Michael Harrell’s Havana Shadows Exhibit opens February 1st, 5-8 and runs through February 15th At The Gallery on Greene, 606 Greene St in the Historic Key West Seaport. At The Gallery on Greene, 606 Greene St.
500 years since Havana was founded, Cuba’s capital city remains as resilient as its shabby chic buildings and as elegant as the vintage cars still rolling in the streets. Harrell, a native Floridian was born into the world of art in 1964 and has been painting since the first grade with his first published work at the age of 7. “I love the old cars the color of jelly beans, such as the car in Rounding the Bend. They are surprisingly well maintained outside, but under the hoods, there are tractor diesels and all manner of makeshift engineering.”
Michael reflects: “I did a lot of illustrations for newspapers & magazines in the years right after college, but couldn't wait to start painting full-time. In 1992 he became a professional painter and hasn’t looked back. “Havana is the perfect city to paint. Everywhere you look there is interesting subject matter. It’s an artist paradise, just look at A Fisherman in Havana.”
His objective is to master both the oil and watercolor mediums. He especially likes the challenge of capturing natural light in landscapes and cityscapes like the fogginess in Havana Haze, as well as the intricacies of depicting water realistically. His first trip several years ago to the charismatic and photogenic Havana with its architecture and old American cars captivated his imagination and fascinated him. “The architecture is so eclectic; colonial, mid-century modern, deco, modern, and belle-epoch. And they are all in a state of romantic decay. Havana Shadows is a prime example of the fascinating buildings.”
It is with an acute eye and dynamic sense of proportion that Michael senses his natural surroundings. His oils and watercolors have won numerous awards and can be found in corporate and private collections around the country including, MasterCard and American Express, with several paintings in the permanent collection of Paramount Pictures and appearing in, the movie, "The Truman Show”.
Harrell’s work is reminiscent of American regionalists such as Andrew Wyeth and Winslow Homer and he is well known for his remarkable ability to capture the luminous effects of light. In 2004, “The Artist Magazine” listed Michael as one of the top 20 artists in America to watch. He has been featured in American Artist's Watercolor Magazine, The Artist's Magazine & American Art Collector-most recently in the Sept 2012 issue...Also, work recently featured in 3 of Pat Branning's best-selling books on Lowcountry Entertaining. His work is also displayed in the State of Florida Governor's Office as well as the Sec of State's Office.