Mike Drake’s artistic journey started when he was in high school with an art contest for the cover design of the commencement program. Drake produced a pen-and- ink drawing of the front of the high school with the multiple breezeways that had lots of perspective, he said. Out of 300 entries, Drake’s entry won the commencement cover design contest.
“This is when I thought I could do something with (his artwork),” he said.
After graduation, he painted large, abstract canvases with the help of a neighbor who was an art history major. The canvases had lots of color and shapes.
There was also a time when Drake was a model for the Richland Art School in Columbia, “because the pay was really good.” He was offered an art scholarship to the school and attended a few classes.
Until around the fall of 2009, his art took a back seat to work, marriage and children. Earlier, Drake had purchased a used acoustic guitar and took lessons for a while because he always loved playing the guitar. Buying the guitar “started my creative juices going and helped build my confidence. Two years earlier my wife had bought me art materials that were sitting on the shelf, and when I spotted them, it turned the switch on for me. Whenever work slowed down, I would sketch and paint with my wife’s acrylic paint rather than use the oil paints. I was so bad, but I’ve kept the first paintings to remind myself where I’ve come,” Drake said.
Since that time when he picked up the acrylic paints, Drake has produced more than 200 paintings. He joined the North Augusta Artists Guild in 2010 and within two months was a featured artist and participated in a sidewalk art show where he sold three paintings. Drake has studied with Pamela Poole, a former guild member and art teacher, and currently is attending Monday Painters Workshop with Thomas Needham, a guild member and art coach.
“These lessons are teaching me to slow down and find the perfect brush stroke, to see the lights and darks,” said Drake.
Reach Drake at email@example.com or find him on Facebook.