November 2017 Artist of the Month

Michael Shane Neal is one of the most highly sought after (and best dressed) portrait artists in North America. Among the many modern luminaries who have sat for him are Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, actor Morgan Freeman, and world-renowned portraitist Everett Raymond Kinstler.

For over 10 years, Shane has been using Silver Brush® Grand Prix® filberts because of “their versatility, resilience and control.” He prefers to use them when trying to encapsulate the essence of a subject while capturing the “variety of personalities that one encounters.” Shane uses a “fairly broad stroke” that he considers to be “painterly” and aspires to use confident bravura strokes in all of his works.

Currently, Shane is painting a “number of judicial portraits as well as an American ambassador, several businessmen and some private portraits.” He credits his ability to connect with clients through his “intense interest in individuals, curiosity about what makes them who they are, and sensitivity to their desires.”

Despite the many influential and famous clients he has worked with, Shane says that his favorite pieces are the ones he has done of his children. However, he also “particularly enjoyed the experience of painting Sandra Day O’Connor,” not only because he found her to be “uniquely brilliant and personable,” but also because she is such an important figure to American history.

To those who wish to follow in his footsteps, Shane says this:

“First and foremost, always remember that the quality of your work is the most important element to your success. Focusing on growing as an artist and creating the very best work you can is the starting point. Being willing to start slowly and pricing your work modestly in order to engage as many new clients as possible is also important. The more work that is on display, the more work it will bring you in the future. Finally, stay positive. Some doors will open, others will close. Sometimes receiving a ‘no’ might be better thought of as ‘not now.’ If it is your dream to be a full-time artist, to quote Winston Churchill, ‘Never, never, never give up!’”

For many years Silver Brush Ltd has produced two artist brush sets to Shane’s specification. These sets serve the basic needs of students and artists seeking the right selection for portrait painting. The MSN-010 Bravura Basic 10 piece set is the perfect starter set for the serious student. As folks advance they have the choice of Shane’s complete 35 piece MSN-350 Bravura Pro set.

Learn more about Shane’s process:
Shane is a featured speaker at The Portrait Society of America’s conference.
Find out more about his presentation:

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