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‘Artist naturalist’ featured in story

This piece of art by Northern Michigan University alumnus Mike Sherman is featured in a Second Wave Media story. Sherman was an illustration major at NMU. (Photo courtesy of NMU)

MARQUETTE — A car accident motivated Upper Peninsula native and Northern Michigan University alumnus Mike Sherman to refocus on his art, which he had honed as an illustration major at NMU.

The self-described “artist naturalist” creates vibrant watercolors and detailed drawings that often combine his love of nature with nostalgic structures such as an old building or barn.

Sherman, who earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1983 and a master of arts degree in 1989, pursues art on the side of his full-time job in Mount Pleasant, according to a Second Wave Media feature story. He is applying his NMU master’s degree in agency counseling as a counselor for Michigan Rehabilitation Services.

Sherman told Second Wave Media that it wasn’t until he was involved in a car accident in the 1990s that he felt motivated to refocus on his art.

“I wasn’t hurt but it shook me up,” Sherman was quoted as saying. “I went back to my artwork then and I found out that drawing, painting, and nature was exactly what I needed. It really set something in me that I’ve been working on ever since.”

To create his pieces, Sherman typically makes a light graphite sketch on the paper and then paints on top of it using transparent watercolor to preserve the whiteness of the paper.

“Transparent watercolor lets light shine through the pigment and then the light bounces back to the viewer, giving the painting a luminous quality,” Sherman said in the story. “I choose watercolor because I find that medium is closest to what goes on in nature itself. For instance, how the water and light interact with the pigments in the paper, it’s very similar to what you see with rain, clouds, sunshine and with the density of the earth.”

Sherman is a member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

See more of his work at artistnaturalist.com.

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