Painting in North Carolina, 2000 – 2013

Bent Creek in Asheville, Watercolor, 2012, Mike O'Kane

Bent Creek in Asheville, Watercolor, 2012, Mike O’Kane

NC Arboretum in Asheville, Watercolor, 2012, Mike O'Kane

NC Arboretum in Asheville, Watercolor, 2012, Mike O’Kane

My early engagement with art is summarized in the About page. Between the time I graduated with an M.S. and started my “real” career, I didn’t do much painting, or writing, until my late 40’s. By then I was teaching in Asheville, North Carolina and had more time and flexibility to reconnect to myself. I no longer thought of myself as a “serious artist”, I just went back to my early love of landscapes and watercolors.

I discovered a deep love for the “almost nothing” nature of watercolor painting, the medium agrees with my spirit and the challenge keeps me humble. I mostly just wanted to try to capture my love of of nature, and, while I had some thoughts of making a living by selling my work, I never had enough time to become as skilled as I felt was necessary. I loved the mountain forests and creeks around Asheville, covered with rhododendron, azalea, and mountain laurel, lit up with a million wildflowers, mountains of North Carolina in spring (trillium, fire pinks, bloodroot, solomon’s seal, may apples, jack in the pulpit, .. ), and filled with the songs of the Carolina Wren, Towhees, and the Pileated Woodpecker. Most days I would along the trails of the North Carolina Arboretum, along Bent Creek, or into the Pisgah Wilderness, or up around Black Mountain, where I could pick 20 pounds of wild blueberries on a single August day.

View my Gallery of Watercolor Paintings and Drawings from North Carolina.

Painting in England, 2013 – 2015

Newton Hall, Durham, Watercolor, 2014, Mike O'Kane

Newton Hall, Durham, Watercolor, 2014, Mike O’Kane

Newton Hall, Watercolor, 2014, Mike O'Kane

Newton Hall, Watercolor, 2014, Mike O’Kane

At 60, I retired and moved back to England with my then dear wife and still dear friend Constance. We settled in Durham. Even after the intense beauty of the American wilderness it was a delight for me to come back to the English landscape and the subtle colors and gentler weather that I grew up with. I continued to paint with watercolor and loved trying to capture the most simple things like a mud puddle, or hedge in the mist,and of course those wonderful English paths that lead you through fields and woods, by rivers and streams, over the hills, and beyond..

View my Gallery of Watercolor Paintings from England (Durham, Tyneside, Northumberland, and Derbyshire).

Painting in Scotland, 2019 – present

After a brief return to the US, I came back to live in Scotland, first in Dumfries and now on the Isle of Bute. Recently I started painting with acrylics, and I’m still getting used to the medium and finding my own style. I’ve come to realize that painting is simply a form of meditation for me: a way to connect to, and to celebrate, nature, that always rewards a more careful look, that constantly reminds us that the world of which we are a part is still full of mystery, magic, delight and wonder, and is so much more complex and beautiful than anything our minds can ever imagine or comprehend.

View my Gallery of Paintings from the Isle of Bute, Scotland

Argyll Sunrise, Acrylic, 2020, Mike O'Kane

Argyll Sunrise, Acrylic, 2020, Mike O’Kane

Farmland Near Ardbeg, Isle of Bute

Farmland Near Ardbeg, Isle of Bute

Black Rock, Ettrick Bay

Black Rock, Ettrick Bay

View from Back Garden, Ardbeg

View from Back Garden, Ardbeg

Cow at Ettrick Bay, Acrylic, 2020, Mike O'Kane

Cow at Ettrick Bay, Acrylic, 2020, Mike O’Kane

Shag, Port Bannatyne

Shag, Port Bannatyne

Robin at Ettrick Bay, Acrylic, 2020, Mike O'Kane

Robin at Ettrick Bay, Acrylic, 2020, Mike O’Kane