Painting "En Plein Air" and "En Studio"
Mike was born and raised in California with artistic abilities noted early in his life. He worked in law enforcement, however, over a quarter of a century before turning to art full-time. Mike spent three years studying art at the California Art Institute following degrees from LA Valley College and Pepperdine University. He has also attended many workshops hosted by distinguished institutions and artist/teachers.
Mike primarily paints oil paintings on location but also in his studio in Placerville, California. He finds inspiration from the Sierra Nevada mountain views and coastal views north of Big Sur above Carmel, California. He also paints oil paintings of cowboys, American Indians and wildlife. His paintings are strongly influenced by a number of distinguished master artists including Edgar Payne, Maurice Braun, Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell. Colleagues refer to Mike as a draftsman in that his renderings are very accurate while his style is impressionistic. His portraits show a spark of the subject’s personality.
Mike has participated in numerous art competitions and exhibits during the past eight years. He has won many awards and honors at the National and International levels including several Artist Choice awards and a Regional winner in the 2010 National Paint The Parks Top 100 Competition. Mike has also been in many art galleries and is currently in two galleries in Califorrnia. Mike's paintings are in a number of collections in the United States and abroad in England, Japan and Switzerland.
I am an oil painter who loves the great outdoors from the mountains to the seas. My favorite painting locations are mostly in our nation’s National Parks or in the Sierra Nevada mountains or the California coastline north of Big Sur. I also love our American heritage from the settlers who perilously ventured out west to the American Indians who understood the rugged unspoiled beauty of our western landscape long before we settled here.
I paint primarily from life. I don't believe that painting from photographs lends itself to true value or color relationships or other proper compositional elements of a great work of art. I pride myself on being able to paint from life quickly and accurately whether the subject is our beautiful western landscape or a model posing in period costume. I do use photographs for cowboy, American Indian and wildlife paintings due to posing problems that I'm sure you can imagine! Many of these paintings, however, were created from or enhanced using plein air studies as are my larger studio landscapes. My goal is to give the art patron a two-dimensional piece of fine art that is as close to three-dimensional as possible without seeming contrived, abstract or photo realistic.
I hope that the ability given me to paint my view of our countries greatest treasures will inspire the viewers as much as it inspires and intrigues me every single day.
