Wimmer said he had hired him to do some carpentry work around his house when Wimmer was struck by his facial features.
“We talked a bit, and I learned Dwayne’s story as a former gang member in California,” Wimmer said. “He had moved to Oklahoma to make a new beginning and wanted to work to make a better life for himself and his family. So I showed him with his tool belt attached and holding a sign that says, ‘I will work to build a better life for my family.’ He is a perfect example of what I hope to document and capture in this project.”
The artist-in-residency program is sponsored through the Paseo Arts Association, and a different artist is selected each year.
Wimmer said the downtown location is perfect for his new project.
“The Skirvin is forward-thinking enough and involved in the arts, and they are supplying the studio that faces Broadway,” he said. “It has an open window to the world at street level.”
He’s expecting more interruptions but is looking forward to the interaction.
The diversity of the downtown workforce will make up the bulk of his work, Wimmer said. He hopes to capture all walks of life, from the business people who work in the office towers to blue-collar workers, local celebrities and politicians.
“I will set up a studio with my paints, palettes, canvases and easel so people walking by can observe the creation process,” he said. “And when I’m not there, they can see the paintings and sketches displayed as they are finished as well as some of the selected cardboard signs created during the process.”
When his residency is over, Wimmer said he plans to have an exhibition of the work he has created throughout the year. He might even consider producing a book to accompany the project.
“I have been a great admirer of humanity, with all its diversity, origins and destinations,” he said. “I have been an avid reader of biographies my whole life because of my curiosity. I have often wondered what makes someone a hero. What path did they take, what choice did they make that made them someone we celebrate as worthy of our attention? That is part of the origins of this project. I am very curious what people consider worthy enough, that they would sacrifice their time and labors toward
Print headline: Inquisitive art, Artist Mike Wimmer uses his time as artist-in-residence at The Skirvin to study what drives people.
Mike Wimmer is a portrait artist Living, Teaching and Painting in Savannah, Georgia
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