Mike Rooney often chooses the outdoors to a comfortable studio. Bugs, bystanders and bad weather are just a few of the inconveniences he endures to capture the colors and nuances of nature and shifting light. His paintings although observed from life, are pared down to colorful recognizable blurs, documenting his sensualist encounter with his surroundings. He has painted all his life.
Inspiration comes from The Cape Cod School of Art, the first outdoor school of figure painting in America founded in Provincetown, Massachusetts in 1898. It emphasized using color to describe the form, as well as to capture time and place.
Rooney’s subject matter varies, but the theme is capturing what he loves the most, water, boats, and the beach. He paints the Eastern seaboard from Cape Cod to Key West, finding small coastal towns to paint in all along the way.
A very flexible schedule is key with plein air painters. “I want to have the ability to determine my own course in life and to paint the world, as I see it, every single day” says Rooney. “I don’t like to be locked into a routine that keeps me too busy to paint.” He continues.
His methodology is varied and he never follows a set way of starting a painting. He goes outside to paint, without a preconceived method or formula, approaching each painting differently, experimenting to shake things up a little.
These ebullient boats, houses, and seas seem to crave the great out of doors, as does this enthusiastic painter.