Artist of the month
PUBLISHED: 12:17 14 October 2017
It was a lucky break when sports teacher Michael Treanor suffered an ankle injury which kept him off work for six weeks. The long hours spent recuperating passed more quickly when he had a set of watercolour paints to keep him occupied.
The ankle healed and he returned to his job as director of sport at Chesterfield High School in Crosby, a dedicated sporting academy, with a hobby which he has enjoyed for more than 30 years. It led to him being a runner-up in last year’s Lancashire Life Landscape Artist of the Year, a competition supported by Hepplestone Fine Art
He was always keen on drawing at school but is a completely self-taught painter, developing his technique through trial and error and researching artists he admires. In the early days he was specially influenced by some of the big names in British landscape painting – people like James Fletcher Watson, Heaton Cooper and Rowland Hilder.
An exponent of en plein air painting, even in challenging conditions, Michael is out there sketching and painting, sticking to his mantra of only visiting his painting four or, at the most, five times to keep it fresh.
‘The challenge I set myself is to be bold and daring and by compressing the time I spend on a painting I find this helps preserve the scene that originally interested me,’ he said.
He started painting outdoors on holiday and it was while sitting out in a French ski resort that he was approached by a gallery owner who wanted to sell his work. This has led to commissions from people from all over the world as his skill in capturing the atmosphere of a place improved.
‘Completing an artwork for a special occasion is something I enjoy. Feedback from the client is the greatest joy for me.’
He uses Winsor & Newton tube paint in large quantities and works wet-in-wet on Arches or Fabriano paper and he thinks the key factors to a lively painting are to leave the white of the paper and use granulating colours. ‘There’s nothing like preserving the original white of the paper to bring sparkle to the finished image,’ he said.
Since retiring his reputation has started has grown as he is able to concentrate more on his work. He is busy recording Liverpool scenes and has produced a range of cards and prints of Old Hope Street and the waterfront, and has a Titanic commission for Cunard on his books. He is preparing to hold a one-man exhibition soon.
You are just as likely to find Michael on the rugged, Waddington Fell or up in Bowland near Whitewell as in the city. He loves these off-beat areas where there are panoramic views and big, atmospheric skies.
‘To be in the last three of the Lancashire Life Landscape Artist of the Year was fantastic. I was stunned and it was a huge boost for me and a great encouragement for the future,’ said Michael. ‘I got some really good advice from event sponsor Giles Hepplestone and plan to use this to move forward onto a new level.’