Winters Fine Art Gallery, Carmel Highlands, CA
The Coastside: A Gallery, Half Moon Bay, CA
Mike Bagdonas Studio, Placerville, CA
PaintAmerica Signature Society
Oil Painters of America - Artist member
Laguna Plein Air Painters Association - Artist member
California Art Club - Artist Associate member
El Dorado County Arts Council - Artist member
1993 - 1996 California Art Institute Thousand Oaks, CA
1974 - 1975 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
1971 - 1973 Pepperdine University Malibu, CA
1968 - 1970 Los Angeles Valley College Van Nuys, CA
AWARDS AND HONORS
2010 Selected to the PaintAmerica Association Signature Society
2010 Selected for the cover image on the Redwood Forest Foundation Inc. Annual Report.
2010 Regional Winner, Region 3, " Top 100 Nat'l Paint The Parks Competition"
2010 Top Fifty Honoree, "Paint The Forests" National Art Competition, Redwood Forest Foundation, Inc.
2009 Award of Merit, Estes Park Int'l Plein Air
2009 Artist Choice Award, Estes Park Int'l Plein Air
2009 Honorable Mention, Carmel Art Festival Plein Air
2008 Award of Merit, Estes Park Int'l Plein Air
2008 3rd Place, Quick Draw event, Estes Park Int'l Plein Air
2007 Artist Choice Award, Estes Park Int'l Plein Air
2007 Honorable Mention, "Salon International"
2006 4th Place, Marin County Fair Plein Air
2004 Honorable Mention, Celebration of Western Art, Cow Palace, San Francisco, CA
ONE OR TWO PERSON SHOWS
2007 Vault Gallery Two Man Show Sonora, CA
2005 Chablis Gallery One Man Show Wild Wild West Placerville, CA
1997 Brentwood Art Center Two Man Show Brentwood, CA
SELECTED PLEIN AIR ART EVENTS
2012 Sedona Plein Air Invitational, Sedona AZ.
2012, 2010 San Luis Obispo, CA Plein Air
2012 Invited artist, Plein Air Rockies, Estes Park, CO.
2012, 2011 Markleville, CA Plein Air Invitational
2012, 2010, 2008, 2006, 2005 LPAPA 'The Best of Plein Air" , Laguna Beach, CA
2012, 2010 Los Gatos, CA Plein Air
2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005 Carmel Art Festival Plein Air
2009 North Tahoe Plein Air
2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 Invited artist, Estes Park Int'l Plein Air
2009 San Clemente Plein Air
2009, 2008 Invited artist, Nomadas Del Arte Plein Air, 5 Southwest States
Exhibits at Southwest Art Gallery, Dallas, TX; and, Sage Creek Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2008 Season of Martis Plein Air, Truckee, CA
2008 100 Years of National Parks in Utah Plein Air Exhibit,
Exhibits at Museum of Moab, Moab, Utah; and, Edge of Cedars Museum, Blanding, Utah
2008, 2007 Frank Bette Plein Air Paintout, Alameda, CA.
2007 "Northern Views" Juried plein air exhibit, Napa Valley Museum, Yountville, CA.
2007 Invited artist, Gold Country Plein Air, Sonora, CA.
2006 Marin County Fair Plein Air
SELECTED GROUP ART EVENTS
2012 Richard Schmid Fine Art Auction ( 2 paintings), LaPorte, CO.
2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 Juried event, National Paint The Parks Top 100 and Mini 50 Exhibitions ( 8 paintings), numerous exhibit locations throughout USA - including: the Kolb Studio, Grand Canyon, AZ; RW Norton Art Museum, Shreveport, LA; St George Museum, St George, UT
2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 California Landscape Painters Exhibition John Natsoulas Gallery, Davis, CA
2010 "Paint The Forests" National Art Competition, Redwood Forest Foundation, Inc., Lee Youngman Gallery, Calistoga, CA. other exhibitions to follow in 2011
2010, 2009, 2006 Juried event, LPAPA "Less is More" Exhibition, Costa Mesa, CA
2010, 2007 Juried event, "Salon International", Greenhouse Gallery
2009, 2008, 2007 NAPPAP Professional(Signature) member Exhibition, Exhibits as follows: Tweed Museum, Duluth, MN; Adam Whitney Gallery, Omaha, NE and Texas Art Gallery, Dallas, TX
2008 Juried exhibit, OPA Western Regional Exhibition, Devin Galleries, Coeur d' Alene, ID
2008 Paint America Top 100 Exhibition" ( 1 painting), Cornell Museum-Old School Square, Delray, FL
2007 Yosemite Show Invitational Vault Gallery, Sonora, CA
2007, 2006, 2004, 2003 Juried event, "Celebration of Western Art", Cow Palace, San Francisco, CA.
2006 Juried event, Mother Lode National Art Exhibition, Placerville, CA
2006 Invited artist, Celebration of Life in the West Sunset Magazine, Menlo Park, CA.
2006 Juried event, LPAPA Artist Membership Exhibition, Laguna Beach, CA.
2005 Juried exhibit, California Art Club,"Our National Parks", Womens City Club of Pasadena, CA
2004 Juried event, LPAPA Artist Indoors Laguna Beach, CA.
2010 Published artist in "California Landscape Painters", John Natsoulas Press
2005 Article published in Foothill Style Magazine, September issue
WORKSHOPS, DEMONSTRATIONS, AND JUDGING
2013 Judged the Spring Membership Show for the Placerville Arts Association
2012 Alla Prima painting demo for Placerville Arts Assoc
2011 Judged the Membership Art Show for El Dorado Hills Arts Assoc
2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 Plein Air Painting Demo, John Natsoulas Gallery, Davis, CA
2010 One day Portraiture/Figure Workshop
2010 Alla Prima painting demo for the Folsom Arts Assoc
2009 Three day Alla Prima Landscape Workshop for the Folsom Art Assoc
2009 Monochrome Block-in Portraiture Demo for the Placerville Arts Assoc
2009 Five Day Figure/Portraiture live model Quick Study Workshop
2006 One Day Western Oil Painting Techniques Workshop
FAVORITE WORKSHOPS ATTENDED
2010 Skip Whitcomb, Plein Air
2007 Scott Christensen Advanced Plein Air
2007 Carolyn Anderson Portraiture
2004 Ray Roberts Portraiture
2003 John Budicin Plein Air