Monday, June 10, 2019

Michael Atkinson – American artist by Kaye Spencer #westernfictioneers #americanartist

In the early 1990s on one of my visits home to Fort Morgan, Colorado from where I’d moved to take a teaching position in the southeastern corner of the state (a 500-mile round trip), I stopped in Limon at a convenience store/souvenir shop. The shop had a bin of posters and prints that you could flip through. This is where I came across my first Michael Atkinson painting. I was immediately enthralled, captivated, and in love with Atkinson’s work. (The images I'm sharing are prints I've purchased.)

'Western Majestic' - Michael Atkinson
'Unknown Title' by Michael Atkinson

'Pueblo Sentinel' ceramic tile by Michael Atkinson

For the next several years, I checked that same shop for Atkinson prints every time I passed through Limon. I also looked in shopping malls, other souvenir shops, second hand stores, etc. Every time I found an Atkinson, I thought I had a treasure. It mattered not at all that the prints I bought weren’t originals or even expensive. Keep in mind, this was just as the Internet launched (1991), and years before eBay (1995) and Amazon (1994) started and it took these venues a few more years to gain their current popularity and convenience for finding what you want at the click of a few keyboard keys.

'Emerald Lake' by Michael Atkinson

L-R: 'Scouting Party' | 'Unknown Title' | Mountain Reflections
by Michael Atkinson

Upper Left to Right then Below:
'Spring Rider' | 'Thunderstorm' | 'Crystal Cliffs'
by Michael Atkinson

'Unknown Title' by Michael Atkinson

So, who is Michael Atkinson? He is a painter and sculptor, but beyond that, an Internet search produces scant information about him. These two websites, and, offer a tiny bit about him.

From his Smoky Ridge studio in Texas, Atkinson seeks to capture the emotion, be it subtle or exaggerated, a pursuit that has been in evolution since he started painting as a child in the northwest Texas town of Lubbock. Attracted early to the study of architecture, he earned a degree from Texas Tech University, then taught and worked in the field for a time. From the first, his art, prints and posters have reflected his training, experience, and wide-ranging interests, as he creates images buildings, oceanscapes, animals, and Southwestern landscapes through a unique, semi-abstract style and a mastery of watercolors, spontaneity, and freedom. White space is an essential element of the composition that characterizes Atkinson's art, prints and posters. The white is not empty. It is completely finished. Treating the paper as an element of design, the artist works from one concentrated area of detail and color, leaving much of the paper white and allowing the eye to focus on the central image without intrusion from the periphery.

The other source of information I have is this paper that is attached to the backs of several of my prints. There is a reference to ‘seven years ago’, but there isn’t a year listed, so there’s no point of reference. You’ll notice this information is stamped with Diversified Art, Inc., Tucson Arizona, but an Internet search didn’t reveal much about this organization.

I have a Pinterest board of Michael Atkinson’s artwork, and these few prints hanging on my living room walls are enough.

Kaye’s Michael Atkinson Pinterest board:

Are you familiar with Michael Atkinson’s works? 

I’ve labeled three of the pictures as “Untitled”, because the prints lack titles. I haven’t found them on the Internet, either. But I’ll continue to search. That’s part of the enjoyment of having a reason to browse through Michael Atkinson’s art.

Until next time,

Kaye Spencer

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  1. Grat work by a western artist. thanks for posting. I'll look up the this place while I'm in Tucson for the WWA Cnf.

  2. Frank,

    I hope you get to visit the gallery. It would be wonderful to see more of his paintings in 'real life'.

  3. I just found a "Western Majestic" on ceramic tile. Also says this on the bottom:


    Cool piece for my antique booth!

  4. I have an original 1998 commissioned art painting by Michael Atkinson and, while I have the sales receipt from his (then) Santa Fe gallery, I need a COA. Does anyone know where he's living now?
    Charnell Havens

  5. Circa 1991 I was in a gallery in Santa Fe and saw Atkinson’s work for the 1st time. I bought a signed print which today hangs in my living room above the sofa.
    What really captivated me however was a large, short, wide original on display for sale watercolor of I think a canyon scene with much reds,oranges etc. long enough to display above a sofa. At the time I was told that it was available as the original only and would never be offered as a print.
    I can’t remember the name of the piece, only a fuzzy recollection of the subject and approximate date it was available. I know this is a long shot but hoping to find more info about it and perhaps a photo and title name. Thanks, Jim