Michael Monroe - Abstract Art - Naples, Florida
Michael Monroe Ethridge's abstract art landscapes take viewers on a tropical journey to warmer climates. A salty breeze, the spray of an ocean swell, and the sound of crashing waves flow through your mind like a virtual vacation when viewing his work. Layers of acrylic pigment add a sculptural element to Ethridge's original fine art paintings, with unique textures giving life to a rippling wave or a wind blown cloud.
While painting is his first passion, Michael Monroe has also explored other artistic venues throughout his life. As a professional musician, he has maintained a love of music that also serves to inspire his art career. After spending a year on Caribbean cruise ships as a singer and piano performer in the 90s, he found a passion for re-creating the tropical scenes from his experience on canvas. The aqua green and turquoise hues from the Caribbean landscape have dominated his color palette ever since.
In the early 2000's, Michael's love for art and music collided when he was commissioned to paint a series of luxury grand Pianos for the Baldwin Piano company. Baldwin received an overwhelming response for the hand-painted pianos in the US as well as internationally.
Michael Monroe's paintings were also used in the movie, Nothing But the Truth, starring Matt Dillon and Kate Beckinsale.
Originally from Wynne, Arkansas, Michael Monroe Ethridge began his career under the encouragement of his artistic mother, Mrs. Dick Ethridge, an accomplished wildlife and still life artist. Michael Monroe studied art in high school and college at Arkansas State University where he won numerous awards for his work, pushing him forward into a successful painting career. He continued to live and work in his home state until his recent move to the artistic community of Naples, Florida in 2014.
Abstract art paintings created by Michael Monroe have a feeling of expression, without restriction. Michael feels when his fine art is viewed, it refreshes the soul, just like experiencing a sunset, or going to the beach. It is like a warm cup of coffee, helping you get up in the morning. It is emotional, enlightening, and entertaining. His fine art has to do with creating…feeling... and living life to the fullest. It then leaves a legacy for others to enjoy over and over again through the years.
"There is a passion that burns within me. This passion makes me want to go to the easel. I can feel it, I live with it, sometimes I cannot sleep for it… It is always there."
Michael Monroe Ethridge uses a dazzling array of colors in his abstract paintings. Many of his hues come from places he's visited across the country. He shows in galleries from coast-to-coast, and on trips he'll snag the fiery red of a Santa Fe sunset or riff on the cool blues of the Florida sky. "It's kind of interesting, when I paint I go into a zone," Ethridge explains. He'll turn on some music and grab a pallet knife or brush, applying thick layers of paint. "I'm not really thinking, I'm more reflexive. I get lost in the canvas and my mind opens up. I think thoughts of places and people that do not otherwise enter my mind."
The works that emerge are both painterly and sculptural. Ribbons of pigment leap from the surface, bending and twisting like ocean waves frozen at their peaks. Ethridge uses his skills as a colorist to electrify the forms, bringing oranges and reds crashing together or carefully juggling bright and soft colors.
"My paintings endorse feelings of endless time and give a picture of eternity" says Michael Monroe Ethridge. "They take the focus off every day living." The common phrase, "stop and smell the roses" reminds us to appreciate the little things in life, to find the happiness and peace that exists in the beauty around us. Michael's take on this idiom is instead to "stop and gaze into a painting." As an artist, he is encouraging us to pause, forget our surroundings and allow the beauty and joy we experience from a work of art to give us peace and contentment for a moment.