Michael Godfrey

Michael Godfrey, Big Sur Morning, Oil on canvas, 24 x 48 inches
Michael Godfrey, Big Sur Morning, Oil on canvas, 24 x 48 inches


Michael Godfrey is a representational landscape artist whose work hangs in many private and corporate collections. Born in Germany in l958 and raised in North Carolina, he earned a BFA in Fine Arts and began his painting career in oils and watercolors. He spends hours field sketching and photographing, preparing for a well thought out painting.

Typically, he starts a major work using small oil studies done on location. These field studies provide color accuracy and photographs provide special details. Godfrey composes his paintings from on site sketches in the field and photographic references. In studio, work progresses in successive layers of paint and light is orchestrated to create a painting that appeals to his internal sense of order.

A landscape artist has to have knowledge of many disciplines (geology, chemistry, physics, architecture), to understand the world in which they are trying to create. An artist must observe with the idea that what is observed must be interpreted and distilled. For a landscape artist, it is just as important what is not included in a work as what is eventually laid down.

“I ask myself, ‘what is the dominant truth – is it color, shape of land forms, or time of day’. I try to understand what I am seeing, so that the final work will capture the visual emotion.”

— Michael Godfrey

Selected Group Exhibitions

2008          Booth Museum of Western Art, Cartersville, GA

2007          Qwest for the West Invitational, Indianapolis, IN

2004         Somerville Manning Gallery, Greenville, DE

2004         Sea to Shining Sea: A Reflection of America, Traveling exhibit presented by The Haggin Museum, Stockton, CA

2004         Big Sur Paint Out, Invitational Exhibition sponsored by Big Sur Land Trust, Big Sur, CA

1998 – 2010     National Wildlife Museum Miniatures Show, Jackson, WY

1995 – 2008     Peppertree Invitational, Santa Inez, CA

1996 – 98  National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson Hole, WY

1996         Somerville Manning Gallery, Greenville, DE

1995         Annual Classic American Western Show, Gene Autry Museum, Los Angeles, CA

Selected Awards and Honors

2010          Best in Show, American Art Invitational, Denver, CO

2010         Best in Show, Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters National Exhibit

2007          Qwest for the West Palette Award, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis, IN

2004         People’s Choice Award, Big Sur Paint Out, Big Sur, CA

1998         Bronze Medal, Yellowstone National Park Purchase Award, Yellowstone National Park, WY

1996         Bronze Medal for Landscape Painting – Arts for the Parks, Jackson Hole, WY


1982          BFA, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC