Michael Shemchuk is an abstract artist living and working in Northern California. Born in the blue-collar mill town of Lowell Massachusetts in 1954, Shemchuk realized at an early age that his keen eye for color and form, burning curiosity, and love of adventure would necessitate a departure from the culturally spare town of Lowell. Making a choice that was unpopular, Shem saw service in the military as his ticket out of the surroundings he found so limiting. Shem dove headlong into a world he had never imagined.
Largely self-taught, Shem did not emerge on the art scene in a conventional fashion. Following his native skills and sensitivities as an artist, his career has criss-crossed the world of applied arts and visual expression. Influenced by studies at the Academy of Art College and California State University, SF, Shem combined his love for photography, color, and abstraction. The result was an unusual amalgamation of interest and influences. Leveraging his practical skills, Shem supplemented his nascent career as a mixed media artist by practicing the craft of faux finish from the late eighties until 2000. His work from this period is evident in some of the most noteworthy homes and buildings in the Bay Area. With a keen eye for hue and value, Shem served as a color consultant to numerous architects and interior designers in and around Northern California. His day of reckoning came at the turn of the millennium, when he resolved to focus his efforts on painting and abstraction full time. With the support of his wife, noted interior designer Kathy Farley, he was all in.
Shem’s work has evolved over the last two decades, shaped directly by a close engagement with material and process. From the onset, Shem’s focus has been on abstraction and design. Influenced by his earlier faux finish work, Shem’s Meridian series, begun in the late nineties, used paint and plaster as primary media. In 2014, Shem became interested in the changes in art-making stemming from shifts in technology. His response was to re-evaluate traditional materials such as paper and paint, thus simplifying his approach to abstraction with the Tags series. In 2017, Shem was inspired to further his pursuit of abstraction and design by streamlining his materials and employing process as integral to his work. The result is his Surface Tension series, which is based on an organic process involving water, paper, pressure, friction, and time.
In addition to his art-making, Shem teaches the principles of Abstraction by Design (AbD) to students and fellow artists via workshops and private mentoring. His experiences as a teaching artist over the last four years have inspired and deepened his appreciation for creative community and collaboration.
If this workshop or demonstration is sold out, email your name and phone number to [email protected] to add your name to the waitlist. If we have a last minute cancellation, our Workshop Coordinator will contact you. If you still want to attend, you will pay the registration fees directly to the person who is cancelling their registration. FCA Calgary does not refund demonstration or workshop fees, or manage the transfer of payment between individuals.
Registration fees are non-refundable. You may transfer your registration to another person if you are unable to attend, that person will pay the registration fee directly to you. Contact the Workshop Coordinator ([email protected]) to see if there is anyone on the waiting list. FCA Calgary does not manage the transfer of payment between individuals. It is your responsibility to collect payment from the person you transfer your registration to.
Below is a list of the supplies Shem will be using for this workshop. However, you are encouraged to use what you have on hand.
Six (6) 16”x16” x 7/8” cradled panels
One (1) qt. white latex house paint (Flat)
One (1) qt. black latex house paint (Semi gloss)
NOTE: You will need small quantities of acrylic/latex colour paint, I encourage you to use paint that you have available in your studio. Our goal here is to coordinate/compliment the combined use of the paint colour with our collage paper colour. We will be using white, black and grey paint on our panels and will discuss these paint/paper selections at length in class.
Two (2) qts. Acrylic urethane/varnish (Gloss)
Six (6) or more 2” chip brushes.
One (1) 6”wide flexible broad knife
One (1) putty knife
One (1) scrubber sponge
One (1) sheet 100-grit sandpaper
One (1) sanding block (wood block 2.5”x3.5”x.75” works well)
10-12 sheets black tissue paper (non-bleed if you can find it)
10-12 sheets 18”x22” newsprint
Variety of collage papers (colour, pattern, graphics, re-purposed) and colour tissue
2-6 sheets white copy (office) paper
spray bottle (atomizer)
Paper towels or rags
Plastic gallon bucket (for water)
6 or more pint/quart plastic mixing containers
A hair dryer, heat gun or small heater will aid in the drying time for our panels
Optional tools: paint stir sticks, white cards, artist brushes
Note: I encourage you to use any (black, white, colour) latex house acrylic paint you may have in your studio or paint locker. Cradled panels can be re-used as well. Do not spend money on materials or tools you already have.
Option: you can work on 12”x12” or 18”x18” panels, whatever you are most comfortable with. Your are welcome to work on as many panels beyond the six as you wish.