Mitchell "Mitch" McClenney
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Artist Biography

Updated Sept. 1, 2010

A Minute with Mitchell McClenney
by Harvey Mushman
Mitchell McClenney, family man and commuter from Lake Elsinore, has found a different form of therapy than the typical day trip to keep him grounded -- art. McClenney, 43, a art major and graduate, returned to painting about 20 years ago, finding a strong demand for his work. Mitchell spoke to us about his art and motivation, speaking softly and pausing to think through his answers.

Q: Your art has become quite a business, is it all about the money? A: "It is incredible. For me the dollar figure is more of an acknowledgment of how people are embracing the art. If I became enamored or taken with the number I think it would take away from the creative spirit or what I am doing. The fact I started this phase of my life in art as a very personal and solitary pursuit has borne success because of its integrity."

Q: Have you been surprising by the reaction to your art? A: "Totally. I have been humbled and staggered by the acceptance of my art. I started it as something therapeutic and cathartic for me without the intention of ever showing anything but from the first time I hung a piece in my house people were drawn to it."

Q: You said it was therapeutic? A: "Yes. It is way for me to purge. It is almost a stream of consciousness where you use color and texture as opposed to words. Once a piece is done it is almost a mirror, a time capsule, of me at a certain point."

Q: Is it addictive? A: "Very much so. Not to minimize the pursuit of art but in the same way as going to the gym makes you feel good, you find yourself craving it."

Online Artist links to Mitchell's Artwork


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Photo to Finished Painting Method

Mitch uses reference photos but does render the final painting exactly from the picture: his photos are admittedly blurry, torn or digital images that he glances at while painting. People are always surprised to see the original photo when compaired to the final painting which is vastly different from the source photo. He interprets each photograph liberally, changing perspective or color or both. Working light to dark with plenty of water.


Mitch uses Acrylic paints in a Watercolor fashion which also allows for the opaque value to play along. Generally starting with a simple sketch on canvas using graphite. Liner brushes make all the difference. He's currently experimenting in scupture using plaster, wax, modeling clay, resins, wood, wire and glue.

Style notes

Mitch is intrigued by the repetition of buildings and windows in his City Series, while gentle and expansive skies take over for the California paintings. His work swings between abstract realism and impressionism.

Artist thoughts...

Renoir once observed that "painting isn't just daydreaming, it is primarily a manual skill, and one has to be a good workman." Too often it is forgotten that painting is a craft as well as a art-and a difficult craft to master, at that.



canvas junkie

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