Born and raised in Montana, much of Michael's early career was spent as a natural and historic illustrator. Like many successful painters, his work as a detail painter gave him the foundation to develop meaning in simplified form and design.
Texture is the hallmark of the artist's current work. His texture and glazed colors are undeniably original and fun to look at. As a devout student of color theory and design, Michael uses wildlife and western metaphor to speak about positive inspiration.
Michael paints to create art that can fit into a lifestyle with encouragement.
The 'Photo Bio' and 'Recently Sold' pages explain Michael's path visually.
Back in 1880, Francis J. Mahoney ventured west to Denver CO as a stone carver. He helped build the old U.S. Mint and the Cathedral on Colfax in downtown Denver CO. He was Michael's Great, Great Grandfather.
On the other side of Michael's family, his Great Grandfather, Bill Ryan was a friend of Buffalo Bill Cody, and Michael's Grandfather, W. J. (Jack) Ryan, is in the Cheyenne Frontier Days Hall of Fame.
Michael's parents moved from Wyoming to Montana where he was born in 1959. He grew up fishing, hiking and painting in the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness North of Yellowstone Park.
Michael's love for art combined with experience in the wilds of Montana and led him to work for many years as a natural illustrator. He created hundreds of complex wildlife and habitat paintings for clients like; the U.S. Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, Montana Fish and Game, and many others. Outdoor writer Jim Merritt wrote an unsolicited, feature article about Michael's work for 'Field & Stream' magazine entitled 'The Masters Hand'. Michael painted on TV for an ESPN fishing program and his work was editorialized in virtually every fly-fishing periodical. Currently Michael paints for galleries and private commissions. Michael's knowledge of iconic figures enables him to paint with intuitive spontaneity.
As is the case with many artists who have had long careers, Michael has evolved from doing detail work to the expressionist paintings he creates today. Every painting is a cooperation between his emotional experiences, and the skill to follow a natural direction in the paint. Over time he has experienced the unexplainable realities which give art the ability to pull at our hearts.