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Southwest Art (May, 2002)

Michael Drury was born in Santa Barbara, studied art at the University of Santa Barbara, and still makes his home in the coastal city today. Drury considers himself blessed to live in such a source of inspiration for his dual passions in life – painting and surfing.

He keeps a wet suit and surfboard close to his easel at all times. “When the surf’s up, I go surfing,” he is fond of saying. Although coastal regions command his attention, his work is equally concerned with the arid desert landscapes of Northern California and Nevada. Viewers can expect to see brilliant, saturated color in a Drury landscape, including flaming red aloe vera plants, mustard yellow poplar trees, royal blue skies, and blankets of verdant green grass carpeting rolling hills.

“I’m not trying to convey the ecological devastation visiting upon us. Although I hope some people will think along those lines,” Drury says. “I think rather it’s a painter’s job to paint who he or she is today. So, I’m trying to be honest about who I am, where I am, and what time period I liven in.”

He credits the legendary Ray Strong, a well-known landscape artist who at age 97 still paints in Santa Barbara, as having a profound influence on his work. “We started painting together back in 1970. Ray is the only person I know who lives life seamlessly. What he paints and who he is are one and the same thing,” Drury says. He lists his other influences as Maynard Dixon, Wayne Thiebaud, and Richard Diebenkorn.

Drury studied art in college and has a graduate degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Today he teaches art at Santa Barbara City College – his classes are held on the beach. He is also a founding member of the Oak Group.

Bonnie Gangelhoff
Southwest Art, May 2002

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